In looking through my catagories recently, I noticed how many art journal headings were starting to accumulate there.  I am just about finished my 'Journey of the Soul Journal' (I have about 5 spreads to go) AND tonight I am creating a new journal for the Creative Soul Artistic Retreat in March 2009.   Someone wrote to me recently & asked me how to start one & in answer to that, I thought that I'd start YET another catagory, a more general one for art journalling, so that I can add some tips & pointers along the way for those just starting out with their journals.  Nothing beats some good EYE CANDY to get you going – here is a few of my favs –

The Art of Personal Imagery – Corey Moortgat
– really lovely book, with some very practical helps & pointers.  Corey encourages you to mix the worlds of memory keeper & artist to create unique art journals that you & your family will treasure forever.

Collage for the Soul – Holly Harrison
– there is some great eye candy here, some of my favourite – however just check the other titles you have for duplication.  This work has been 're-published' in several books & I have duplicated it in my collection.
there are literally hundreds of books out there – of all different kinds – just find what twists your dial into action!  Now – for some more PRACTICAL advice…..

TRUE VISION – L.K. LUDWIG – the approach that L.K. has to art journalling is enabling & enriching.  I hope I am fortunate enough to be able to spend some time with her next year when we teach together at 2009 Artistic Journey Retreat. 

FOR ME (and me ONLY) my art journals are all about the paper and the shape.  I make all of my own journals (so I can choose both of these elements).  In general, any book can be turned into an Art Journal.  It can be hand made, store bought or an altered book or journal. Anything goes, as long as it is strong enough to withstand the rigours of your proposed artistic process (posting (if it is to be part of a round robin journal project), travel (if you are travelling with it) AND it is suited to the MEDIUM you intend to use – watercolour, acrylic painting, wax or oil crayons, scratching back, sanding, etc,) . 

for you to think about:

Consideration needs to be given to the quality of covers, binding & paper.

COVERS:  Your journal should have a sturdy FRONT & BACK cover.  The covers can be made from recycled book covers, strong card (often referred to as chipboard, mounting board, 3mm MDF or Plywood.  If you are going to use paper to cover the journal covers, it is advisable to reinforce the corners as they will get ‘tired’ & worn with use.

BINDING:  Ensure that you have ‘space’ between your pages to allow for the ‘thickness’ of finished pages.  Hand binding is fine, just make sure that you can open your blank journal out flat. 

PAPER:     DON’T be deceived, you get what you pay for.  Cheap journals usually = cheap binding + cheap paper.  This means it is difficult to work directly into the book & most things will have to be pasted in on other paper, or you will need to stick several of your pages together…….which makes the journal thicker & harder to close with each entry.

Consider your PURPOSE for the journal is it something you want to endure the test of time, to be a 'testimony of your being' for generations to come OR is it just a 'throw away' for you to play in & you really don't care what happens to it in the future.  It normally takes me anywhere from 6 months to a year to fill an art journal – I figure if I am going to invest a year of my life to create something – I want it to endure the test of time – if only as a 'testament' of my art journey….. that in years to come I can reflect on my growth, progress & where I was at that time. 

CAROL PARKS is running a blog competition & you need to tell her the 10 things that you can't do with out to create an art journal… well – only ten IS a struggle – but if it IS ONLY ten then I can't live with out

1. fabrino artistico watercolour paper – I just LURVE this stuff – I can make it into anything.
2. drawing pencilsI can usually manage with an F, a 3B & a 5 or 6B.  I have just discovered Derwent Watersoluble Graphitone pencils at my local art shop – they are about $2.75 per pencil – I bought a 3 & a 6B & they are looooovely to shade with.
3. eraser – I usually use those long retractable 'pencil' type erasers.  Abby calls this her 11th finger – I don't really know why – she didn't make that many mistakes – ME on the other hand – if I don't have it – I don't draw – because I make more mistakes than successes at the moment.
4. gesso I bought a big tub of this from Jenene's local art shop when I was down there a while ago – as I left my 'Golden' tub at home.  The 'no particular brand' one was fine – but I can notice a difference in drying time (Golden is slower) – opacity (Golden is better – ie need less of it) & chalkiness (Golden is smoother) I especially love Golden's Black Gesso – it gives a great base for a night scene.
5. Golden heavy bodied acrylicsfav colours are: Titan Buff; Golden Green; Quin. Gold; Burnt Umber
6. Watercolour pencils – over a period of many years I have built up a collection of Faber Castell Albrecht Durer watercolour pencils.  It was great when the kids were younger for them to be able to buy me 3 or 4 colours with their pocket money as easy Christmas & Birthday presents & now I have them all. I really love them & there is a good range of colours.  They produce some lovely results on Fabricano BUT your best result comes from your initial colouring in – and your first introduction of water – after the paper has been wet – if you try to add more colour, you get the striation marks from the point of the pencil.
7. Caran d'ache Neocolour II crayons it took me a little while to warm to these, but now I use them all the time.  An oddball thing I do with them is scribble a bit on some wax paper & use a wet brush to go around the cut edge of a piece to be collaged so that it blends in better without a sharp white cut edge.  I also use them the same way to make plan computer paper with something printed on it blend into my composition. (this paper can't stand alot of water, but a  little is fine)
8. versafine onyx black ink pad – recent discovery in my Birthday pack from the fabulous Alpha Stamps
9. HELLO – rubber stamps – My Name is Keron and I am addicted to Rubber Stamps……….. what more can I say?????
10.Pitt pens – I love these – BUT they do dry out too quickly for my liking.

You'll notice that there is nothing here about gorgeous paper, dictionary pages, bible pages, emphemera, Golden MATTE MEDIUM, stencils, H2o's, MOON GLOW, Lumier paints, chalk or pigment stamp pads – OR any of the 101 other things that I might use on any given day that the mood strikes me to create a page in my current art journal.

WHAT IS IT THAT YOU JUST CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT – and I am not really talking about glue, scissors & brushes – product – what 'stuff' do you really 'need' to create????


6 responses »

  1. Thank You so much for posting about Journaling things. I so want to get going on a personal one and I am about ready to start…so all of these tips are just great. Thank you, Thank you.

  2. I also have Corey’s book and it’s one I’ve referred to a lot, I love the way she explains the various paint techniques, with loads of pics to follow, especially useful if you’re doing any of them for the first time. I’ll put the Collage for the Soul in my Amazon basket! M:)

  3. I agree this is the perfect post! I also loved Corey’s book. Thank you for the priceless information on Journal books. I think right now my number one can’t live without item is Liquitex Matte Gel Medium, I use it on everything when I am working in my journals.

  4. Oh thankyou for this post! I just yesterday bought a little art journal to begin and this is extremely helpful! (yes please to the pdf booklet! LOL)
    At the moment, what I must have is time. With 2 kids and work, this is a special commodity LOL But my basics are always pencils (A sharp lead pencil + Prismas or my trusty old Faber-Castell’s), an eraser, and my Sharpie marker. Anything else is just an addition.

  5. I am just totally hooked on “souffle pens” at the moment! The are flowing ink pens with fairly fine ends. The dark colours stand out on light backgrounds and the light colours stand out on dark backgrounds. You have to get the hang of which colours work over which backgrounds, but when you get it right the effect is brilliant!

  6. I’ve owned that Collage for the Soul book for years it seems and I never get tired of looking at it.
    Oh what you’ve contributed here is just wonderful. Make a little pdf booklet out of it so we can print and save, close to our hearts where we guard all things rare and precious.

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