Recently when I was making a card with the new Penny Black stamps, ‘garden variety’ and ‘fresh fern’ I also began an art journal page. I really need to be braver with my art journal, I tend to reach for the same mediums that I use all the time in my cards. Today’s journal page was not particularly adventurous but I did pull out my box of pastes, gels and mixed mediums only to find several of them had dried up completely in their containers while others that used to be thick had turned to liquid. Those ones got tossed but a jar of distress collage medium came in handy along with some modelling paste. I think they might have both done the same job in the end.
I’m still working in my Fabriano art journals made up of drawing paper so I’m trying not to rely on my watercolour habits and techniques. I began as usual by taping the edges of the pages both to keep the book open and to create an attractive frame.
I inked the garden variety stamp with tangelo, northern pine and rosebud memento inks, spritzed it and stamped on the pages multiple times. I did first and second generation stamping to get both bold and pale prints. Then, feeling all brave and mixed media-ish I coloured some modelling paste with peanut brittle memento ink and applied it around the edges with a little plastic applicator (an old bank/library card would do). This step didn’t really yield the results I wanted but it was all in the spirit of experimentation so on I went.
I hadn’t used tissue paper in a while so I scrounged through our wrapping paper box and found some white, stamped the fresh fern in rich cocoa memento ink then tore it into sections before gluing it on the journal pages with collage medium. The tissue became almost transparent which gave the flowers behind a soft pearly look. I stamped the verse from 1 Corinthians on tissue too and glued it down in the same way replacing the first word, ‘love’ with a die cut.
I would love to know if you have an art journaller you admire. I am a big fan of Vicky Papaioannou and have watched many if not all her art journaling videos. I am interested to know what gels, pastes and mediums people use for what purposes. Which are best for resist effects, which are great for gluing, etc. Please share any recommendations you have.
(Compensated affiliate links used when possible)
I know it is not spring yet, in fact it is still very winter where I am; we’ve had some of our coldest days and nights just in the last few days. Maybe because it’s so cold now is a nice time to muse about spring.
Sometimes I have a plan for a journal page, other times I work it out as I go along. To begin this one I painted absorbant ground on the journal double page. It is a base preparation a bit like gesso which makes the paper act a little more like watercolour paper. I should probably just switch to a journal with watercolour paper pages but I stubbornly want to keep adding to the this one.
Once the base dried I stamp the Penny Black ‘springtime sigh’ stamp in one corner then coloured with Arteza real brush pens. The colouring is not precise, the surface doesn’t react the same as watercolour paper but I found blending with very little water gave me the most control.
I stamped first with Gina K skeleton leaves amalgam ink which I have used for no-line watercolour in the past but it remained too distinct on the journal page so I switched to antique linen which worked a bit better. I restamped and coloured springtime sigh several times then decided I wanted fewer little flowers to colour! I switched to the new Penny Black ‘illustrious’ stamp which co-ordinated well. I don’t know for sure but I wonder if both stamps were drawn by the same artist, the scale and style is similar.
When stamping the ‘illustrious’ stamp I was able to ink most of the stamp with Arteza real brush pens which cut down on the colouring. I still used antique linen ink on the large open leaves then blended with a marker to shade the leaves. When I had almost framed the double page spread I switched to the PB ‘tranquil buds’ stamp to add some lavender.
Next came the tricky stage when I had to decide what was happening with the empty area of the journal page. Writing, stamping, hand lettering or empty space were all options. I decided a bit of ‘filler’ in the shape of a text stamp would be nice and instead of the large script one I often use I chose the smaller typed text stamp from the PB ‘footnotes’ set. I stamped it here, there and everywhere in old paper ink, often spritzing with water before stamping so it just stamped a blurry pattern. I also added splatter then chose a phrase from the new PB ‘inspirational sentiments’ set.
Is that cute notebook die-cut covering a failed stamping attempt? Yes it is but I’m quite happy with that because the notebook page looks sweet. I cut it with a die from the PB ‘a pocket full’ set. I love how this page turned out even though I had no idea at the beginning it would progress this way. That’s the beauty of a journal page.
(Compensated affiliate links used when possible)
After making a Christmas card with the new Darkroom Door Christmas Bush stamp set I was keen to use the silhouette stamps for a different project. I decided to fill a journal page spread with them and chose a different colour scheme to do so. I think they look a bit like violets.
I taped the edges of the pages which frames the layout, keeps the pages flat and protects any pages underneath which are poking out. I painted absorbant ground over the whole area as a base before stamping and painting.
I wanted to have layers of flowers and so I tore a ripped edge on some masking paper and attached it across both pages. I used blending brushes to apply colour over the torn edge then did generational stamping in blueprint sketch, shaded lilac and peeled paint distress inks. Once the top section was completed I masked again, further down the page this time and repeated the process twice.
For highlights and details I used markers and gold paint to add details to the petals and centres to the flowers. I also used gold embossing to make a print border and title with the Darkroom Door ‘torn text’ and ‘sketched alphabet’ stamps. The Christmas Bush stamps proved to be very versatile as I thought they would when I first saw them.
This book themed page has been in my mind for quite a while and that little open book stamp on the right side of the spread pushed me to make it happen. All the stamps are from Darkroom Door; I used ‘mini open book’ once, ‘book spines’ several times and the ‘scratches’ background stamp for the wall behind the books.
I taped the edges of the double page spread before doing anything; it really helps keep the book open and stable while I work, it protects the other pages from paint and ink and I think it frames the finished design really nicely.
I embossed all the books on hot pressed watercolour paper in either gold or copper powder then coloured them with markers, distress stains and distress inks smooshed on my glass mat. I really just played with techniques until I had a good selection of colours and patterns. I stuck to jewel tones featuring dark green, bright blue, red and aqua. I’ve listed all the distress inks below. I also painted over the inking on a few books with Coliro pearlescent paints so they have a bit of shimmer.
I painted the background with ‘absorbant ground’ as I usually do when I want to work with liquid inks and water then I smooshed some ‘peacock feathers and ground espresso inks on a piece of acetate, spritzed it and dragged it across the page multiple times. That gave me some abstract colour but not enough so I used distress stain sprays in the same colours. After it dried I stamped the scratches background stamp a few times in ground espresso stain. When that dried I used a piece of tape to mask edges to sponge vertical lines across the pages.
Arranging the books on the page took a little while. I cut them all out first then cut some of the groups into smaller groups to play with the layout. Once I had it settled I glued them down and started adding titles and decoration with gel pens, embossing pens and embossing powder. I wrote quite a few of my favourites on the spines, nothing particularly new even though I have read some great new books lately. I guess they just haven’t stood my test of time yet. I have some empty spines left that I will probably fill another day.
I finished by balancing that open book on one of the piles and added the name of my favourite podcast, ‘What Should I Read Next?’ I get a large chunk of my book recommendations from Anne Bogel, the host of WSIRN. I could talk about books for several more paragraphs but if you’ve made it this far you’re a champion so I’ll save the book chat for another book themed project. I think there will be a spin off card from this journal page.
Oh, and one more thing, please feel free to leave book recommendations in the comments; I’d love to hear your favourites.
I’ve dones some more experimenting in my art journal with Darkroom Door stencils and stamps. As with some of my previous pages I finished and wished I done a few things differently but on the whole I was happy with the bright, happy look.
I began by taping the edges of the double page with painter’s tape which helps keep the pages flattish and creates a clean frame for the design. I painted the pages with absorbant ground in case I wanted to do some watercolour techniques then, when it was dry I painted the top of the page with dylusions pure sunshine paint and the bottom of the page with a mix of dylusions lemon zest & blue lagoon.
I blended oxide inks through the new small sun stencil to make sunflowers, the small wildflowers stencil to make stems and extra flowers and the brick stencil to fill in background. I also traced inside the flower stencil with a black gel pen to make the flowers stand out a little more.
Although I worked mainly with stencils I filled the centre of the sunflowers with texture stamps, added extra leaves around the stems with a fern stamp from the ‘leaves’ set and stamped some script along the lower edge of the page. After adding all the different textures to the centre of the sunflowers, I wished I used the ticket one on all the flowers; it really does look the cutest.
I added splatters of black and white gessos over the panel and wrote the words of the ‘Irish Blessing’ along the sunflower stems. It was the line ‘may the sun shine warm upon your face’ that I thought fitted with the page but decided to include the whole blessing.
There is a collection of fabulous new stamps and stencils in the latest Darkroom Door release so pop over and check them out. You will be seeing more of them around here over the next few weeks.
I completed another page in my art journal a few days ago; not the one that inspired a recent card, that one is still to come. This one I started, stopped and restarted again.
You can see there are some shadowy flowers in the background. They are the first flowers I stamped and painted straight on the journal page. The journal isn’t watercolour paper so diluting and painting with ink didn’t work well. I tried to fix it by drawing black outlines and then white gel pen highlights but that didn’t look good either. I like to think of the art journal as a place I can try techniques but sometimes those experiments don’t end up looking pretty.
When I’ve wanted to paint on other pages I have prepped the pages with absorbent ground first; it makes the surface more conducive to ink and water blending. Adding one layer of absorbent ground covered the surface but not the images underneath. When it dried though, I liked the misty images in the background and decided not to do another layer. Instead I proceeded to stamp again with the same inks (listed below) and this time blending the inks with water was more successful. To stamp on the uneven book pages I used acrylic blocks and the Wendy Vecchi ‘perfect stamp positioner’.
Once I finished stamping and painting the PB floral stamps ‘unfolding’ and ‘dainty whispers’ I stamped the delicate ‘a little secret’ stamp repeatedly in old paper distress ink to fill in some grass. I blended broken china ink directly onto the pages to fill the sky area and splattered water over it to break up the flat blue expanse.
Finally I chose the quote from a favourite author, C.S. Lewis and used the C&9 ‘simple serif’ alphabet stamps and some tiny stamps I bought long ago at Hanji gifts in Toronto. I’ve since found out C.S. Lewis did not say this; I guess I should have done a fact check before stamping it all in my journal.
I do like the effect of coloured images under a layer of white. I might do it on purpose next time!
Are you wondering if I’m repeating myself? Didn’t I post this a few days ago? Indeed, I posted something similar on Monday, a card featuring the new ‘warm wishes’ set from Darkroom Door. At the end of the post I mentioned that I’d like to transform the design into a journal page…so I did!
I kept my colour scheme with the addition of more green and added a few extra stamp images and a bit of texture. I used a Fabriano ‘Venezia’ art journal, with drawing paper not watercolour paper. The weight of the paper is decent but if I’m going to be spritzing and adding water and ink I paint a layer of absorbant ground on both pages first.
I began by inking up the clover stamps with worn lipstick, aged mahogany and peeled paint markers, spritzed them so the ink started blending on the stamp then stamped randomly across the pages. I spritzed the images lightly so the ink moved and softened and also dabbed colour and water away with a paper towel. I inked the number/account book stamp from ‘number medley’ set with stormy sky distress stain and stamped it randomly around the pages. After stamping I spritzed the images so the ink spread, diluted and ran across the page. I dabbed some of it dry but left other bits to make watermarks. I also splattered the stain around with a paintbrush. Once the first layer of stamping was dry I switched to stormy sky distress ink and a blending brush to add colour to all the page edges. Also on the dry page I added a bit of texture by applying modeling paste through the DD stencil, ‘crackle’. The crackle was not very obvious but showed up a bit more after I added more stamping.
At this point I considered the background complete and started on the more distinct stamping. As I was working in the journal I couldn’t place it in the MISTI so I placed my ‘staytion’ magnetic board under the left hand page and added some acrylic blocks underneath the board to balance the left side of the journal with the right. I used an acrylic block to stamp all the clover and positioned a stampa-ma-jig against the block a couple of times just in case I didn’t have a complete image. I was able to do touch ups with a paintbrush and extra ink if the stamping was too pale.
I wanted some clover-ish leaves to stamp around the flowers so I grabbed a stamp from the DD ‘wildflowers vol 2’ and stamped foliage all around in peeled paint and forest moss inks. I added some green splatter too because journal pages always need splatter! At this point I was almost finished but I wanted a little more blue on the page. Rather than add more of the number stamp I used a very delicate floral stamp from ‘nature walk’ in faded jeans archival ink so I would have fine detailed lines that wouldn’t blend or blur. To balance mass of colour at the base of the pages I added more blue across the top edges. The blending brush was going to take too long so I swiped the ink pad over the edges and some water droplets also.
My journal is nowhere near full but it has become bulky with uneven pages because some have been glued to each other, others have been collaged. When I started the journal I glued pages together for sturdiness because that was what Vicky Papaioannou did and Vicky is an art journal wizard! She doesn’t always do that any more and neither do I because some of the pages just don’t want to be joined to each other, it makes it difficult to open them or flatten them. If you are an art journaller I would love to know if you prep your pages in some way so they can take a bit of water and liquid ink.
I hope you enjoyed seeing how a card inspired a double page spread; I definitely enjoyed working on the large scale with less pressure to keep things neat and contained!
I’ve been experimenting in my journal again featuring some new and old stamps from Concord & 9th. Once again I had an idea in my head and although this does not look like my original idea, I’m very happy with the vibrant look of the massed flowers. I haven’t put any words on this page yet and possibly wont. Now if you are not an art journal type of person, hang in there, I have cards made with the new ‘fine line florals’ set coming over the next few weeks.
As I mentioned last time a couple of my journals do not have watercolour pages, this one is drawing paper. Sometimes I paint my pages with gesso or absorbant ground before I start or glue other papers to the page. I’ve also glued two pages together a few times to make sure liquids don’t soak through the page. The glued pages are very bulky and bumpy though so I don’t think I’ll keep that up. With this page I wanted to see if I could add watercolouring to an untreated page without it soaking through, breaking down the page or seeping outside the stamped images. Even though I love watercolouring with distress inks or stains I thought they might be too wet. I decided instead to used inktense pencils as I hoped to get vibrant colour with limited water. I tried picking up colour from the pencil lead with a wet brush and painting it into my stamped images as well as colouring the image with the pencil then adding the water over the top. I preferred the look of the former method. When I coloured directly on the page it was more likely that I would end up with shading lines or the colour would seep outside the stamping once I added water. I did get some paint soaking through the next page of the journal so I’ll cover that up with my next spread.
The big flowers are part of a large multiflower stamp from the new C&9 set, fine line florals. I stamped it three times on my journal double page but the page doesn’t sit flat so I was not able to get perfect prints. I was using the fiskars stamp press on the flatter right hand page but used my hand to press the stamp on the bumpy left hand page and tried to do the stamping across the centre of the two pages in two steps while masking the left then right. I kept going even with my patchy stamping and used micron pens to add in missing lines and trace over the pale stamping. I wondered whether the lines I added would be obvious but once all the colour was added it was hard to tell the difference between the stamped and the hand drawn outlines.
The other stamps in my floral explosion are a feather from the C&9 ‘feathered’ set and leaves, flowers and little sprays from the C&9 ‘songbird’ set. I did several layers of colour on the large flowers, letting it dry after each one but just one layer on the leaves, little flowers and feathers. The dots were distress inks sponged through a homemade die cut vellum stencil made with C&9 ‘dots and hearts’ die.
I also did quite a bit of splattering by flicking a wet brush across the lead of the inktense pencils. I added black outlines as I did the watercolouring but when all the painting was finished I went over the centre of the flowers drawing little circle centres with the micron pens and adding little white dots here and there with a white gel pen. To frame the spread I drew a squiggly frame with in black then added some black soot distress stain splatter here and there.
I had fun with this spread and learnt a few things along the way. Hope you are having a great day; thanks for spending some of it here on my blog.
Are you a wee bit surprised to see a journal page here? I’m surprised myself, surprised but pleased. I really enjoyed dreaming it up and making it. It didn’t end up looking as I imagined but that is the way with journal pages is it not?
This art journal is a Fabriano journal; the paper is nice and thick but not watercolour paper so I painted over it with absorbent ground first. Then I grabbed a bunch of stamps from Darkroom Door along with three light coloured oxide inks and stamped mesh, stone and woodgrain texture stamps over the background. I spritzed it with water to soften the edges of the stamped images and dabbed some out too to make it subtler. Even after adding some water it was still bolder than I wanted so I painted another thin layer of absorbent ground over it.
I filled the bottom of the page with repeat stampings of flowers from the Darkroom Door ‘tall flowers‘ set in distress inks then blended some of the big flowers with water. They don’t blend as well as they do on watercolour paper but the effect is still nice.
I added grass and flowers from the DD ‘ nature walk‘ set, also in distress ink then a border with the mesh texture stamp in black soot oxide ink. It was a bit bolder than I wanted so I spritzed then dabbed with a paper towel ( as you can see I’m a fan of the ‘spritz and dab’ ). I splattered wild honey, forest moss and dusty concord diluted ink over the whole spread and it ended up looking like confetti. To boost a few of the flowers I outlined them with fine tipped black markers.
I wrote psalm 18:36 with a brush pen leaving a space to stamp the word ‘steps’ with the DD alphabet medley stamps. I find choosing words for a journal page tricky, which words and how to add them. But the beauty of a journal page is the experimental nature of it. If I don’t like something on this page, I’ll try something different on another. Once the ink had dried I sealed the large flowers and the lettering with distress micro glaze.
Do you have any art journallers you would recommend for inspiration? I already follow Rachel Greig from Darkroom Door, Julie Fei-Fan Balzer, Vicky Papaioannou and Maremi SmallArt who all have different styles and inspiring journal pages.
I’m hoping to create in my journals more often and will share pages here if possible. Even if you are not an art journal person the designs can usually be converted to a card and sometimes start out as cards anyway!
Art Supplies (all Darkroom Door stamps are linked in description)
It is over a year ago since I completed a page in my art journal so it was a good thing when I was asked to create an art journal video for the Penny Black blog. The latest release from PB, Artistic Endeavors includes some beautiful stamps designed with journaling in mind. The page I created last year was a Narnia page so I decided to stick with the literary theme and make another book inspired page. My inspiration this time is ‘A Girl of the Limberlost’ by Gene Stratton-Porter. I read the book quite a few years ago but really enjoyed it and could see the butterfly and figure stamp working well on such a page.
The main character, Elnora, catches moths to sell to collectors in order to support herself through high school. She lives on the edge of the Limberlost, a forested and swampy region where she finds the moths she later sells. I know these stamps depict butterflies but I chose to exercise some artistic license.
Because I wanted to watercolour both the butterflies and the girl I stamped them on watercolour paper, painted them, then cut them out so I could attach them to the page.
To add texture to the background I glued torn strips of tissue paper all over it then did partial stamping with a script stamp and a leafy stamp.
Journal pages take me a long time so despite the fact that I sped up just about all the footage, it is still on the lengthy side. I hope you enjoy it and, maybe like me, get inspired to pull out a neglected art journal. Or perhaps you’ll go and check the book out of the library…
Edited to add: In the video I mentioned learning a lot from Vicky Papaioannou; her videos are here:https://www.youtube.com/user/vickypgr
Stamps: Muse, Script, Verdure, Butterfly trio (PB)
Art Journal: Fabriano 24cm x 15.5cm
Art supplies: Faber-Castell gel medium , Tsukineko Versafine Onyx Black ink , clear embossing powder, Ken Oliver Colorburst powders (merlot, violet, ultramarine blue), Ken Oliver liquid metals (platinum, verdi gris, ultramarine blue), Faber-Castell Stampers big brush pen, lead pencil, Pigma 0.3 micron pen, Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer watercolour pencils (medium flesh, brown ochre, juniper green, ochre, burnt ochre, venetian red, delft blue, warm grey 3), tissue paper, Dr Ph Martin Hydrus liquid watercolours (Hansa yellow light, phthalo blue, phthalo green, carbon black) Art glitter designer dries clear adhesive, Ranger distress micro glaze.