Add Life to Images with a Fast and Easy Art Journaling Technique

art journal portrait
Art journal portrait from a photo.

As I think about gathering with family this week, I am once again amazed at how my daughters have grown. We have boxes and megapixels worth of images of them, but the one I'm showing here is one of my favorites. It's of my younger daughter Meredith.

Using an art journaling exercise by Lisa Bebi in Art at the Speed of Life: Motivation and Inspiration for Making Mixed-Media Art for Every Day, I printed out several copies of the edited image and basically colored over it.

I love the final product. And it took about 10 minutes.

four steps of art journaling portrait
The four steps: printed image, under layer of yellow, turquoise background and highlights,
color and highlights.

Here's what I did.

1. I printed out my image in black-and-white on an inkjet printer using regular printer paper.

2. I applied the yellow Big Phat Marker in vertical brush strokes over the entire surface of the photo to give it an underlying warm glow. The strokes of the marker also gave the photo a painterly look.

3.  I applied a metallic turquoise-colored gelato all around my main image and also roughly traced the lines of the creases and ripples in Meri's shirt. Gelatos are acid-free pigment in a stick; they basically look like lip balm. They come in metallic and matte and their creamy texture makes them blendable. They also work great on dark papers, which was perfect for my purpose.

4. Using a set of neutral matte gelatos, I colored on top of Meri's shirt with a goldenrod color, adding some shading with a terra cotta hue. I added a peachy color around her cheeks and forehead, blending it with a light gold. Finally, I colored her lips with terra cotta and added it to her hair as well.

I love every stage of my girls' lives, but I'm so happy to have caught this moment and rendered it as art.

Pam demonstrates the use of gelatos and other expressive materials, plus shows more quick techniques and time-saving ideas for art journaling in her Cloth Paper Scissors Workshop video, Art Journaling Fast & Easy: Unique Journal Pages One Step at a Time, now available. You'll love it for jump-starting your art journaling process.

P.S. What's your favorite way to jump-start an art journal page or other piece of art? Share in the comments section below.


Art Journaling and Lettering, Blog, Mixed-Media Techniques


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