ABCs of Art Journaling

Let's talk about art journaling for a minute.  I love art journaling and I've been doing it for many years.  My first journal was i...

Let's talk about art journaling for a minute.  I love art journaling and I've been doing it for many years.  My first journal was in a glue bound sketchbook, which rapidly fell apart, but lasted me for almost three years of constantly working in it.  I'm not even sure where it currently is, but that's probably not a bad thing since it's also the journal that kept me sane during my divorce.  Since that first journal, I've filled many more journals and done several classes that have furthered my skills such as Lifebook with Willowing and When Frogs Sing with Rhomany's Realm.

When I was making my plans for 2016, I realized that this vital part of my time is almost entirely missing from this little corner of the web.  I decided to add a weekly art journaling and mixed media feature to The Hippie Art Studio. 

With that in mind, I've compiled a list of 26 different techniques and tools that I love to include in my art journaling pages.  This is a brief introduction to my art journaling process, and I will continue to update this page as the year progresses!

ABCs of Art Journaling

When Frogs Sing Journal page

A. art journaling - Simplified, art journaling is the process of making art in some kind of journal.  Art as defined by you.  Journal is also whatever you want to make of it.  Journal can be a bound book or loose leaf pages.  Art journaling is ultimately whatever you want it to be!

B. book pages - pages from old books make really great texture on art journaling pages

C. collage - Collage is any pieces of paper or media that you stick down onto your journal pages.  

D. Dylusions - these are some of my favorite sprays to use in my art journals.  They have beautiful vibrant colors and they blend wonderfully.

E. everyday - I have used my art journals as a way to reflect and document my day by writing small bits of journaling onto my pages.  Often I have several days worth of thoughts on a single page!

F. faces - Faces are incredibly popular to include on art journal pages.  I love to create the different faces of my muse.

Watercolor and pen girl faces

G. gesso - Gesso is a primer for your paper or project if you are using less than ideal paper.  I like to use gesso on magazine pages, book pages, and when I make mistakes!

H. handmade - Handmade tools are some of the best tools!  I enjoy making my own stamps, stencils, and various other tools that help to create texture and yumminess to my pages.

I.  Icad - Index-card-a-day is a great project to try if you're intimidated by a full size page in your art journal.  
Page including Journaling, Zentangle, & Collage

J. journaling - Journaling simply consists of writing down your thoughts and feelings, quotes, poems, songs, and whatever you feel like.

K. keep going - Art Journaling is more about the practice and the act of creating than creating perfect pages.  Don't stop just because you feel like you're not doing it right.  There is no right way to art journal!

L. lists - Lists are another great way to add text and meaning to your art journaling pages.

M. matte medium / gel medium - This is what I use for glue and sealant on my art journaling pages.  Matte medium will not stick your pages together, unlike regular glue and glossy mediums.

N. napkins - Napkins are a great collage material for adding texture and pattern to your art journaling backgrounds.

O.  old stuff - Ephemera is a great addition to your art journaling pages.  Ephemera is just bits and pieces from your life (tickets, photos, junk mail, etc).  You can also use old craft supplies like scrapbooking stuff that you no longer want to use.  Stick that stuff down onto your journaling page and paint over it if you don't like it anymore!

P. painted pages (scraps) - I love to use my extra paint and leftovers from my stencils to create my own painted pages to add to my art journal pages for backgrounds and collages. 

Q. quotes - Art journaling is a wonderful way to capture all the awesome quotes that touch your heart!

R. remember - Art journals are the perfect way to remember your life experiences, or even to help process certain experiences.

S. stencils and stamps - these are two of my favorite things to add to my art journaling spreads.  There is just something awesome about getting your hands dirty with stencils and stamps that makes the whole process amazing!

Background on an incomplete spread that I used Dylusions sprays and stamps and watercolor

T. tissue paper - Tissue paper is another awesome material to use in art journaling pages.  You can stamp on white tissue paper and apply glue to your page and the white tissue paper disappears, leaving your beautifully stamped image!  It's my favorite way to add stamping (because I really suck at stamping and it always make me nervous to apply stamps directly to my project), plus it adds some really cool texture to your page!

U. use - Use whatever you have! Seriously.  Often I make art journal pages from what I have left on my desk after a project.  You don't need any special tools or high end paint or anything like that. 
Art journal page using watercolor and zentangle

V.  vision board - I often use art journaling to capture my goals and dreams for the future through vision boards.  These are art journaling spreads that center around these goals and dreams through words, imagery, and color.

W. watercolor - Watercolor is one of my all time favorite mediums to use in my art journal.  Typically, I use watercolor paints on my background layer and then build up other layers on top of it.

X - marks the spot - Treasure maps that is!  Well, really all kinds of maps are cool to use in your art journal!  Maps add a lot of meaning to a page and can also have some fun textures and colors depending on the type of map you are using.

Y - You - You are incredibly vital to your art journaling pages, if you don't include yourself then you're really just making pretty pages of fluff (in my opinion).

Z - zentangle - Zentangling and doodling really fun ways to just make marks on your pages.  There are all kinds of patterns (tangles) that can help get you started down the amazing path of zentangling, or you can just make up your own doodle patterns and fill up your page!

Peek at My Current Art Journal

I did a flip of my art journal today so that you can check out more about my process.  This art journal was started in 2013 and is still in use.  This art journal is a bit different than my previous journals because I've skipped around throughout the book doing various techniques, doodling, daily journaling, watercolor, and mix media work.  It's the first journal that I've flipped throughout the book and not worked chronologically.  Inside this journal, some pages are from 2013, 2014, 2015, and then some are my most recent sketches and pieces for Create Fearlessly.  I've worked in this journal for LifeBook in 2013 and When Frogs Sing in 2014.  Since my daughter's birth finding even little bits of time has been difficult, and when I've had extra time I've mainly worked on scrapbooking pages of her.  It's been a bit of a struggle to find myself since she was born, especially in finding time for myself and things I enjoy.  This year I'm focusing on having more me time and finding the times that I can actually accomplish things (instead of say sitting on the couch watching tv).

I hope I've inspired you to play in your art journal today!  I'd love to hear some of your favorite materials to use in your journals!

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