Sunday, March 8, 2015

Ideas on how to start on the art journaling field!

Warning: If your inner artist had been sleeping and is suddenly faced to this, it will be hooked!

I use your questions for inspiration to write my posts, first, they are real doubts from real 
people and two, I love to be of service! There are tons of new people wanting to start an art journal and after a few asking me what would my advice be for the starter, here is some inspiration and tips which I hope you enjoy!
First, let's understand what an art journal is, for it has many faces! Since the beginning of time, people around the world have been using some kind of surface to keep a record of their ideas and notes, drawings, etc., sometimes we keep it in a secret place and for some like me, is a true confident and a great friend! Artists carry sketch books when going out and use it for quick sketches that can be developed later in to drawings or paintings, they also write side notes to make a more complete reference of their inspiration, now, combine the two... Drawing, painting and journal about your life, all in one place, that is an art journal! This idea has been developing for some years and we now I feel we use the term as an activity. Now, art is about developing your self along with learning to use your favorite mediums, what a great idea it is to use your journal to save your experimentation and your notes about how a medium works, you can have as many as you want for different reasons but at the beginning simply use one to keep everything in one place. You will have to decide if this is for you later on, some will love it and do it everyday and some will have little time for it and enjoy of creating on the weekends or free days. I have been posting a few articles about different ideas, they are listed on the right column, for future reference so you can find them quickly and I list them here with some links so you can go as you read! I hope that all this may help you, the art journal starter! What to use for art journals, what kind of book is best? 

You can use a simple composition book, the trick with those is that the pages are so thin they won't accept much abuse especially if is super watery but I recommend that you use one were you can experiment without the fear of making perfection and I feel this kind is perfect for that but you need thick pages, to do this with this kind of book, simply glue two or three pages together, you can either use glue or medium, I prefer medium and using a large brush, that way I cover the pages very quick but the page will get wet and take a while to dry depending on what kind of medium you use, probably is a good idea to use a thick one for faster drying time, you can also use a hair dryer to make the process faster. Then I apply some guesso, this can be done with some color or two, three mixed and you will have a quick start. Then you can add collage pieces, like some scrapbook papers and mix them with paint in the same color family, add accents with some rubber stamps!

You can use an altered book for art journals!

Here is a free class with videos on how to prepare an old book you find in your home or in a flea market that you can use for altering, I use books that are strong, well done, hand made and with a hard cover, of course I use books that aren´t super special or that the content is hard to find.

You can add little windows or doors to your pages and make a series that connect from page to page!

My favorite art journal ready to go, Visual Journal by Strathmore the mixed media one, I love the pages, I don´t have to prepare them and they take every medium just lovely but the sad part for me is that they are hard to find were I live so I had to find other ways to create!

You can make your own journal by cutting your favorite papers on your desire size, you can paint your pages first using a gelli print! I love regular card stock or watercolor paper! Then you can sew the pages or use a simple hole punch and rings to keep it together, there are many ways to make them, check a few tutorials on the right side column!

You can also use your printed papers for collage in your art journals as we covered in the first idea, in this page I am mixing it with some of my faces, all this was collage and paint!

Don´t throw it, make it an art journal!
You can use everyday ephemera to make a unique journal and you will have great texture ready to go and use in different ways!

Small list for the art journal artist starter: 

(to also use in the tutorial below)

Note: Links are for you to view the actual product only, perhaps it is convenient to make a list and go to your favorite art supply store, my favorite online option is Blick art because I can find mostly everything I need there but I shop locally a lot!

A journal ( we covered that)
Guesso, this is an acrylic primer used for painting
Acrylic paints, my favorite are Golden and Amsterdam but I recommend a simple and cheap paint such as those intended for crafts
Brushes # 2, 4, 6, 8 round and hard see photo for reference

Collage papers that may come from magazines , ephemera, scrapbook, your own painted papers, etc.
Container with clean water
Heavy gel medium I love Amsterdam or Golden
Liquid watercolors
watercolor pencils that match your other watercolors
black waterproof ink
white and black pens, you can use sharpie

Quick starter page!

Add some guesso to your page but not covering completely, let some parts be clean completely, spray some water and use your fingers to spread it, before it dries, add some spritz of watercolors which are in your plastic bottle already with some water about 80/50, use your brush to run the colors and combine them in some areas, mix with the guesso in others and let it dry or use a hair dryer if you can´t wait!

Now use some rubber stamps to create a design, you can use those with words if you aren´t very confident with your hand writing yet, use black permanent ink to stamp away!  Then use some watercolor pencils and pens to add accents to your stamps, I added some cheeks and lights and shadows, then use your black pen to add some doodles around your stamps to finish with some journal and you have your first page, notice how easy it was!  Try to make several pages to get warm before moving on to new ideas!

Watch the quick video!

You also can check my Pinterest wall about art journals for tons of inspirational links!

I hope this is a fabulous tutorial to get you started and inspired for a while! Remember, there are more posts in the right column for you to try later! Enjoy! ;)

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