In my opinion, an art journal can be whatever you want it to be. That is how I am approaching it for my Thirty Days of Thanks journal. There are many examples out there of art journals, instructions, so much information that it took me a while to find a source I understood and liked. One of the reasons I like it is because the author gave me a good idea of what an art journal can be.
Pam Carriker (of www.pamcarriker.com) wrote “Art At The Speed of Life”. Basically she says to work on this journal while you do your art projects; in other words, while I am making a mixed media piece or a collage I take my small scraps of stuff or my little bits of paint on the brush, and I create sort of a miniature of the bigger thing I’m making. She even shows how to make an art journal from paper that you have on hand rather than buying one – if you like to do that sort of thing. I actually started an art journal fitting her description. This time, for my gratitude project, I purchased a spiral bound art journal at my local hobby and craft store. The paper in it is suitable for all kinds of stuff to be used on it, paint, water color, pen, marker, etc.
Another book I dearly love is Kelly Rae Roberts “Taking Flight” (see www.kellyraeroberts.com). Her book inspired me to get started with making a collage in new ways. Together with Pam Carriker’s book I have learned a lot. Maybe you have a favorite book or blog you can share in the comments that will help, too!
My favorite supplies are shown here: from left to right, top row: water color crayons, blendable water color markers, colored pencils. Bottom row: baby wipes, matte gel (better than Elmer’s glue), and my cheap little bottles of acrylic paints.
Water color crayons and markers are more expensive that regular crayons or markers, but you can do such cool things with them. Here I have drawn a heart with the blue water color crayon. Then I have used a paint brush that has been dipped in a little water, and have spread the water color crayon as you see. This makes for some great back ground and accent coloring. And it is fun!
About the baby wipes…I use them to clean my hands, yes, but more than that I use them to spread paint on a page or thin it out or create some shading. Pam Carriker’s book taught me that. You can even let the messed up baby wipes dry, cut them up and use them as part of a mixed media creation.
Once I start on a page I just keep going until it looks right. The main thing is To Start! Just put some color on that page and the ideas will flow. I truly believe that. Sometimes I put scraps of paper onto the page, other times I don’t. But when I do use other papers I definitely use the more expensive gel medium, which I found it the art supplies part of the craft store. It really works well with lots of stuff for collage and mixed media. I also use regular glue on occasion.
The other day I used my printer and printed one of my gourd photos on plain paper, cut it out and put it onto a page of my journal. My gratitude that day was for Abundance and I wanted to show something from the harvest. I have also added a little paint and color to the page, but you get the idea here. Most of the time I have written my gratitude stuff first in ink, then done my creating on top of that. On some pages I can still read what I wrote, but on others it is hidden.
What amazes me is that each and every page is different. What I thought I was going to be putting in this journal has not even appeared there. Taking each day and being grateful for the gifts of that day is turning into a life changing experience. And I am so so so glad that you have been reading this and responding! Some have emailed, some I get to talk to in person each week (yay!), and many of you have left wonderful comments about your experience. It moves me to read what you are all grateful for.
Here is my disclaimer: I do not claim to be an expert in any way on art journals or mixed media or any of that. No doubt there are many other great resources out there on the Web and in your favorite book store. What I’m sharing here is just what I have found and what is working for me at present. I hope that you find it helpful!
Thanks for stopping by!