I just finished my first art journal and wonder why I waited so long to start this totally addictive art play. Art journaling is a great place to play without any pressure - no project to finish, no specific plan or goal, just play and see what happens.
Like you all, I've drooled over all those really artsy art journals and poured over art journaling magazines. Since I have very little drawing skills and none of those fancy watercolor painting ones I'd assumed art journaling wasn't for me. Wrong! There's always collage and stamping and color washes and general messy art stuff to do.
I didn't have a plan for what I wanted from this journal, but I did know that I wanted to experiment with making marks on the page with my own hand - doodles, words, letters and maybe even a cat and play with background techniques. I wanted to use some of the bits and pieces on my desk and play with color.
Of course, not every page in my journal is a masterpiece, but every page taught me something - mostly what NOT to do. Here are some of the things I've learned playing in my journal:
* Choose your journal wisely. I used a book with handmade paper, and while I love how the rough paper absorbs color, it also absorbs LOTS of water. I hadn't really planned to be using water, but I ending up using watercolor, homemade sprays and diluted acrylics , all of which involved lots of water. So I have bleed -through on some pages .
* Gesso with gusto. Gesso painted on the pages helps resists the bleed- through and also add some great texture. I usually paint it on pretty randomly (now if I'm planning on adding watery paint, then I gesso completely).
* Document a new technique or color-combination that you might want to try again. Write under a tag, put a small paper inside an envelope with the details, but find someplace to write it down. This is probably my favorite page, but I didn't write down the colors I used and haven't been able to replicate it!
* Jot down a date now and then. Make it part of the design or hidden somewhere.
* This one is embarrassing to admit because probably everyone knows this . If you're using a bound book, press open the binding so the pages lie flat. I have a few early pages with a white center stripe. Some I could do back and fix, some, not so much.
* Treat a two-page spread as one page. I tried to make two coordinating pages and could not pull it off.
Here are a few of my favorite pages.
I'm not comfortable actually journaling in these. I know some people find it helpful to write down their thoughts; it makes me queasy just thinking about spilling my guts on paper. I do use quotes that speak to me. Apparently this one was really speaking to me as I used it twice!
Think it's safe to assume that quotes can be pretty revealing!
This one sums up the most important lesson of all:
Now on to Volume 2.