This video is the first in a series on keeping a stay at home travel journal because just because we are not traveling these days doesn’t mean that we can’t keep a creative, cool record of our days, especially these crazy days. I want to start by talking about supplies, the tools that I carry with me to work on my illustrated journals, on the road and at home.
When I first discovered illustrated journal keeping I was told that the first, number one rule was – never go anywhere without your portable art kit on you. If you do this, if you are ready to work at any time. I am rarely without my supplies which means I can make pages in coffee shops, dr’s offices, parks, wherever I find myself. So let me introduce you to my portable art studio.
- Waterbrushes (I use Pentel)
- Variety of fineliner pens
- White gel pen
- Bamboo dip pen
- Scissors (mine are Cutter Bee)
- Pencil sharpener
- Portable watercolour kit
- Bag with pockets
Here are the links to some of the items I rely on. Note, I am not paid by any of these companies.
LIHIT Lab bags
Gallo Watercolour kit
Derwent Inktense Sticks
Basically, this is my semi-regular reminder that keeping a journal can change your life. Now more than ever I rely on a handwritten diary to give my life context. It’s partly the virus and the way we live now. Partly my fears and confusion about aging and what I mean to do with what’s left of my life. Partly trying to figure out the best way to use my creative ability to make the world a better place. Identity. Infinity. Vocation. Vision. Regret. To be honest, I don’t see how anybody figures this stuff out – or even makes a stab at it – without a written journal.
These are painful days, and writing out your pain and fear and rage is powerful. It can also be terrifying – some of us are just managing to Hold It All Together by squinching our psychic eyes shut and I understand: admitting this pain (and anger and feelings of helplessness) could be taking a hammer to the dam in our spirits – the one that is holding back despair. Or. It can be a tool. As the earth seems to crumble under you, your writing can be a rope that [read more]
Hello there. Today I have some truly gorgeous downloads of some Tudor queens and other badass female royals to use in your journal pages, collage, or other mixed media work. You need these. Please be inspired by their attitudes and their outfits, then if you like, click for a larger image, copy, and off you go. Let me know what you make with these and as always, just get in touch if you have any [read more]
Please join me for lots of layers, paper scraps, water soluble techniques, blending, smudging, colour, and some tips on composition as we go through the process of creating an art journal page.
My art journal is where I can do anything I want. I don’t have to ask if it will sell or even express my Greatest Creative Vision. It is just for the heck of it and it is a great joy to just play around with bits of whatever. And stuff. Today I am going to explain some of the whys and ways I choose what goes on a page and what comes after that.
While almost everything on this page is from the scrap pile, I do use Derwent Chunky Graphite Sticks to pull it together at the end. (I use these A LOT.) You can find them here:
I also use a Caran d’Ache Technalo watersoluble graphite pencil. See them here:
Please subscribe to my online newsletter (on any blog page here) to receive a twice monthly missive with free tutorials, downloads, pep talks, and other whatnot in your inbox. Feel free to leave me a comment or let me know if you have any questions I [read more]
Recently I showed some mark making techniques for our art journal pages and mixed media work and to make it clearer and easier, I used misters to deliver the ink without explaining about them and a lot of you said, hey wait, what is a mister anyway? Basically it is nothing more than a small spray bottle. When filled with pigment, it is a versatile tool for getting your colour into your mixed media and art journal projects. I keep several with a variety of colours and intensities both for starting and for embellishing pages. This video should make things clearer.
You can buy them premade or you can make your own, and in that way choose your palette. Ranger has a line of mini-misters. They are in most craft stores and you can also order them online here and also here. Another (and cheaper) option is to just use spray bottles, the size used for getting your liquids past airline security. You find at any supermarket, online, in Poundland or the Dollar Store, or in any chemist or big box store. They are inexpensive and should last for ages.
Usually I use ink but they may [read more]
Okay, fine, let’s talk about that blank page anxiety. Again. Look, you have enough to be anxious about without worrying whether that white page in your journal or diary is glaring at you, daring you to write or work on it. People, this will not do. Instead, today we are going to look at a variety of mark making techniques that will jumpstart your creative engines by making a nice, grungy, comfortable, welcoming space to create on.
I keep a special tea cup dedicated to this technique alone. You can make messy circles using gesso. Or Ink. I like to combine a bit of colour to gesso. This makes a viscous medium that looks like chalk paint and also has remarkable depth. Add circles sparingly or go crazy and make bold patterns.
Drizzle or pour a small amount of liquid pigment – I am using my handmade walnut ink but you can use watercolours or acrylic thinned with water. Improvise. Smoosh it about on the page, then gently blot. You can now use this image as a messy, happy background, or you can draw into it, letting the blot tell you what it is meant to be. Alternatively, you can use [read more]
I don’t know about you but I am feeling on the lost side of things these days, dazed and confused. So what do you say we make a handmade map? If you keep journal pages you can add a map there and then you’ll know where you are. When this mess is all over, you can look at it and know that this is where you were. It’s fun, it’s simple, it is an easy way to feel as though you are making order out of chaos and that is really therapeutic right now. Also, it’s not fattening. So let’s go.
You don’t have to draw well to be a good cartographer of your life. Yes, you could do a fancier job but if you wait, you might not get around to doing it. (Sound familiar?) Hand drawn maps have a special charm and immediate quality and a diagram of your neighbourhood is a powerful tool for storytelling and memory keeping. (One of my most cherished maps is one I made of the walk I took every single day for years with my dog: it was so ordinary but now that my animal friend is gone, I can [read more]
After last fall’s holiday I was cleaning out my bags and all of the bits of papers and crumbs and whatnot that end up there. (You know the ones I mean.) One of them was where my friend and I made a list of our expenses (road tolls and fancy wine, museum tickets and postcards:, petrol, t-shirts, cut flowers, fountain pen ink, maps – all of the things that we spent as we went, and then divvied up over a cup of coffee at the end of the day. As I was about to put this half a page of paper into the get-rid-of pile, I realised something. This fragment brought back vivid memories of that time together, of an afternoon of my life over coffee I would have forgotten. And that is what a list can be.
Adding a list to your written diary or illustrated journal captures day-to-day details that define your life and this time, anchoring a page in your sketchbook or diary, a snapshot of where you are and what you are doing, and when you find it again in a year or five or seventeen or your grandkids are going through your stuff [read more]
I have heard from several people this week, in different degrees of anxiety, say that they want to – they need to – start a diary or journal but their fear of the blank page has only increased during these strange days. Well people, this will not do. In addition to being the record you need to be keeping of what is happening, keeping a journal is cheap therapy that can make a difference.
So. Here is a short video tutorial showing ways to knock this blank page fear thing out of the park. You are going to deliberately, on purposely get your pages dirty. Well, not dirty, but you are going to stain them with a variety of elements so that you will have a nice, grungy, comfortable, welcoming paper to begin with. Turn the idea of order out of chaos on its head and instead make chaos out of order, then play with it.
Drizzle tea. Dab coffee. Spritz ink. Splatter paint. Doodle, then scribble, then doodle some more. Make a grid and fill it with notes in the form of teensy images. But no excuses.
Using an ink wash is a fun and easy way to add interest to your illustrated journal or art journal pages. It is especially handy way to start a page if you are not confident in your drawing as it is by its nature a messy look. (“See? I meant it to look like that.”)
In this short video, you can see how the technique can be done with pen and ink as well as other water soluble materials. Let me know if you have any [read more]