Art Journaling Background Techniques

Sometimes, our art journals begin with a background. Those colors and textures inform everything else we do with the page.

Here are a few videos that may inspire you to try new background colors and techniques.

The first is by Purdy Creative Things. I love the variety she achieves, so quickly and with such simple techniques.

Next, this 8-minute video by Mercurial Milk presents some juicy colors and varied ideas, with useful tips for five different art journaling backgrounds.

The next video is by Maremi’s Small Art, and she shows how to create a textured, magical art background.  This video is nearly 10 minutes long, but worth watching, even if you skip ahead as you understand each step.

The next video is by that same artist. It includes several one-minute background techniques. All of them are simple and use just a few colors and tools.

The video is about 7 1/2 minutes long, if you watch it all the way through. The techniques are repetitive, but each background is unique. I think the variety will inspire you to try some of her ideas, yourself.

And, in Mark Montano‘s video – about 4 1/2 minutes long – he assembles completed artist’s journals pages.

I’m including this video because many of his techniques are fast and easy ways to create vivid, unique journal page background, too.

After watching these, I’m ready to work on my journal. I hope you’re excited about these materials and techniques, too.

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Art Journaling with Magazine Images – Part 1

Art journaling with magazine collages - how-to videos and tutorialsI’ve always been enthusiastic about collages made with images from books and magazines. It’s something anyone can do, with no art training at all.

Since the 1990s, that was one of my missions: To show people – especially women – that they could express themselves in art, no matter what.

Initially, I focused on torn-paper collages, because they were easy and were supposed to look a little “messy.”

Also, some of the words & slogans in magazine advertisements… wow! They can be great lines to include in your artist’s journal.

If you’re art journaling with magazine photos and text here are some videos that may inspire you.

First, a short video of Kelly Kilmer flipping through some of her artist’s journals. She uses lots of magazine images in her work, but also pens, paint and other fine art supplies.

Not seeing that video? It's at https://youtu.be/gVfe1wlwbd0 where you can find more of Kelly's art journaling videos, too.

In the next video, you’ll see how pitje4life adds magazine images – one over another – in her journal. (This starts part-way through the video, where she’s actually putting the images on the page.)

I don’t recommend using white glue to attach paper, because you risk it bubbling the paper, even after it’s dry. But… I’ll talk about that, later. First, the video:

Link: https://youtu.be/uo0Wsf2kaqc

Instead of white glue, I recommend something like Golden acrylic medium (Soft Gel, Gloss). I apply it gently with a sponge brush. Then I place the paper where I want it to stay. After that, I leave it as it is.

Do not smooth it, or you’ll stretch the damp paper and it will stay bubbled after it dries.

(I learned that technique from collage artist Claudine Hellmuth, when we both taught at Artfest.)

Also – from my experience – I have better luck letting the collage air-dry, instead of applying heat. (Your mileage may vary.)

Or, you could try gluesticks, as Jenn does in the following video. It’s about 10 minutes long, and she shows you exactly how her two-page collage came together. It’s from the “One Magazine Challenge.”

Her YouTube channel is Art Therapy with Jenn. Video link: https://youtu.be/H6FFrTRLf84

And, if you’re wondering where artists find delightful and deliciously quirky images for these kinds of collages, here’s Colleen McCulla‘s seven-minute video explaining her resources.

Link: https://youtu.be/EfliO_D78QE

I hope those videos inspired you to create some magazine collages in your artist’s journals. (I can hardly wait to start a new journal, after seeing these.)

If you have any questions or tips, I hope you’ll leave a comment, below.

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Folded Paper Art Journals

Simple Folded Paper Art JournalsArtists’ journals can be as big – or small – as you like, especially if you make them by hand.

You can even start with a single sheet of paper and – in just a minute or two – fold it into a simple journal.

Here are some videos to inspire you.

Folded Journal One

First, here’s a video by Cathy Johnson. She’s probably best known for her watercolors and mixed media art. Here’s part of her longer video about folded-page journals.

To see the entire video from the beginning, visit https://youtu.be/CffQyRdTDUc

And, you can subscribe to Cathy’s YouTube channel … she’s posted many videos to inspire you!

Folded Journal Two

Of course, you don’t have to stop with a single sheet of paper. For a larger journal – or a journal-inside-a-journal – you could add more (and larger) sheets of paper.

LK Ludwig – part of the original artists’ journals movement – filmed this several years ago. In less than a minute, you can see various ways she uses fold-out pages in one of her handmade journals.

I think those are brilliant folding ideas, to get the most from any artist’s journal.

Here’s the link to her YouTube channel: Lk Ludwig

But maybe you want something small, different, and a little quirky. The next couple of videos may inspire you.

Folded Journal Three

This one is a journal-in-a-journal, best if you want to expand an existing journal. It’s from Paper Pixie, and it’s a fun idea.

You can watch this video and others at Paper Pixie's YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrE5BOtFFlaurAulAU3C0Ig

Folded Journal Four

This video is longer than the others – a little over six minutes – and filled with ideas. In some ways, it’s similar to Cathy’s video… but this is simpler. Also, unless you attach a couple of these – back to back – it produces an art journal with fewer pages.

I love this concept if you’re starting with scrapbooking paper, or sheets of paper ephemera.

It’s one of many projects Maremi features at her YouTube channel.

What are your favorite folded journal ideas? I hope you’ll share your thoughts in comments, below.

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Video: How to make an altered book art journal

This is a lovely demonstration by Art by Silas. It shows how to create a mixed media artist’s journal. It includes torn paper collage – one of my favorite techniques. And it’s a good way for a beginner to get art journaling ideas. (The video is about five and a half minutes long.)

Here’s the video:



If you like this video, be sure to see Silas’ other videos at YouTube.

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