Art Journal Q & A

Recently a friend asked my advice on what they needed to do to create their own “art journal.” I thought I would use this space to answer her.

So friend, you want to go down the rabbit hole of art journaling?

Like any other art related endeavor don’t be afraid to get caught up in it! The good news is, if you are a recovering scrap-booker, rubber stamp collector or other craft related junkie you can re-use all your supplies in your new art journal. - Just think - you don’t have to beat yourself up anymore for starting to scrapbook that vacation 10 years ago and loosing steam, you were planning to repurpose your supplies all along. It’s a good thing you bought those tubs of decorative papers and stickers… (oh wait, maybe I am just talking to myself here.)

Art journaling is a fun low-stakes way to allow your creativity to flow. Your art journal is your personal way of processing visually - whatever you want to. Here are some basics to get you started.

Here’s my journal. I did not follow the good paper rule and it won’t stay shut :-(

Here’s my journal. I did not follow the good paper rule and it won’t stay shut :-(

Choosing Your Journal

You will need a sketch book or “journal,” preferably without lines. Do yourself a favor and get the best quality paper you can afford. Paper is measured by weight, “lbs” pounds in the US and “gsm” grams per square meter overseas. The higher the weight the more paint, water, glue, etc. your paper will be able to withstand . Traditionally sketch books are made for sketching (duh!) so it can be hard to find one with a heavier weight. Several companies make a sketchbook geared to mixed media or mixed supplies 90lbs or 190gsm should do. If you want to go high end, you can use a journal with watercolor paper that weighs 140lbs or 300gsm.

Images from books, old patterns, handwritten notes, sheet music and book pages can all make interesting collages.

Images from books, old patterns, handwritten notes, sheet music and book pages can all make interesting collages.

Just one of my image stashes.

Just one of my image stashes.

Supplies

Stock up on Sharpie pens, magic markers, pencils, crayons, watercolor paints, etc. to add color and decorative elements to your page.

Collect a variety of images. I have several envelopes full of images that I have snipped out of magazines, clipped from newspapers, found on the ground or collected from other random places.
If a graphic or sentence catches your eye, grab it. You never know when you will be able to use it on one of your pages. If you really get into this journaling habit I recommend an accordion folder to organize your pictures by colors or words.

You can find all sorts of printed patterns and pictures in places you never noticed before. The inside of envelopes you get from the bank tend to have pretty patterns. Fortunes (from a Chinese restaurant) make a great starting quote for a journal page.

WARNING: If you print out an image on an ink jet printer, it will run if it gets wet from paint or glue.

Glue

The glue you use depends on what you plan to do on your journal page. For most pages a good quality glue stick will do the job. If you are using a thick almost cardboard like paper (think cereal box) you may need to use a liquid craft glue (Elmer’s school glue) and let it sit for 30 minutes. If you plan to layer over an image with paint or another medium then you will want to use something called “matte medium” if that is the case - Congrats! you are taking your art journal practice to the next level. Matte medium is a mostly transparent paste you can brush on the back and front of the image you are glueing. If you use matte medium the image will be bonded to the paper in a way that makes it pliable and easy to paint over.

An art journal is your personal place for expression and collection. You can use it to work through ideas, collect quotes or make quick sketches of your surroundings. I like to carry around a small bag with all my art journal supplies to pass time on airplanes or when I am in a waiting room (It’s a better than mindlessly scrolling on your phone.) It is very satisfying to look though all the pages you have done previously.  It is like you have made a special book just for yourself - a small time capsule of sorts.

An art journal is a great place to collect inspiring quotes. (Beth Dougherty)

An art journal is a great place to collect inspiring quotes. (Beth Dougherty)

In my journal, I often take notes from podcasts I’m listening to or things I’m thinking about. (Beth Dougherty 2018)

In my journal, I often take notes from podcasts I’m listening to or things I’m thinking about. (Beth Dougherty 2018)

This art journal spread was a good way to learn the phases of the moon. (Beth Dougherty 2018)

This art journal spread was a good way to learn the phases of the moon. (Beth Dougherty 2018)

Sometimes it’s just fun to collect images and see where they go. (Beth Dougherty 2018)

Sometimes it’s just fun to collect images and see where they go. (Beth Dougherty 2018)

If you want art journal inspiration just search these hashtags on Facebook or Instagram. You can also use these hashtags if you post your journal pages on social media.

#artjournal #artjournalpage #getmessyartjournal #visualjournal #scribblesthatmatter #journalart
#artjournaling #sketchbookart #creativejournal #dailyart #artjournaljunkie

I hope this post inspires you to get started on your own art journal. There is nothing as soothing as following through on your desire to be creative in any endeavor!

Thanks for reading! If you liked this post please leave a comment or press the “like” button.

Happy Journaling!

Beth

November Gratitude Challenge- are you up for it?

My Dear Friends,

Halloween is over and that means Thanksgiving is Close. It begs the question:

Are you feeling thankful?

My usual November MO is busy-busy-busy then at Thanksgiving we all sit down at the table and list a few things we are thankful for. This puts family and guests on the spot and gives them about two seconds to come up with something meaningful. Next, we are on to December and the onslaught of holiday marketing that shows us we are lacking and need to buy, buy, buy. That's why the holidays can often leave us feeling empty and stressed instead of full and blessed. This November I have been thinking of things I can do differently and I thought you might want to try a few new things with me.

I invite you to join with me in the November 2017 Gratitude Project!

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This November I invite you to focus more love on your life and focus less worry on the things you don't want to think about - like the state of politics, the state of the world or the state of your closet. It is true that what we focus on expands. When we focus on the things we are thankful for those things expand in our lives. If we could do this the entire month of November we would be creating a habit that opens us up to a life time of goodness!

By participating in the Gratitude Project we'll go deeper than just appreciating family and friends. We'll shine a spotlight on all the little things that bring us joy.  That light will grow and grow into more things that we realize we are thankful for. When we're realizing all that untapped, potential for gratitude - what a great way to go from Thanksgiving to the holiday season - than full of real and lasting JOY! That's an easy life changing shift right to prosperity folks! 

So join me in this fun challenge!

You have to practice something for it to become habit. These practices will help us strengthen our gratitude muscle.

1. Post a picture everyday (or as many days as possible) on Instagram or FaceBook of something you are thankful for. It could be something monumental like the kidney your sister gave you or something small like your favorite, comforting coffee mug. Give us a short description of why you're thankful for it and hashtag it: #nov2017gratitudeproject. Yes, that's a cumbersome tag but it will collect all our posts in one place. I guarantee you will enjoy posting your "gratitudes" each time and you will really enjoy reading other people's too. Example below.

You get the idea, right?

You get the idea, right?

2. Keep a gratitude journal. (Oprah probably started this idea and look what it did for her) Buy a cheap notebook and use it only to write down things you are grateful for. You can list them in bullet points or write them in descriptive paragraphs. Do this first thing in the morning to get your day started off right, do it on your lunch break, in the carpool line, before bed -whenever you can make the time. Do not cheat yourself out of this! This is where the concentrated appreciation happens. This is where your life begins to shift!

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3. Challenge yourself to go deeper. At least once a week during November I will be sending out a gratitude prompt. These will be exercises designed to pump that gratitude muscle and inspire you. Sign up for my blog (signup window on this page) and you will be on the list to receive these prompts.

If you accept the challenge and participate in the November 2017 Gratitude Project we'll meet back at the end of the month and see how things went for everyone.
Feel free to forward this to anyone you think might be interested in it. The more the merrier! Any questions or comments? Email me or leave them below.

So, let's go beyond scratching the surface this year! Let's feel gratitude down deep in our bones. Please join me on this potentially life changing journey.

NOW -Who's with me?

Beth

 

 

About the Process

This week I have been enjoying a little break from oil painting and making some mixed media paintings. I thought you might be interested in seeing the process.

This pair of pictures is something I have been mulling around for a while. I like to begin with 140lb water color paper. I used Modge Podge to glue some random papers down for texture and then started layering the blue acrylic paint.

 

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After the background was painted, I cut out and glued book pages into the octopus shapes I wanted. 

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After the shapes were laid out I painted them to look like the octopuses I had in mind.

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To make the teapot and teacup I used a playing card and a found piece of Chinese paper.  

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And for the final touches I added an outline with India ink, found green paper for eyes, some bubbles and a little more shading.

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I decided to give this little guy glasses and a nice smile. 

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This little octopus has a fish (from the encyclopedia) swimming by.

Hopefully you found this "step-by-step" interesting. I think the "Octopus Tea" pair would look great framed. If you are interested it will be on my ETSY page soon.. 

Thanks for reading, talk to you soon! 

Beth