Art Journal Speed Process: “Making Shadows”

I have a certain love for hanging lanterns. Honestly, all party supplies stir something inside me that just gets me in a good mood, whether it be streamers, balloons…presents. I have a bad habit of leaving decorations up far beyond a reasonable time frame, and in fact, have a string of green paper lanterns dangling from the ceiling in my studio; as of now, there are no plans to remove them. It’s should be no surprise that hanging lanterns would eventually find themselves layered into the artwork of my journal.

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“Making Shadows” Art Journal Spread

Unlike most of my journal pages, which are created impromptu, this spread had a moment of conception when the muse struck me outside of my studio. I had this strange urge to use a wet paint technique to create red, multi-hued hanging lanterns. I wasn’t quite sure what this journal spread would be about (other than my affinity for celebratory ephemera) but I got to my desk ASAP, and started gluing down collage material to get my creative juices flowing. It wasn’t long before I had thick circles of red paint adorning my pages! For this spread, I also brought out my inks, KRINK paint tools, pens, and markers and let the magic happen.


“Making Shadows” Close Up (Left)

Some of these collage images came from my purchase of a coffee table book about National Geographic photographers, which will be my next altered book. Before I begin altering a book, I always remove some pages from it to alleviate stress from the binding, as my altered pages thicken the book quite a bit. The pages removed from my NatGeo book had some pretty interesting images, so I kept them for collage material. If you have interest in this book, you can find it on HERE. At his time, a new version of this book is available for $3.24 (plus shipping), which is an awesome price for the amount of beautiful images this large hardcover holds.


“Making Shadows” Close Up (Right)

To see the creation of the journal spread “Making Shadows,” you can watch the video below or click HERE.

As always, if you have any questions about supplies used, applied techniques, or just want to drop me a line, feel free to connect with me in the comments below!

“Ugly” Journal Pages & How To Deal With Them

I am struggling with an art journal spread right now. Unfortunately, it’s the first one in my newest journal, which is not the best way to start! I purchased the Dylusions brand Creative Journal a while ago from a craft store, and while it’s a well known art journal book now, I had never heard of the item upon purchase. When I saw the journal, I was in complete awe of it’s thick pages, hard cover, handy inner pouch, and it’s unique horizontal elastic closure band; I had to own it! Well…now we’re fighting, and I hate to abandon it. Because of this current situation, I wanted to discuss how I “fix” my “ugly” journal spreads, and what that even means to me.

In my opinion, an “ugly” art journal spread is not necessarily ugly to look at, but causes it’s creator to become stumped and ultimately abandon the journal spread. Do you find yourself thinking, “I don’t know what to do next!” because you don’t want to ruin what you’ve already created? The moment that happens, my page becomes an unfinished and lackluster piece. I sometimes believe that abandoning a piece that’s almost finished helps to tell my story, but other times, there’s not enough imagery to even call it “good enough.” When that happens, and I feel like I can go no further, I know it’s time to cover up and create something fresh. I’ve had to start telling myself, “If I don’t want to ruin my journal spread, then it’s time to ruin my journal spread.”

I would like to share with you some techniques that I use to purposefully alter a stumping  journal spread instead of abandoning it:
1. Take a XL paint brush, cover most of the spread in a dark colored (blue, purple, red, etc.) india ink, so that only hints of old shapes peak through.
2. Adhere collage material sporadically on the pages, covering the parts that originally controlled the spread.
3. Paint chunks of the page with a completely different color of opaque acrylic paint. (The change in color is always a huge inspiration!)
4. Drip inks and paints from the top of the page to the bottom, so as to hide some of the old imagery.
5. Use a large tipped marker (usually my black Big Brush Pitt Pen by Faber-Castell) and make huge doodles, creating new imagery or a new background to work on.
6. Find (or make) new imagery in a sketchbook that can be cut out and adhered to the spread as a new jumping off point.

I know that a lot of people will gesso an art journal page that they perceive as hopeless, but I don’t (always) mind if some of my original page peeks through; it makes for good background fodder. Also, unless you prefer to start with a stark white page, gessoing a page already thick with previous paint and collage material can be wasteful. If I plan to use acrylic paint or collage material in moving forward with a spread, then I know that the opacity of those items will be enough to hide my old pages, and there is no need to waste expensive thick gesso. If not using gesso to cover a spread, an artist does not need to step away for drying time, and the continuation of working on a piece will keep the artistic energy flowing. That being said, if you feel like you’re ready to just rip out your pages and throw them away, sometimes gessoing your piece and taking a breather is required!

Art Journal Speed Process: “Ink Blot Buffalo”

Forgive the tardiness of this post, as I was involved in a pretty intense car accident that left me so shaken and exhausted that I collapsed on my sofa upon return instead of blogging to you, dear follower. (I have a feeling you might be understanding in realizing that the situation was an unexpected incident which could alter anyone’s schedule.) But I thank you for your patience and present you with almost 20 minutes of an art journal speed process video!

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“Ink Blot Buffalo” Art Journal Spread

I created the above spread as my first week’s participation in the Get Messy group (discussed in this blog post), which offered multiple prompts as part of the current week for this six week season. The theme for these six weeks is introspection, and I chose to do an inkblot type design with my acrylic paint. The Get Messy prompt inspired a great many of us to see what we would find in our homemade “inkblots,” which mimics the famous Rorschach test.  I’ve done this before, as you can see in the photo below, but it’s been a long time since!

Not All That Bites is Bad AJp

“Not All That Bites Is Bad” Art Journal Spread

This video took me quite a bit of time to put together, as it not only shows an entire start-to-finish process for my newest art journal page, “Ink Blot Buffalo,” but I also took the time to add commentary though out the video. This commentary provides you with my rationale during the creation of this spread, detail of the art supplies used, and gives you a little insight on how it is that I create my spreads. The video is sped up to four times the original, so there is a lot of content crammed into it! Enjoy!


More photos of the “Ink Blot Buffalo” art journal spread can be seen below.

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“Ink Blot Buffalo” Close-Up: Bottom

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“Ink Blot Buffalo” Close-Up: Right Page

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“Ink Blot Buffalo” Close-Up: Right Page

I hope you gained a little insight and a lot of inspiration, and I will see you Friday with a new post! Feel free to contact me before then by leaving me a comment below; I’d love to hear your thoughts!!!

Finished Spreads: Week of 5/29-6/4

I’ve been on a roll this week at my desk: painting, drawing, gluing and more! It seemed like I was working in both art journals consistently for about 3 days, switching back and forth in order to allow paints and inks to dry. I’ve finished 3 spreads, started 2, and worked on 2 others, totaling in 7 different spreads in progress at one time! Today I am sharing just the 3 finished spreads, so as to not overwhelm you…or my camera. Enjoy!

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Finished Art Journal Spread 1: “Bull’s Eyes and Blood Stains”


Art Journal Spread 2: “Flea Market Vacation” (or “Fish in a Bottle”)


Finished Art Journal Spread 3: “Labor”

Finished Spread: Printed Reminder

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Printed Reminder AJP

I still have the illness, but apparently that’s good for my creativity as I have created a new spread from start to finish in a day! I love everything about this spread, except that it’s in my private journal, which means that I won’t be sharing with anyone in person. Luckily for you, I can show it off online! All collage imagery (7 pieces in spread above) comes from a large coffee table book about National Geographic photography, which I recently purchased for under $6. I recommend it for any collage junkies out there. I found mine in a discount store, but it is also available online at Amazon, here: Odysseys & Photographs. During the writing of this post, it is currently for sale (as used) for $0.95 plus shipping, which is a total steal for this collection of beautiful images.

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I used so many different materials to create this spread, including my new fine point Uni-Posca paint pens. (If you haven’t read my short review on these, click HERE.) These opaque pens are %100 living up to my expectations! I also used the new KRINK K-90 permanent paint pen, which isn’t the greatest to draw with, but makes perfect little dots…and trust me when I say that I could use a tool which does only that! I’ve been playing around with oil pastels too, and used an incredibly soft yellow-orange Expressionist pastel by Sakura (which is becoming my favorite brand of non-paint supplies) to do a few markings throughout the page. More supplies include: Gelly Roll pens, Golden fluid acrylic paints, Faber-Castell Pitt pens and , Dr. Ph. Martins Bombay India ink. This spread is truly mixed media!


Light and Dark: Working With Hues

Let me begin this post by saying my husband believes my wardrobe to be far too colorful and bright for any normal person; I am drawn to neons and pastels and any patterns that might be considered loud by some! But sometimes, I find myself thinking that I need to tone down my color palette just for a little variety. So this week, as my Art Snacks glared at me from across the desk, I worked diligently in my art-art journal to create beautiful, though contrasting, spreads.

The following photos are the two art journal spreads that I’ve created this week: one brightly colored (my usual scheme type) and the other painted with dark hues, including a lot of black line work and imagery.

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Neon Grasp AJP

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Somber Fingers AJP

As you can see, both spreads feature hands but convey completely different tones due primarily to their contrasting color palettes. It’s a good exercise for me to step outside of my usual realm and work with dark colors, especially when they help to relay darker emotions or ideas I may have. It’s still comfortable for me to create this work in my own developed style, so changing some things, such as hues, is a great way to help me evolve with my art!

Feel free to let me know how you step outside of your comfort zone…idea are always welcome! (And comments are encouraged.)

How To: From “Clippings” To “Art”

I have a love-hate relationship with collage material. If I don’t alter it, I feel like I’m lying by calling my art original. Collage material gives me imagery that I probably would not have been able to produce myself, but it seems like stealing if I don’t modify the pieces in some way. In this post, I will be sharing some of the ways that I alter collage material and incorporate it in my art.


Adhesives, collage material, and a WIP page in my art-art journal.

1. Washing multiple pieces of collage material with the same color to create a subtle but interesting background. This effect is best done with gray scale imagery or pieces of collage material that are of similar color to the wash. Watercolor’s transparency is great for this technique and absorbs into magazine clippings instead of just sitting on the paper’s surface. (Acrylic paint works well to camouflage the papers edge where it is adhered to the background.)

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Steps for washing collage material with watercolors and layering with acrylic paint.

2. Using pens, markers, and/or paint on top of images by tracing and coloring the original picture. This is an amazing technique for non-drawers who would like to incorporate imagery into their art. It works for both main focal points and smaller background imagery.

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T-B & L-R, Art journal page close-ups of: Goodbye Friend; Angered Flight (1); Angered Flight (2); Artistic Eruption; Bite.

3. Creating the look of texture by using a photo that contains no focal point, or photos of complex line work. For example, if you found a photo of a boat on the water, you would use only the water part of the photo The waves have a textured appearance out of context, and may not even be recognizable as “water.” This is especially effective in backgrounds. The collage material used below was from a photo of graffiti, but is now too fragmented to be determined as such.

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Close-up of art journal page “Not All That Bites is Bad,” showing collage material beneath text.

4. Covering it up completely by allowing the imagery to inspire rather than controlThis may not sound like helpful advice, but completely cover your collage material! I do so in almost every spread that contains magazine clippings. If you use numerous collage material pieces per spread, your eyes will roll over multiple images, perhaps finding inspiration. For example, you might include a picture of pink zig-zags, think of lightning, and then end up covering that bright imagery with a dark and stormy landscape. Sometimes it just happens; you become absorbed by the process of art making, become paint-happy, and cover the imagery without even realizing it until the page is finished! (It’s 100% okay to get paint-happy, by the way, so no worries.)


Lines where collage material is meeting the paper, but the imagery is hidden beneath paint.

There are so many ways to alter collage material, but this is how I do it. If you’re still struggling, check out Teesha Moore‘s gallery. She is famous for art that combines usual art supplies with different pieces of collage material. This style, called Zetti, is used to construct unique faces, animals, backgrounds, and more. I’ve never tried my hand at Zetti, but I appreciate it’s beauty!

Let me know if this post gets you excited to rip up some old magazines and whip out your gel pens by commenting below! I’ll see you Wednesday with my latest WIP and (hopefully) a video!

WIP ‘Head in the Stars’

The spread I’m sharing  with you today is a work in progress in my art-art journal.

Art outside of my journals is unlikely to occur off of a canvas, but every now and again I want to create without the dedication that either of those two projects demands. When I turn to a sketchbook, it’s usually for making small drawings that end up on my ATCs. However, sometimes I’ll use my sketchbook if I want to create with watercolor and believe the imagery to be too impersonal for my daily journal. Last week, I sketched a cartoon-esque face some in my sketchbook. The line art was incredibly basic, but the coloring required 3 different types of paint: watercolor crayons; water brushes, pre-filled with pigment; and diluted acrylic paint.  The portrait ended up so colorful and fun, but was created as a time killer and went hidden between the pages of that sketchbook.

My art-art journal has a few spreads that are nothing more than colorful backgrounds, which I’ve painted on whims. When I rediscovered my portrait, I decided that it belonged someplace more treasured than just my sketchbook. I lined the image with a large black marker to create a line for cutting, and trimmed her down to size. I tested the face against blue, yellow, and gray-scale backgrounds, but discovered the piece looked best on a vibrant backdrop of pinks, purples and teals! Securing the portrait came as a struggle, though, and I found some of the face pealing away as I used my paintbrush on the sticky surface of drying Modge Podge. (Invest in brand name gel medium, kids!)


It was an unfortunate accident, but I was able to creatively hide the tearing of my poor vibrant lady. The first thing I decided to do was actually cover up the blemish with other imagery. I dug out an old star shaped hole punch, some hand painted paper, and went to work! I punched out enough stars to not only cover the tear, but also enough to scatter around the art journal spread. After adhering all of the stars in clusters around my pages, I then diluted white craft paint and let it drip from the top of my journal. just to make sure all accidents were covered.

I’ll keep you updated on this whimsical spread. Until then, happy arting!

Art Supply Haul 1: Challenge

What’s awesome about an art haul challenge is that a) it allows for you to use all your fun new goodies and b) it forces you to use items together that you may not have thought to combine. It’s makes you think just a little harder about the work you want to do. This isn’t something I routinely do, but its good practice and a great excuse to make something new.


I’ll be using the spray inks, black and silver pens, stencil, and collage material that I unboxed and tested in this blog post. With the knowledge that I’ve gained from my quick testing, I have some ideas about how to incorporate all of these supplies in one cohesive piece.The sprays were a little difficult to control, so I knew they would be the basis for my background. I also decided to use the stencil, with its large size, as a background element, creating an already very busy page. I’m not one to usually use collage material as the main focus for my art work, but some simple circles and large text found in my package of ephemera seemed like a perfect contrast against the already complex page. I wasn’t sure how to use my silver pens, but after the adhering the collage material, I realized outlining them with some glimmer would help separate the shapes from blending into the background. The black pens were used for detail work, as intended upon purchase, and the smaller silver pens served for the same purpose.

Where AJP

Along with the six art supplies purchased in my first blogged-about supply haul, I also used acrylic paint, markers, and other gellyroll pens to create this page. Because the of my decision to use the globe ephemera, I knew I was going to create a page displaying a representing the solar system. I was also drawn to the image of the pointing hand. Using the text ‘where’ pushed me to add words as a main focal element. After much brainstorming and scribbles on post-it notes, I came up with the phrase, “Figure out where you are before you decide where to go.” I relate pretty strongly to this phrase right now, especially in starting this new project in blogging!

This video below is, from start to finish, the creation of the journal page pictured above. Enjoy!

Art Supply Haul 1: Unboxed & Tested

In this post I’ll be sharing with you a quick video where you can watch me unbox each item and catch a glimpse of five different art supplies at work, as well as what pieces of collage material come in a very stuffed package. I will also be challenging myself to create an art journal page using these items, so make sure to come back tomorrow for that video! But before we get to that, let me explain why art supplies are the fuel for creative fire.

First of all, you’ve caught me…I don’t actually need any new art supplies. But, while making art is my passion, buying art supplies provides me the instant gratification that cannot come with literally watching paint dry. Its easy to become discouraged by a bad sketch or a slip of the paintbrush, but fresh pens and new paint is where the potential for greatness hides! Even ‘cheap’ acrylics and office supplies can transform a plain piece of paper into the blueprints for a masterpiece. Regardless, even if they don’t produce greatness, trying new supplies is always a fun experience.

Art Haul #1 Used

Purchased Supplies (seen above):
• Vintage Style Collage Material, 63 piece pack (Tim Holtz brand)
• Honeycomb Stencil, 1 piece (Tim Holtz brand)
• Metallic Silver Gellyroll Pens, 3 piece .4mm tips (Sakura brand)
• Brush Tip Wink of Stella Marker, silver (ZIG brand)
• Ink Sprays, 2 pack w/ 2 oz purple & 2 oz turquoise (Dylusions brand)
• Micron Pen Set, 3 piece w/ .45mm & .35mm & .25mm tips (Sakura brand)

Well, I haven’t splurged in a while (on  art supplies, that is) and  decided to go to the store just to see if there were any deals worth exploiting. I was able to get 2 items on sale, 1 item on clearance, and—with the help of my husband and a coupon code—get 2 of my last 3 items each at 40% off retail price! I’ll be honest by saying that all of my shopping excursions don’t usually end up looking so thrifty, but I wasn’t willing to spend as much as I might during a more impulsive trip. It also helped that the store was only open for another half hour, strictly limiting how many products I could handle and covet.

So, without further ado, here is the video you’ve skipped through the text to get to…