Friday, August 5, 2011

Art Journal

After taking Christy Tomlinson's "She Art Workshop," I decided to sign up for her art journaling class.  It has been so much fun!  If you are interested, you can still sign up.  Since it's an online class, you can go at your own pace and you have three months to complete it.  Click here for more information.

I've had quite a few friends ask me what an art journal even is.  So although I'm new at this, I will try to explain.

Art journals are not a new thing.  They have been around for years.  Think of if as a diary with art in it.  Basically they can be used a few different ways.  You can use it as an outlet for trying new art mediums and techniques without worrying about messing anything up.  Some people create a page that is very symbolic to them but don't necessarily include journaling.  Others incorporate their art into a journal and record their thoughts and feelings in words and art.  There's really no right or wrong way to do it.  Just create what feels right for you.

You can use many different types of books  and any size to create your art journal in.  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Artist's sketch book (hardbound or spiral bound).
  • A mini album with paper, chipboard, or canvas pages.
  • An actual book (like an old novel or something from the thrift store).  You can glue 2 or 3 pages together to create a stronger "canvas" to work on.  Then you can paint, mod podge, and layer over them so you never really end up seeing the words on the pages of the book (unless you want to). Some people have actually glued several pages together, then cut the center out to create a "window" of sorts.  
  • Again, there's no right or wrong...just get creative!
The thing I've loved about this leap into art journaling is how imperfect my pages can be.  As a scrapbooker, I'm a huge perfectionist and sometimes agonize over a small detail here or there that I feel is going to make or break the whole page.  But with Christy's art journaling class, I feel like I have been given "permission" to just get messy and creative.  It's so much fun and I'm having a blast NOT being a perfectionist.

In Christy's class, I have also learned how to use many, many art mediums (some I had never even heard of before).  For example, she has demonstrated water color pencils and crayons, different acrylic paints, pan pastels, liquid acrylic inks, distressing inks and stains, gelatos, paintsticks, pens, brushes, sprays, etc., etc. 

OK...enough talking about it.  Here are a few examples that hopefully will give you a visual of what art journaling can be.  Keep in mind, I'm very new at this and am definitely not an expert.

My first page was very simple.  I used watercolor crayons for the background, then used paint and glimmer mist over a few different Crafter's Workshop templates for the background:

 I didn't do any journaling on this page, but it's symbolic of the relationship between my husband and I.  Our initials in the center of the heart were clipped from a magazine.  I stamped 4 birds on a wire representing our family.  I stamped a "friend" definition in a couple of the corners since he is my best friend.  

By the way, that huge heart stamp is by Donna Downey and quickly becoming one of my favorites!

 I clipped the word "Perfect" from a magazine.  Although my husband and I are total opposites, he is perfect for me.  :)

The blue heart is cut from an old book.  I painted liquid acrylic ink over it with my finger, then stamped white ink over the top with bubble wrap.

I found a whole stack of these tickets at the dollar store.  I highlighted the "Keep this Coupon" part to symbolize our eternal marriage.  Kind of fun, huh?  :)

On this page, I used a lot more mixed media stuff.  The background consists of various patterned papers, a dictionary page, a piece of piano music (I purchased a piano book at the dollar store), and some leftover butterfly squares from another project I made earlier this year (glass tile pendants for my Young Women's group).

 The tree trunk was cut from a magazine.  The tree top is a paper doily I sprayed with Glimmer Mist.  I painted around the edge of the page with watered down acrylic paint.  When everything was finished, I stamped some texture around the edges.

 I purchased an old dictionary at the thrift store for $3.  It was kind of hard to tear it up, but that's what I did for the "Faith" definition.

Again, the hearts were cut from book paper.  I also found the phrase in the book which I cut into strips and layered along the edge of the tree trunk.  As a side note, I love how mod podge crinkles up magazine paper.  I think the texture is cool!

Here's a page I did tonight.  I love how it turned out!

 The paper with the clocks was pulled from a magazine as well as the piece with the birds.  I mod podged those in along with a piece of music and a Webster's Pages journaling card (the one that has "Listen" on it).  I printed the "Time Flies" phrase on my computer and highlighted the edges with paint, Glimmer Mist, and a border stamp.

 I stippled over a piece of puncinella to create the dots.

I cut a heart from a piece of cardboard and peeled the top layer away.  Then I painted the edges and sprayed some glimmer mist on it.  The acrylic wings are some old Heidi Swapp ones I had in my scrapbooking stash.  The yellow heart is cut from patterned paper and highlighted with a Faber Castell Pitt pen.

I stamped over the corner of the bird picture with a foam stamp from Michael's and white acrylic paint.

I made this a two-page layout so I could journal on the left side.  Once the journaling is done, I might end up adding a few more things...we will see.  :)

I hope this helps those of you who were asking me questions about art journaling.  I'm really loving it and have tons of ideas floating around in my head! 


  1. Thanks, I'll show *S*. Not enough words for me - I noticed in all the art journals I've looked at online no one has a lot of words. But she's more artsy than wordy, so this might really work for her (& give her a chance to use all those different mediums). Yours look really pretty! It'll be awesome to pass down to your grandkids someday!

  2. good job Stephanie. I have loved the classes from Christy. Love that girl. She just lives down the street from me. the 3 hearts class has been so fun. thanks for sharing.