Demystifying the art journal. Part 5: Paint and collage.


Time to pull out the paints, right? Not quite yet, unless you are using an art journal with sturdy art paper (90 lb. or more). We need to do 2 things for the best possible outcome: 1) glue 2 or 3 notebook sheets together to create thicker art journal pages; and, 2) then apply gesso, a medium that gives your paper a layer for most of your paints and glues to adhere to the page. Note that water color paints may resist the gesso; but, don’t worry. It will dry and make a nice effect.

If you don’t have access to gesso, don’t fret. As long as you do step one (glue 2 to 3 sheets together), you can use your paints with good results, as long as your paint application is not too wet. So, what ARE the best types of paints to use in a notebook art journal? Any water based paint: water color, poster, tempera, craft, or acrylic paint.

Art tip: To get the most pigment onto your brush do NOT use a dry brush. First dip your brush into fresh, clean water, then gently dab your brush into a paper or cloth towel to remove excess water. Now you have a moist brush tip that will grab more pigment, especially water color paint.

Another wet material you can use is alcohol ink. You can make your own using the pigment tube inside any magic marker. Place this pigment tube in a small spray bottle with rubbing alcohol. Let it set for at least 24 hours to get a vibrant and rich color. There are many tutorials on the internet if you would like more instruction. Ink sprays are great to use with stencils, as I demonstrated in this video:

As you can see in my demonstration, I made a layout by tracing objects I had available before I applied gesso. Unfortunately, the white gesso I used was a bit thick. As a consequence, the layout I just did in black permanent marker was barely visible after it dried. It was a good learning experience. As I continued into the next step, I achieved a good layout by using homemade stencils and wet media (inks and paints). Satisfied with the layout, I did a bit of collaging by pasting down words and a phrase that I cut from magazines: Discover, Experience, and Lighten Up and Relax.

Off camera, I added more details with my paints and markers. It was fun to let my creative side take over as I inserted words, illustrations, doodles, and more color. Here is the final page that I did in my notebook art journal.


In my next blog article, I will talk about using your art journal as a self-empowerment strategy to bring more contentment and bliss into your life.

All rights reserved. ©2016 by A.K. Orobko


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