Art Journal Jumps

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This article is written by Vicki Ross

What is a Journal Jumpp? A Vicki-ism for a starter journal. A journal I’ve started for you. A jump-start.

All artists have a stash of untouched journals of all sizes…some designed for writing, some for painting, spiral bound, moleskin, etc. Always on the lookout for deals, we get them gifted, and somehow most of them are never touched. Saved for a rainy day.

WELL, that is changing! If I destroy a book, whether an altered old big book, or a new cheap composition book, and it has distressed pages and a color/image theme, you won’t feel so timid about ‘ruining’ it! I already did!

This is an altered composition book. It is based around a datebook I designed a long time ago that featured Ran-DEE’s photos from Giverny. I also included on the cover a painting I did at home after the trip, a pastel. The photo of the painting is mounted on an image of an antique map of France. The spine is a piece of linen canvas, actually has some oil paint from a studio session I did while in France.

mixed media art journal

Supplies for your Art Journal Jump:

  1. Composition book
  2. Mat Medium or Glue Stick
  3. Gesso
  4. Acrylic paint for tinting the gesso
  5. Modeling paste
  6. Gloss Varnish
  7. Washi Tape
  8. Stamps, Stamp pads
  9. Stencils
  10. Various fibers, beads, other found objects

mixed media art journal with these steps

Step 1: Start with a blank composition book ($1.00). They have around 100 pages and a sturdy cardboard cover. Open it to the center and make sure it is stitched, not glued. Glued bindings will not hold up to the stress of our abuse.

mixed media art journal with these steps

mixed media art journal with these steps

Step 2: These have around 100 pages, and you want to remove about 1/3 of them evenly throughout. Tear with straight edge, and glue the facing pages (on either side of the removed pages) together for thicker pages. Group several together to hold up to embellishments, cardboard, collage, etc. Place something heavy on top of book and let dry overnight. I used a mat medium gel, although cheap glue sticks work too.

Step 3: I mixed up gesso with an acrylic color that closely matched the inside pages of the datebook, and with a 2″ sponge brush, painted every page. The lines show through some because it dries translucent. It dries fairly quickly, and I hurried it along with a heat gun. Place waxed paper between each page and repeat! Heavy weight again, overnight.

Step 4: It is best to wait until the pages are completely dry! No dampness at all. Of course, I couldn’t wait to continue. I folded some pages  at the corners and glued together to make pockets. If any of your pages are stuck, gently pull them apart. If a mark or tear occurs, cover it up or tear it out!

mixed media art journal with these steps

mixed media art journal with these steps

mixed media art journal with these steps

Step 5: I distressed the edges of every page using a Tim Holtz Distress Ink Pad, Walnut. Anything will work, just keep it rough.

Step 6: If any pages looked weak (in the binding area) after all the gesso and glue, I took a piece of deli paper, wash tape, or print masking tape (Scotch brand) and glued in the crease. MAKE SURE TO USE WAXED PAPER EVERY TIME YOU CLOSE A PAGE.

Step 7: Decorate! I used laser images printed from the original book, and decorated them with scraps of tape or printed deli paper. Deli paper prints cut in strips does great for edge trim.

mixed media art journal with these steps

mixed media art journal with these steps

mixed media art journal with these steps

Step 8: I added “tip-ins” as you can see in the image above. Assorted pieces of acetate and note papers, ragged edges and odd sizes. These are glued or taped into the spine.

mixed media art journal with these steps

mixed media art journal with these steps

Step 9: I used a stencil pattern cut out of light card stock with my Cricut Explore, and modeling paste.  (image 1 below) Let it set up a few minutes, then remove the stencil. After it dries, rub over it with an ink pad to bring up the texture. Image two on the left page is an envelope made from one of the photos. Image three below shows a dried baby wipe I had used the day before as a clean-up. The colors were random, but same used throughout. Some pages torn from a French Dictionary added some text and visual interest.

mixed media art journal with these steps

mixed media art journal with these steps

mixed media art journal with these steps

Step 10: Glue die-cut paper scraps to some edges. As long as you stay in the theme colors (mostly), stamp, write, distress to your heart’s content.

I left at least half the pages empty for someone else to fill.

Step 11: Covers. I left these ‘til last so I didn’t have to worry about keeping them clean. First, I took some threads double the length of the book. I tied assorted beads to one end, about 5″. Make sure knots are tight…can add some glue for additional hold.

Leaving about a 3″ tail at the bottom, I glue this to the OUTSIDE of the spine. This makes a bookmark, so make sure the length extends so the beads fall outside the book at the bottom after wrapping through book.

I found a partial piece of painted linen canvas that I started an underpainting while in France. Not important, but I know where it came from 🙂 it was in the color palette of greens and oranges. Cut 2.5″ wide and extending 3″ beyond each end. Glue generously, wrap around spine and weight to dry overnight. DON’T peek. It has to cure.

In the meantime, I prepared a digital collage with antique map of France and one of my paintings from Giverny. This was laser printed, cut in half, and glued to each cover. I had 3/4″ overhang. Fold in the excess to the inside, and glue.

I cut the linen where it would fold inside the cover, but clear the pages, folded it in and glued, leaving the center piece of linen free.

For the inside covers, I use laser prints of two watercolors painted on location in Giverney…one of mine, and one of Ran-DEEs.

mixed media art journal with these steps

mixed media art journal with these steps

As I keep going, I see a few places that need to be touched up. Stamps, stencils, or pieces of paper will cover any objectionable marks.

I tied a few beads to the bottom strings of the bookmark, and trimmed the linen at each end about 1/2″ from the book. I figured this added a bit of protection.

A final coat of acrylic varnish (Liquitex Gloss Medium & Varnish) and this puppy is ready for someone else to finish!

Let me know what you think!

All images © V.N.Ross

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Vicki Ross is focused on sharing her journey to art and how life events can shape us through creativity. www.Axully.com Vicki has always been involved deeply in the creative arts, from professional soft crafts publications (knitting/crochet/needlework) to French Hand-sewing, stenciling to macramé, oil painting to encaustics. Whatever your leaning, she believes in the healing power of creating.

You can see more of Vicki’s work at VickiRossArt or via blog posts at Axully – Solid. Useful. Beautiful

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