Art Hack: 5 Ingenious Ways to Improve Your Art Journaling

Have you ever felt art journal envy? I’ll be the first to admit that I have, especially during my first few months of being part of the Cloth Paper Scissors team and seeing examples of art journaling from the pros, every day. Many techniques can be learned and applied to art journaling, such as using watercolor to create a background wash or using colors to form patterns on the page. I recently learned that there are five details you can always fall back on as a brilliant way to enhance your art.

The list below is from Kass Hall’s Amplified Art, which is included in this special offer: when you order the Amplified Art Journals Collection, you’ll receive Kass’s book, plus her DVDs “Amazing Pages: Art Journals” and “Pattern Power: Doodles and Tangles to Enhance Your Art.” Now’s the best time to get the collection–once it sells out, it might not be offered again.

I hope you enjoy the following excerpt from Kass–any of these suggestions can be incorporated into your art journaling practice, starting now! ~Cherie

Art journaling tips from Kass Hall |
PIN these art journaling tips!

5 Ways to Add Details To Your Art Journal by Kass Hall

Art journal ideas from Kass Hall |
Example of drawing a border on an art journal page

1. Borders: Your pages don’t have to have borders and I certainly don’t always use them, but more often than not, I do, even if it’s a simple pen line around the edge of the page. Why do borders make an art journal page feel more complete? It has to do with containing the images, I think, feeling like the page isn’t spilling over, keeping the page within itself. I think a border also acts as a frame. Much as we frame art on our walls, we like frames on art in our journals.

Art journal techniques from Kass Hall |
Example of adding shadows

2. Shadows: Adding shadows–be they subtle gray shadows or bright colored outlines–gives your page a feeling of dimension without actually adding texture to your page (I’ll get to that in a moment). Shadows are often cast from a particular direction and have some consistency. Gray markers such as Copic or Faber-Castel PITT brush pens are invaluable for this.

Art journaling ideas from Kass Hall |
Example of using black and white details in an art journal

3. Black and white gel pens: Adding black and white pen marks will really lift your page. White marks draw the eye in. Black pens draw the colors around it to the eye. Each has a purpose. When used to add small, intricate details and lines, they can be a game changer.

Art journal tips from Kass Hall |
The “before” and “after” of using stamps for art journaling

4. Adding stamps: When this page was first created, I decided to keep it black and white (and gray of course) with just a little bit of red. But it was lacking something, and I knew some stamps would be what was needed. However, instead of pulling out a red pen or marker, I thought I’d collage stamped images in red and black. The difference is clear, and what was an unexpected but pleasant surprise was how the stamping ink and the paint markers interacted with each other. Look closely: Some of those images look almost three dimensional. I couldn’t have created that look without the stamps.

Art journaling techniques from Kass Hall |
Art journal detail showing texture

5. Texture: For those of you who like the tactile nature of art, you can use certain supplies to bring texture and dimension to your journal pages. You might like to use collage or handmade papers, or perhaps dimensional gloss products. Another great product for creating dimension is light modeling paste (I use Golden, but there are other brands); you can apply it right over your stencils (as I did), then lift your stencil to get the finished look. You can add paint to it (I used Payne’s Grey paint mixed with the texture paste). I recommend leaving it overnight to fully dry, and it’s a great way of adding texture to your page without being so thick you can’t get your journal closed. ~Kass

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