Today's guest post is by Linda Tieu.
Scrappy Art Journaling
My name is Linda and I'm so honored to be guest blogging here on Julie's blog! She was kind enough to let me rave a bit about something I love to do - art journaling! I love to scrapbook both traditionally and digitally, but also enjoy drawing, painting and generally having fun with art. I've always felt that scrapbookers are really just art journalers with a memory-keeping slant.
The thing about art journaling is that all rules and restrictions are thrown out. There is no normal format or size to work in, no worries about archival issues, no worries that your visuals are going to overpower photos...you are free to do whatever you like. You don't have to show your art journaling if you don't want to, it's just your personal playground. It's nice to have the skills and tools of a scrapbooker to use, but the freedom to express your feelings and dive into creative play. I think it's good for your health, seriously! Not only can you celebrate life's joys and rant about the down times, the regression of playing with color and visual elements reduces stress and increases happiness. I'm sure there's some scientific study out there that backs up my claim...after all, there's a whole field called art therapy out there :)
Let's go through the process of creating an art journal page and you'll see how simple it is, not to mention how similar it is to scrapbooking. You realize how the supplies and tools you have really lend themselves to art journaling.
Here I have a blank sheet of paper, it's a spread of painting paper that I haven't bound into a journal yet. I prefer to work on loose-leaf paper, but it's up to you what size, format and type of journal you choose to use.
Most often we are starting with a scary blank white page, so the first thing I do is glob some paint on to it, adding bright color and dispel the white page fear! I put some blue acrylic paint directly onto my paper and just spread it around randomly with a brush.
You'll see that I'm working on the entire spread here, even though when this gets bound into a journal it's two pages on either side. It's up to you if you like to work page by page or across two pages of a journal at once.
Often, to soften up solid colors on my pages, I like to add some white paint with an old rag. The rubbing of the paint makes it blend a bit more into the background color and keeps it quite translucent so colors can show through. It's great to use either black or white to add depth and dimension to colors, because it just adds a bit of tint and mixing in a little light or dark will not result in a mud of colors either.
When I'm happy with my base color, I usually layer in some paper collaging. You can use any kind of adhesive to add ephemera to your pages, especially if you plan to paint over them a bit, you don't have to worry about it falling off. In this case, I am using gel matte medium as my adhesive.
Then I stick my paper onto that spot and smooth it all out with more medium. You'll see I've attached my voting stub to this page, something I've had lying around and started thinking about. Sometimes your pages will begin from a piece of ephemera you have and want to work with.
At this point you could add more ephemera and layers of paint in alternation until you are happy with your result. I decided to add a greenish color...so here I've mixed up some light green paint to use.
I wanted to soften up the hard edges of color, so decided to add more white paint on top. This time, instead of using a brush or rubbing with a rag, I've decided to use an old plastic credit card to scrape it across my page. Any kind of plastic card will work well...you just dab one edge in the paint and scrape across your page.
This technique creates a really cool textured look and I like the fact that you can see elements through it in spots and not others. I also like to use the plastic card edge to scratch into the paint and create more texture and designs. You'll notice I scratched randomly around the voting ticket stub for a graffiti-esque kind of look.
Once you are satisfied with your background, playing with your paint and collage, colors and textures...you can add another layer of detail through stamping. I love to use my cardmaking and scrapbooking materials in art journaling and I really do think they work really well. For this page, I decided to use some Basic Grey stamps with my Memento Tuxedo Black ink. Just make sure your page is completely dry before you start stamping.
I stamped a floral design in multiple spots of my page, following my intuition for this layer of imagery. Because of the texture of the paper and paints, my stamping is a bit blotchy in spots, but I think it adds nicely to the graffiti style.
I decided to add some more stamping in another color to complement the page design...again, I'm just going with my intuition and not planning much at all. It's important to let yourself go and just do...let your right-brain take over!
Here's my page so far with all the stamping I've done and I'm happy with the results at this point. Some people might like to add more paint, more ephemera, more stamping. It's up to you how many layers and elements you want to go with...just keep playing until you are satisfied.
Here I am punching my holes with an awl although cardmakers and scrapbookers might actually have a proper tool for spacing and punching these holes. Remember to pull out the supplies and tools you are comfortable with and go at it.
Here I am using some embroidery floss and needle to sew a simple running stitch on my page. I wanted to add this horizontal line to my page to anchor everything down, so I am doing a bit of design thinking here. However, don't feel like you must plan anything, just do what naturally comes to mind.
At this point, I added in my journaling to the right-hand side page. Just some thoughts on voting from abroad. Obviously art journaling involves journaling of some sort, but it's not necessary. Sometimes people choose to write with words cut out from magazines, others just go completely visual for a particular page because that's how they felt at the time.
As a final embellishment, I added some decorative tape and a flower sticker in the upper left corner of my page. I'm happy with how it turned out and consider it done...although many art journalers often go back and add to pages at a later time. Remember there are no rules...so you can do what you like, when you like!
I think the key to art journaling is to let yourself explore and play creatively. You will naturally discover things through the process and even though you go at it without a plan, I believe that your subconscious thoughts and feelings will show through anyway. It's amazing how your pages will reveal things about you to yourself sometimes! You play to have fun and perhaps discover new techniques, but often you end up with a page that says so much about you as a person. There's always a reason and besides having fun in the process, I think art journaling is a healthy outlet for your inner thoughts. Here's a peek at what I created on the other side of my paper also using a bit of ephemera from some snail mail I received.
Going through the same general process that I've explained above, here's what I created on the other side of my page. At times, I don't have a piece of ephemera inspiring the design behind the page, but often find that something comes out from within. In this page I did a little doodle of our imaginary puppy. We've been waiting for a year almost, but lots of trials and tribulations...I'm asking where he is in Italian...
Or how about adding some photos to your art journaling? This shouldn't be a surprise for anyone that scrapbooks, I think! Your art journal is a great place to scrap those personal musings and maybe extra photos you have lying around. As I noted previously, you also don't have to handwrite your journaling either...in this example I've really just circled words on a bookpage to express the theme in mind. I often have to remind myself to keep an open mind...
I hope to have inspired you a little in sharing my art journaling process here. Time to get out some paints and start some creative play, right? I truly believe that it comes down to doing what you want to do and having fun with the process. We all have something to gain from art journaling and I think only good will come out of it, I'm sure of it! So give it a try and have some creative playtime today! Thank you for reading along and please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or comments.
Linda Tieu is an artist + designer living in the Tuscan hills of Italy. She spends her days drawing, painting, bookbinding and more...enjoying a fun-loving artsy crafty lifestyle. You can contact her directly by email firstname.lastname@example.org and explore more of Linda's world through her website http://www.tortagialla.com.