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An exploration of collage and art journaling, emphasizing the power of the playful

Monday, January 25, 2010

Art Journaling 101-Basic Supplies

I want to share my findings with you about art journaling. Over the years I have done so much the hard way, purchasing supplies I don't need, only to discover someone else has already invented the wheel. The following will help you get started with minimal time and money.

SURFACE: Good quality paper, that will respond well to a variety of mediums. Choices include bound Moleskine (say: Mole-ay-skie-na) journals or 140lb. hot pressed water color paper. Some artists like this paper loose, so that they can bind it at a later date. The size is up to you.

PAINT: For backgrounds you may want to apply a wash of color and let dry. This can be accomplished with watercolors, gouache or acrylics. The more water you add to the paint, the more sheer (transparent) it will be. There is a balance, however. You don't want to saturate the paper too much. This will cause buckling when the paper dries. There is a process to stretch out watercolor paper prior to use, but that is probably more involved than you want to get with an art journal. A heat gun (the kind used with embossing powders) may be used to speed the drying process. Some acrylic brands to look for are Golden, Studio by Claudine Hellmuth (for Ranger), and Liquitex to name a few.

BACKGROUND OPTIONS: In addition to paint you may add magazine clippings, decorative papers, wallpapers, handmade paper, wrapping paper, doilies, and scrapbook papers. I challenge myself to use what I have, to be more economical. Another trip to the shops just creates another delay as well.

ADHESIVE: An acid free glue stick will work well, along with Herma type adhesive tape. There is a current cult following with the Coccoina glue sticks, of which I am a fan.

MARKERS: There are 2 marker brands that art journalist rave about. The first and most talked about are the Faber Castell PITT markers. They contain permanent india ink and are waterproof. The other brand are the Copic markers. They are refillable, come in 214 colors, and the nibs are replaceable. A good deal can be found on these at I purchased the PITT ones with my Michaels/JoAnne's coupons so they were quite affordable in comparison.

DETAILS: You may wish to define, colorize, or highlight your pages. I have come across many references to Portfolio oil pastels. They are very affordable, do a great job, and are made by the Crayola company. If you read the reviews, you'll see that artists stress that they are serious pastels, and not made for children. They rub into the surface quite well and are water soluable. The other favored brand is Caran D'ache Neocolor II. They are watersoluble crayons. A great product description is on Watercolor pencils can also add detail and dimension to your pages.

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