Creating a Mixed Media Art Journal

Creating a mixed media art journal page uses many of the mixed media techniques we have discussed previously. Art journalling give you a chance to bring all of those techniques together to create a piece of art that is uniquely yours.

Start with a book ready for altering, a sketch book or a notebook. Open to a new page and give both pages a good coat of gesso. Remember to be aware of the brushstrokes or scratchings you put into the gesso; these will still be visible and add texture to the finished design, after the paint has been added.

Next add some colour. Here I’ve chosen a green and a purple, both craft paints. They have been added at a diagonal, using first a dry brush, then a wash after the first layer is dry.

Adding green paint to mixed media art journalAdding purple paint to art journal

To tie the two colours together and to “dirty” it up a bit, add a little black paint, using the edge of a credit card to create thin lines.

Adding a little black to an art journal

To add further layers, paint on some tissue paper with matching colours and tear into strips. These can then be stamped and edged with black ink. Glue these onto the page. Ink used here is Brilliance Graphite Black. Stamps are from See-D’s Perfectly Paisley set (#50326).

Adding colour matching layers to add texture to background

Now your page is ready for journalling. I have used a white and a black gel pen of the Uni-ball brand. Both wrote well and dried on the paint. Take care when writing onto layouts; you may need to heat set your writing with a heat gun. Also some pens don’t write well on gesso.

Writing added with gel pens onto art journal

The brilliant aspect of art journalling is that you can write about anything; it does have that journalling aspect to it! Lately I have had the words from Pink’s song “I don’t believe you” going through my head. I have written the words out, as best as I can remember them. And like any song that just keeps going through our heads, I may not have started at the beginning, or finished at the end, or repeated the right bits…. but it is a reflection of the melody that is flowing through my brain.

Detail picture of art journal layers and writingWriting detail in art journal

I hope this introduction to art journalling will inspire you to give it a go. If you have completed some mixed media art work or altered book before, then the step to journalling is taking faith in your handwriting and what you want to say. If you are just beginning, then the best way to learn is to get started, start painting, start stamping, start writing. Only then will your skills grow.

And remember that this is for you, so choose the colours and images you love. You don’t need to share it with anyone. And don’t worry about your handwriting ~ while you may not like it, it is a part of you and that is what we are putting into our journalling.

If it all goes really bad… you can always gesso over it and begin again. But please sleep on it first; you may be surprised how a fresh set of eyes can appreciate your own work much better in the morning!

Happy creating!

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  1. Susan says:

    These ideas are so inspiring. And I like that art journals can be so private. Thank you for sharing this idea. Now I want to go get inky….

  2. Femke says:

    I have a question–I recently used a white gel pen on some painted surface and then, when I tried to finish it by covering it with podge, all the ink streaked out. What can I use to finish a gelled page? (I’m trying to protect it because even spilled water erases all my writing.)

  3. MMA_Team says:

    I have had trouble varnishing over white gel pen too. Setting it with a heat gun, then GENTLY applying the varnish worked okay – using only a few brush strokes to cover the pen, then leave it to dry.

  4. Femke says:

    Awesome–I tried it and it worked! Thanks so much for getting back to me! Your site is wonderful. 🙂

  5. Susan Garman says:

    Love the ideas. I’ve been journalling for a few months and I’m always on the lookout for inspiration. Sometimes I have trouble finding pens that work well on gesso and also don’t bleed. I’ve found that some paint pens are better than others, (always look for oil based or permanent and try to stay away from opaque if possible – hard to find ones that aren’t opaque) and the uniball rollers are ok but they clog sometimes. I have a huge collection of white and black pens/markers for using on gesso but I’ve yet to find the perfect one. Would love any suggestions.

  6. Sue Morris says:

    Nice inspiration and such fun techniques. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  7. Christina says:

    I don’t do any writing so far in my art journals I simply just draw, glue or paint I do a little bit of everyday is this still counted as art journaling?I also surprisingly it works well I use a cheap dollar store lined notebook and I don’t glue my pages together I use electrical tape instead I hope it doesn’t come unstuck does tape come unstuck?? I am just looking for inexpensive ways because well I don’t have much cash.

  8. margherita says:

    oooh che effetto interessante!!! mi piace. Grazie lo utilizzerò!


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