If you're new to Art Journal Every Day, there is a short introduction here. All of the previous posts can be found archived here. There is a flickr group for sharing right here. Remember, it's just ten minutes of nourishing your creative self every day! No need to finish anything or even like it. If you've done some art journaling this week and you've blogged about it, or put it on flickr, please leave a link in the linky list at the end of this post. Thanks!
Today, Jordan Hill is going to share a step-by-step look at one of her art journal pages!
Hello all of you people out there in blog world! My name is Jordan, and today I have been given the honor of sharing with you a step-by-step walk through of one of my art journal pages.
However, before I get started on anything with that particular train of thought, I would like to thank Julie for simply allowing me to be a part of her blog. I have been following Art Journal Every Day since I discovered it about a year ago; whether I was posting on my blog or not, I still was influenced by Julie, and continued to work a bit every day. Whether it be a doodle, some colorful paint layers, or a title, I managed to make Art Journal Every Day my own. My style is extremely different than Julie’s, but I believe her to be an extremely talented artist, and infinitely inspiring to many people, including me. So thank you Julie. It has been amazing working with you.
And so now, without further ado, I present to you my guest post. I hope you guys enjoy.
The first step for me, in any of my art journal pages is a very basic layer of journaling. The best way to do this is to go to any search engine, type in “journal writing prompts”, and choose one out of the hundreds of thousands of prompts that pop up. My current favorite is something known as the 5000 Question Survey. Most people, when filling this out, will simply use words in a notebook. Others will use a blog. However, I find it extremely enjoyable to use them as art journal prompts. It becomes a lot more enjoyable for me personally.
The prompt that I used today was about how your relationships with your parents are. I used a sharpie marker to write all over my background in response to this prompt. This is not meant to be read, and we will be covering this layer up with lots of paint. This is meant for you alone, to explore the topic at hand, and to reveal your true feelings about them. You can do as much or as little journaling as you wish. I normally do a single page of journaling, but you can go to a second page for a spread, or you may even stack one layer of journaling on top of each other, turning your journal, and writing in different directions.
After you have done a successful first layer of journaling, the next step is going to be to pick out your color scheme. Normally I don’t have a color scheme ahead of time, and will simply pick colors of acrylic paint randomly from my stash. Whether they “go together” or not doesn’t matter. We will make them work together.
Another note about paints; personally I don’t worry about the brand or type of paint; I consider my work mixed media, so I don’t find a reason to use all of the same brand of paint. I’m mixing different brands of the same media. No problem there. I will use craft paints, student grade acrylics, and artist grade acrylics all in the same piece. And often times I will use multiple brands of each of these.
The next step for this page is going to be to pick out two colors of paint from the acrylics that you chose in the previous step. I decided upon a light gray colored craft paint, and a Cadmium Yellow artist grade paint. What we are going to do with this is fairly self-explanatory and doesn’t require much explanation on my part. We are going to take each of these colors and put a couple of random dots of each on top of the journaling.
Now, with a paintbrush, we are going to spread out the drops of paint we created in the last step. There is a process for doing this though. What we want to do is start with the lighter color; in this case I did the gray, although since both are fairly light, I could have done either; and then spread it around. I was extremely random with the placement of this gray paint, and wasn’t really looking for any pattern at all to emerge from it. Though you could if you wanted to.
Next, you are going to clean your brush with water, dry it off, and repeat the previous step with the second color of paint. This time you are going to fill in all of the white space that remained after spreading the gray. Also, I like to add a little bit of this second color into the first; as you can see in the photo, there is some yellow mixed into portions of the gray; I did that on purpose so that I might give the page a more cohesive look.
The next thing that I did on this page was to use a pallet knife to spread a Prussian Blue Hue in an artist’s acrylic over the whole page. I did this extremely randomly, and tried to play with the sharp edges that I was able to achieve with the knife. I just have some very basic plastic pallet knives that I got for a couple of dollars at an art store. So you really don’t have to spend a lot of money on them. However, if you would rather not spend any money at all, or are looking for a way to achieve this effect ASAP, you could also use a plastic credit card, or even a piece of cardboard.
However, I would like to make a note. If you use either of the latter techniques, the effect will be slightly different than the one shown. I use both in my art though, and they are interchangeable.
ALSO. Make sure not to use too much paint on this layer, for if you do, you will cover up all of the previously layer. Unless that it what you are trying to achieve, be cautious. Remember, you can always add more, but it is difficult to take away. If you need to though, you can try to spray the page with water and pick up the excess with a paper towel.
Now. For the next step I decided to do a wash. This is a very easy layer to do, and can completely change the look of the page. I decided to do a light blue wash for my page, as I thought that it matched the look that I was going for.
Washes are extremely simple to do. All you do is take some acrylic paint, mix it with a bit of water, so that it turns to an almost ink-like consistency, and that’s that. However, I have another technique for making washes that I enjoy. A part of my style is that, when making my pages, I like to find ways to use up the smallest amounts of paint that you have leftover when making pages. A lot of times, when you use paints, especially craft paints, you run out extremely quickly. And that can always be disappointing, especially when you are on a tight budget. And it’s even more disappointing when you run out of your favorite color. However, what you can do is take the lid off of the bottle, fill it with water, then shake like crazy. You create a wash out of the leftover paint. You get to use your paints down to the very last bit, and they’re already ready to use when you’re making a page.
However, let’s get back to the page. When I spread this light blue wash over the page, it turned to more of a medium blue, since it mixed with the color scraping from the previous layer. But that’s okay. Just let it flow. Let what happens happen. And relax.
What we are going to do next is one of my favorite things to do on an art journal page. We are going to take a circle stencil (I made mine with the Cricut, by simply cutting multiple circles out of a piece of cardstock) and we are going to use a paintbrush and acrylic paint through it. I personally love the way that circles look on a page, as they are so graphic and bold. I am using the same yellow paint that I used on the base of this page, in order to tie together some of the layers.
Here is the page after I added the stenciling. There are many different types of stencils, and you can use them in many different ways. For example, I could have taken this same circle stencil and only done a few circles here and there. I also could have done a border of half circles on one side of the page, or around the whole page. It really just depends upon what effect you are looking for. For this particular page, I decided that the best place to go with it was to simply cover the whole page. Part of the reason for that is that the background itself was extremely toned down, and there wasn’t a whole lot of pattern going on. And I’m a pattern person, if there ever was one.
For the next layer of our art journal page, we are going to do some collage. There are many different types of collage materials that you can use; patterned scrapbook papers, old book papers, dictionary pages, graph paper, lined paper, newspaper, hand painted papers, homework papers from last year, photographs, magazine pages; the possibilities are literally endless. For this particular page I decided to go with a staple in my collection; basic book pages. Someone sent me an old book for crafting once, and I just tear out pages whenever I need them. One paperback children’s book lasts forever in crafting. Plus, I have an old dictionary that I bought at a thrift store.
What you are going to want to do with these papers (once you have picked out the ones you want to use) is rip them up. I use strips. I tear vertically and horizontally to create different lengths of strips, and also to allow the words to run in different directions when I actually collage the strips down.
To do the actual collage, I like to use a basic RoseArt children’s glue. You could use Elmers, Mod Podge, Collage Pauge, or whatever other kind of wet glue you have on hand. Heck, you could even use a glue stick if you wanted to. When using wet glue though, I’ve found that it is best to simply squeeze some out of the bottle and into a pallete, rather than directly onto the backs of the papers. Then you can use a paintbrush to put the glue on the back of the pieces, flip them over, and then paint over the top as well. This seals down all of the edges and gives you an extremely secure finished piece.
The good thing about using this type of glue in your art (children’s glue) is that it dries clear, but incredibly matte. Sometimes, when I use Mod Podge, I have extreme problems with my pages sticking to each other. And I’m guessing that most of us would like to avoid that particular predicament. However, this type of glue has never given me that problem.
For the next step, I decided to use some of the same light blue wash that I used earlier on in this page to try and blend the book paper into the background. The stark whiteness of the paper was really bothering me, and I thought that this would be an easy way to muddle that look slightly. The process that I used for this page was to take my paintbrush and paint the blue over the pieces. Then I used a paper towel to dab up some of the paint. That gave the pieces the mottled effect that you can see in the photo.
Also, I decided to use this same wash throughout the whole page. I added it into the background, in the same way that I did with the individual paper pieces. However, I just randomly pushed the color around the page for the background, instead of following the guideline of a shape. But I still followed the same concept of dabbing up any excess paint that I didn’t like the look of in particular. This really blended the collage pieces into the background.
Just as a side note, you can use any collage papers that you would like for these layers, I just decided upon the book papers because that is what my muse has been prompting me to reach for lately. However, you can do the same wash technique over any color or texture of paper, though the effects that will be achieved can and will vary greatly from piece to piece. You just need to experiment and explore to see what you come up with.
The next thing that we are going to want to do in order to progress the page is to white out a general body shape over the background with a basic white paint. I used tempera paint. There are many ways that you can do this; you can do a giant portrait, with only the head and neck showing. You can do a profile view, or even a back view. Or, you can do as I did here, and do more of a full body view. In this particular piece, I decided to have my girl with her hands behind her back, though you could do this in any number of poses. To tell you the truth, one of the reasons that I did this is because my hands need practice. A lot of practice. And that’s going to be the next thing I focus on when I decide to practice drawing different body parts.
Then, after you’ve given the white paint a chance to dry, you’re going to want to put in a couple of facial details with a pencil. These can be as basic or advanced as you want them to be; I chose a manga style for my art journals, as I know how to draw in that style, and it is simple without being too simple. I can get all the details in that I wish to be there, without going over the top. You do this in whichever style you think fits you personally.
Okay. Next we are going to want to decide upon which colors are going to use for the dress. Also, you are going to want to mix (or find) a skin color. I decided that, for this piece, I wanted to go with a bright red dress because it contrasts the background. If I have a cool colored background (as I do here), I like to use warm colors for the figure. And vice versa. With a warm background, I prefer a cool figure. It just makes the character stand out that much more, and makes it really pop.
After you have decided upon your colors, you are going to block them in. Here I did the skin and the dress (you could, of course, do any type of clothing that you like), and then added some pink to her cheeks to brighten them up a bit.
Then we are going to add in the hair. So far I have done long, messy hair, as that seems to be what I have been drawn to as of late. You could, of course, do any style that you are drawn to. Sometimes this is the hardest part for me, because I simply don’t know how to start it. However, I like to go at least slightly over one of the eyes; I actually draw a bit over the hair as well, since I just like the way that it looks. I decided upon a blonde hairstyle for this girl, but I’ve also done red, orange and brown before. Also, I have given these girls highlights. I did one girl once where I used light brown paint, and gave her teal highlights in her hair. I really liked that. So don’t be afraid to mix and match colors that you would have never thought to put together. If you don’t like it, you can always cover it up with another layer of paint.
Now we want to work on the eyes. For this girl in particular, I chose to do blue eyes, because I simply thought that they would look good with her hair and dress. If this doesn’t look perfect, or some of the colors run together, that’s okay. But more on that later. What I like to do is fill in the iris part of the eye with all of the color that you want the eye to be. Then add the white around it. And, finally, paint some white into the whites of the eye. Some of the lines of definition will be lost with the paint, but don’t be too concerned about that. It will and can be fixed.
The fixing of the definition actually starts here, in this next step. You need to choose a black or dark gray marker to use for this step; I use Faber Castell Pitt Pens. I love them, and they are almost impossible to clog up, even on top of paint.
Now you just want to outline everything. For the facial features, I was a lot more steady handed, and outlined everything very distinctly. However, for the rest of it, I used very sketchy lines. I outlined everything about the girl; her hair, her dress, her skin and face. And then, after that was done, it was so much easier to see the girl for who she really was and not what I covered her up to be. For me, this is the best part, as I’m revealing the outline of a person that was muddied and unsure mere moments ago.
The next step for this page is going to be to incorporate this girl into the page. I am going to do this with a stamp. I’m using a found stamp for this page, which was a plastic gear that I found when I took apart a tape dispenser that I used to use when I scrapbooked. It was a disposable on that I was going to get rid of anyways. When I found this piece, I thought that it would make a perfect stamp, and I thought that this would be a brilliant page to try it out on.
In the next step, I took the red paint that I had left over from this girl’s dress, and used it, painted onto the gear, to stamp all over the page. I made sure that I overlapped this stamping with the girl’s hair, skin and dress, so that when you looked at the page, she would feel more incorporated into it, rather than just sitting on top of it. Also, when stamping, I made sure that I stamped, in some places, off of the page, so that it didn’t seem that it was confined to just this one page. It makes it feel like the page could actually be continuing elsewhere.
Next, we are going to use some letters cut out from magazines and newspapers to create a title for the page. Since relationships were the topic of the journaling in the very first layer of this page, I thought that it would be a very appropriate title for the page. Actually, when you really think about it, this last step is really about adding the finishing touches. Since there are more than one parts to this step.
The next thing we are going to do is glue down some words to the front of the girl’s dress. These can be cut out from anywhere; a magazine, a book, a newspaper; and you can use as many or as few as you like. Or even none at all. I just like the way that they look, so I like to add them. Here I put in two words that say ‘restless miscalculations’. This can make sense or not, it just depends on the mood you’re going for. I also outlined these words with the Pitt Artist Pens.
Also, I used the pen to outline this entire page, all around the edges. I like how it kind of ties everything together.
And, for me, the final step is to add a tab. On this particular page, the tab was actually the reverse side of a tab that was already there from the previous page (the one on the back of it) and that’s why the colors tie together so well. Because I painted it along with the page itself. However, you could add a new tab, or only tabs to select pages in your books. It really just depends on your personal style. Add the date to the tab, and you are done.
In this picture, you can see a bit of the detail from this page. Some of the texture that was created from the stamping, the text that shows through her face. The way the sketchy lines really give this girl a personality, and the layers that we built up, together, in the background.
As I leave you today, I would like to present you with a view of the finished page. It was an adventure to even get to this point; I hope that you enjoyed exploring with me. This is what we created together, and, even though I had no idea where I was going with this page when I started it, in the end I was happy with it. This is how I do all of my pages, and I hope that if you take nothing else from me, you would take this; the process is what really matters. The finished project is almost nothing in comparison. You can keep adding layers if you don’t like it. But if you’re not having fun while doing it, then is there a use to it at all?
Once again, I would like to thank Julie for allowing me to guest post here; it was an honor. I hope to see all of you again, no matter where it may be. So have fun. And create something wonderful.
My name is Jordan Hill, I'm 15 years old, and I LOVE to create! My creative style is extremely eclectic, and I like to think of it as a mix of everything that I love. And somehow, no matter how far apart these things may seem when I first see them; they always seem to go together somehow. I would say that I am eclectic, eccentric and humorous. At least...that's what the voices in my head are telling me.