Evolution of An Art Journal Page

It was requested recently I show some techniques in art journaling here.  To be honest, while I paint a lot of my own papers for my digital art journal kits, I don’t really get the opportunity to do a real art journal page using multimedia.  Most of my art journal pages are digital.  But, I worked on one yesterday from start to finish.  I think I am happy with how it turned out.  I would first like to apologize that this isn’t in video format.  I don’t have the equipment for that yet and I have a terrible voice anyway :).  The plus side about using photos instead is you don’t have to constantly pause if you are working along with me.  So, without further ado:

I have read quite a few books on “How To’s” in Art Journaling.  More for my digital designs than for physical art journaling.  But, I have taken what knowledge I have learned and just went forward.  So, this process I created is on the fly, so to speak.  I don’t know what I am going to do until I do it :).  There is no “right way” to do this.  Sometimes when looking down at a piece of paper, you just need to take the plunge and let your hands and thoughts guide you.

Scrapbook Paper
Tissue Paper
Some kind of paper art
Mod Podge
Paint Brushes
Acrylic Paints
Distressed Inks/Sprays
Hole Punch Reinforcement Sheet (optional)
Baby Wipes
Letter Stencils
So, in the above picture, I have tons of scrapbook paper…about 20 lbs. worth lol.  I really have no more use for it and feel it’s going to waste, so I have pulled out some papers I thought were pretty to use.  I also used a piece of thin cardboard that was an insert in my picture frame.  Hey, recycle, reuse…right?  I thought it would make a nice base for this project.  I wanted something relatively thick, but not too thick.
You may recognize my art doll from my “Your Life” kit.  This is the one I physically drew before scanning it in for the kit.  She was too pretty to do nothing with 🙂 so, I decided to use her.
Next, I pick my base color paper and the rest I cut and/or tear up and just start randomly placing on the cardboard.  Each piece I mod podge back and front.  Looking back at all the mistakes I made in this process lol, I probably should have just mod podged the back and did the front when it was all done.  Make sure you are rolling your fingers or using something to smooth out the paper so it doesn’t bubble.
Notice I’m not using the whole cardboard.  I want my art journal paper to be framed instead of being put in a book.  I created this layout with specific dimensions to fit into the frame (as you can see in the top right corner)
I cut out strips of music print paper and added more paper to the cardboard.  You can add as much or as little as you to your layout.  This is just something I chose to do.
Next I started layering on torn pieces of tissue paper.  I had this pretty light blue tissue paper that had some glitter in it.  I wanted the little bit of glitter on my page and the tissue paper adds a little bit of interesting texture.  I also don’t want the scrap paper to be overpowering on the page.  You will see it looks really covered up by the tissue paper, but that’s the mod podge.  Once it dries, the scrap paper underneath shows up more.
After the mod podge is all dry, I then started doing a wash of acrylic light blue paint over everything.  See, this is where I kind of wish I didn’t mod podge everything on top.  I should have stuck with just putting it underneath the paper.  I wanted to use water color paint, but of course, the watercolor just floats on top lol.  Ah, well…live and learn.  So, I chose acrylics instead.  I only added a little water because I wanted it thin enough to see the paper, but not so thin that it just floats on there.
While it was wet, I took a paper towel sheet that has some cool pattern on it and laid it on top of the wet paint.  Then took my hands and lightly patted down on the paper towel covering the page.  Not dabbing.  Just pressing down like the paper towel is going to be part of the page.  Then I lifted it up so that it took away some paint and left an interesting textured pattern on the paper.  Unfortunately, you can’t see it all that well in the photo.  Looked pretty cool anyway :).
Another cool trick is instead of using a paper towel, dab it with plastic wrap.  That makes a really interesting texture too!
On top of the blue paint, I added a sap green acrylic paint (looks yellow because of the lighting, but it’s a green).  Looks really thick here and you cannot see the underneath paper, but that’s what I wanted.
I then took some baby wipes and dabbed off excess paint until I achieved the look I wanted.  I love baby wipes (I get them in bulk at Costco).  They are damp, so it works well with water-based paints and they don’t stick to the paper.
In my supplies list, you may have been wondering what the heck I was talking about regarding hole punch reinforcement sheet lol.  Above photo shows what it is.  I saw these at Target a while back and thought it would make a nice polka dot texture on paper (I turned them into PS brushes too!).  I used a brown distressed stain and ‘stenciled’ in the dots.  Because of (yes, head slapping again) mod podging on top of the paper, the stain kind of floats there, but it still managed to stain a little, so I dabbed up extra with a baby wipe.
Now comes my favorite part!  Splashing paint!  I always love the look of splashed on paint.  I took a thick cheap paint brush (top left corner) with watered down red acrylic paint and started shaking on paint.  I also stipple it on by taking my fingers and brushing them along the bristles of the brush to make a spatter with smaller drops.
On top of the spatter, I took the same brush and brushed on thick strokes of paint.  I like this really cheap brush because it also makes for a wonderful ‘scratchy’ texture of paint.
I wait a minute or so before the paint is dry, but has time to soak in a bit on the paper, I take my paper towel sheet and again, lay it down on top of my paper and press my hands to soak up some of that red so as it’s not too over powering.  The second photo above is the end result.  The scrap paper below is barely recognizable, but that’s what I wanted.  I was going for subtlety here…well in regards to the scrap paper, not the red lol.  But, you can see enough to still show some interest to the page.
Now comes my little art doll.  I decided this time to only mod podge her in the back and not the front until I was done.
The next step I chose to do is to use some of my rubber stamps.  I don’t have a whole lot of them as they are very expensive and again, I don’t do a whole lot of physical art journaling :).  I guess now that I’m hooked, I’m going to have to blow my money on stamps too lol.  Anyway, I took this grunge dotted stamp that I managed to snag on sale for $5.00 at the hobby store and used the above brown distressed stain.  I stamped randomly all over the sheet.  I didn’t want to overwhelm the page…just here and there.  On the art doll too.
I found a numbered stamp too on sale for a few dollars.  This time I used a green stain and just stamped on there a couple of times.  Once on top and once on the bottom.
I also have this little vintage bee stamp.  Now here is where I’m REALLY kicking myself.  While I was in Paris last Fall, I hit the flea market and they were selling these wonderful little vintage stamps everywhere.  They were so wonderful and I only bought about four of them.  They had really cool roller stamps too.  I was afraid to spend too much money on stamps because I really wasn’t using them too much at the time.  But, now looking back I will probably never get the opportunity again to buy them this cheap and should have bought more.  Ah well…life is always a learning process lol.
Sorry, I digress lol.  I just randomly stamped bees on the page with the bee stamp and black ink pad.
Am I overwhelming you yet? LOL!  It’s a lot a steps.  I just kept on going, basically, until I achieved the look I wanted.   So, next, I took an ink distressed spray and sprayed a bit on my page.
I took some brown acrylic paint with lots of water and did a very light brown wash to give it more of a distressed look.  Great, my girl looks like she has a 5 O’clock shadow, but what can you do lol?  Again, this is a trial and error effort.  I learned a lot just diving in and learning not only the how to’s, but the what not’s.
Here I finally mod podge my girl on top to make sure she stays put.
After about an hour of letting the page dry, I start stenciling in a word I want.  It can say anything you want.  I just had a quote in mind and stenciled in one word.  I just used the stencil and some brown acrylic paint I brushed on.  After letting dry for a bit, but still damp, I used a paper towel to soak up excess paint.
In the second photo above, you will see I put some craft flowers and bling on her.  I had that area blank when I created her for digital purposes to add things in her hair.  So, I had to add something to fill in the blank spots.  Now it looks like she has flowers in her hair.  I am happy with how that turned out because it looks a little more interesting with something that pops off the page.

The last part of the process is black and white pens. The black pen is for finishing my quote “Life is as it should be”.  I used the white pen on the word “Life” and around my art doll.  I generally prefer to use the white out pen because it uses more white ink so it stands out more, but, it was being laid on too thick for me.  I then took my white gel pen.  It doesn’t work as well and took several go overs to get that white around her, but I wanted it so I was persistent lol.
And, here she is all framed up.  I hope you found this tutorial useful and not too painful to read lol.  I would love to hear your thoughts.

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