My art journal is my refuge, my safe zone, and my playground. But I can easily get into a rut, using the same colors, techniques, and tools. When I need to shake things up, I turn to my art journaling heroes, who never fail to fill my head with fun new ideas that are just what I need to get that creative spark back. One resource I love is Art Journaling Live 1, a video workshop featuring four top artists that is so packed with techniques it’s like an encyclopedia of art journaling.
The video includes four classes featuring Pam Carriker, Dina Wakley, Julie Fei-Fan Balzer, and Traci Bautista, who were filmed live at an all-day workshop. Quite a lineup, yes? Each artist instructor offers her take unique take on art journaling, offering tips, techniques, and detailed instructions for painting, stenciling, creating layers, adding collage, and more. I don’t have a favorite, because they’re all amazing, but recently I decided to incorporate some of Traci Bautista’s printmaking techniques for art journaling, because she always blows me away with her ingenuity and unconstrained, organic artistic style.
To start, I brushed a coat of gesso over a spread in my art journal; this is a trick I learned from Dina, and it has served me well. Gesso provides a fantastic painting surface, and it’s also easy to remove paint if you want to change or remove something. The first of Traci’s techniques that I went for was creating stamps from craft foam. I love carving my own stamps, but that process can take a while, and I love the immediacy of using craft foam. Using a skewer I drew some simple shapes on the foam, then carved patterns into the foam with both ends of the skewer and a pen cap.
A thin coat of acrylic paint was applied to the stamp with a foam brush, and the stamp was pressed onto the page. Another of Traci’s suggestions is to use a brayer to get a good impression, and that worked incredibly well.
I stamped the shapes several times, creating a flower and some designs.
This next technique had my jaw on the floor when I first saw it. First, cut an image from plastic needlepoint canvas. I created an X shape to balance the curved stamp images. Next, clean one of your foam brushes on a paper towel, getting it nice and painty. Lay the paper towel on the page, place the canvas shape on top, and brayer the shape.
Look. At. That. But wait—we’re not done.
You can also use the canvas shape as a stencil. Simply place it on the page and spritz some spray ink over it.
Lift it up, and you have another pattern, one that looks completely different.
These techniques don’t even scratch the surface of what’s packed into this video. I snuck in another one of Dina’s techniques: removing paint through a stencil, using a baby wipe, to create a negative stencil image. Just brilliant, and it provides an incredible layered effect.
I continued to work in my journal—I should say play, actually—until I got the spread to where I liked it. I did more stamping with the canvas, created another stamped image, and added some painted collage papers, a black marker, and a white paint pen. If you come to a stage where you don’t like your spread, don’t worry—that’s perfectly normal and sometimes part of the process. The nice thing about this video is that you’ll get ideas for pulling out of that stage, and for moving forward.
I decided to put my art journal away for a day. This allowed me to look at the spread with fresh eyes, and I decided to add two more elements. I created more foam stamps, but this time I cut plain X and O shapes that echoed the other designs I had made. Traci shows you exactly how to do this. I also added writing to the page about creativity.
Traci says she sometimes goes back to her pages years later, and I love her philosophy that art journal pages can be fluid and changed up whenever the mood strikes. If you’ve just started art journaling, I strongly encourage you to add this video to your library. And if you’ve been journaling for a while, but are looking for some great inspiration, this is exactly what you need. You can follow along with the instructors, who are so welcoming and encouraging, and work at your own pace.
You’ll be amazed at how this Art Journaling Live video and the techniques you’ll learn will make you a better and more confident artist and help you develop your unique style. Because you and I are never about cookie cutter art. Best of all—you’ll have fun. I’m still walking on air, and I can’t wait for my next art journaling opportunity.