Studio Saturdays: Making art journaling come alive

After taking a drawing class recently I’m thrilled that I’m able to draw things that actually look like the things I’m drawing. So I’m starting to fill sketchbooks with pencil sketches, usually on the fly at coffee shops and in the park, to continue to hone my skills.


Mixed-media art journal page
Combining sketching and art journaling works perfectly for me!

As much fun as I’m having and as much as I’m learning, I have to confess—those pencil sketches get a tad boring after a while. I knew my mixed-media heart needed something more.

That’s when I realized that I could combine sketching with art journaling—shake things up a bit, mix up my media. That’s the great thing about art journaling. You can use any materials, supplies, mediums, and it’s okay. Draw, collage, write—no one’s going to judge or tell you you can’t do something. It’s 100 percent yours, so knock yourself out.

I got out my large art journal and, instead of starting with the usual blank page, I created a background by adhering random pieces of text paper and vintage sheet music with a glue stick. I did a few pages in the journal this way so I’d have them ready to go when the muse was in town.

Background pages
Art journal backgrounds with vintage text and music pages.

I painted over the papers with white heavy-body acrylic paint, going for two layers to  leave just a hint of the text beneath. The paint added a bit of texture, which I liked.

Painting over background pages
Just a hint of the text is left after painting.

Since the weather just started warming up where I am I decided to go spring-y and draw a still life of strawberries and tulips, starting first in pencil. I drew over the pencil with a black waterproof pen to make the sketch stand out.

Art journal sketch
Phase one: the sketch

Now it was time to ramp things up. I added color with Derwent Inktense pencils, activating the rich pigments with a water brush. I began to see my sketches start to transform, and I started getting really happy.

Watercolor art journal sketch
Phase two: adding color

When the watercolor dried I stenciled a random lace pattern on the background with acrylic paint, then added collage elements: a teacup cut from book text, some ephemera, and a doily print I had made a couple of weeks earlier. I used a Stabilo All pencil to add shadows and depth. I threw in some journaling and called it done. Or not.

Mixed-media art journal page
Phase three: mixed media!

I might go back to the page at some point and add other elements. It’s my call. It’s my journal. And I love that through working in my art journal, my sketches are no longer boring. They’ve come alive.

I can take credit for my sketches, but I learned all of the mixed-media techniques I used from the incredibly talented artists who have written books and articles and done videos on art journaling, all to make sure you have a great experience working in your journal.

Make today your Studio Saturday: Art Journal Edition. Check out these great resources, and make your art journal come alive!

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Art Journaling LIVEComplete Collection Start Journaling
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