A New Blog Series by Tammy Garcia
Get More You into Your Art Journal Pages
Gather your art journals from the past year, brew a cup of tea and find a comfy spot to work. Look at the pages one by one, observing the separate components. The ingredients might include magazine clippings, acrylic paint and photographs. The idea is not to evaluate or critique your design or composition but to take an objective look at your work and the raw materials that you use to build your pages.
How do you feel when you look through your pages?
Looking through my altered books and art journal pages, I find a vivid, worn-edged, eclectic collection of shapes and sizes, a mixture of bound and loose pages. The pages escort me down winding paths into pockets of my life. My collection of art journal pages feels warm and familiar, like old blue jeans. I see little bits of ME on my pages.
10 Ways to Get More You into Your Art Journal Pages
1. Journal by hand, to document your handwriting.
2. Include lyrics and quotes that matter to you. I’ve used lyrics from songs by The Cranberries and Simon & Garfunkel on my art journal pages.
3. Use whatever color combinations you like. Lately I’m into blues and whites, and I layer them in all sorts of messy ways. You don’t need to use triads of tertiary colors or color palettes from a book. Just reach for the colors you feel like using!
4. Carve your own stamps with patterns like circles and dots and symbols. Stamp these unique repeating patterns on your art journal pages. I’ve cut stamps with diamonds, hearts, circles and little rainbows galore!
5. Include lists and notes relevant to your life. There’s a journal page with all of the plants in our garden and a page where I’ve glued grocery lists.
6. Create your own collage fodder and make extras so that you can trade fodder with other art journalists. For example, you can use fluid acrylics to paint abstract patterns and then cut them up to use as collage elements on your art journal pages. When I see a block of pastel orange paper on my page, I don’t just see the paper, but I remember the day I stood at the kitchen counter and painted the paper with acrylics and a brayer.
7. Use ephemera from every day life. Glue your latest bookstore receipt into your journal to document the books that interest you at this point in time. Anything that you can glue, staple or tie onto your page is fair game, from a ticket stub to a dried tea bag.
8. Use photographs from your life, your garden and your travels. I’ve included a train ticket from Ghent on a journal page and a cute photo of my favorite turquoise flip flops on another.
9. Tell your stories. Document moments in time. Write about what has sparked your curiosity, what you’ve been researching relentlessly.
10. Draw and doodle on your journal pages. Use patterns and symbols that you find intriguing.
Let your art journal be whatever you want or need it to be. Sometimes I use my journal pages to capture memories, little unstructured glimpses into my life at this moment.
Tammy Garcia is a mixed media artist who writes about bringing creativity into your life, one line, one stitch, one photograph, one drip of paint at a time. Tammy draws elaborate doodles, sews paper, snaps photographs, works in her art journals and blogs at Daisy Yellow.
For more art journal inspiration, check out Art Journal Freedom by Dina Wakley.
MORE RESOURCES FOR MIXED MEDIA ARTISTS