Art journaling is a way of life for the Journal Fodder Junkies (also known as authors Eric M. Scott and David R. Modler). Here they share mixed media, watercolor painting and colored pencil techniques that are super easy but that will bring big impact to your art journal pages. Add in a little color theory refresher and some inspiring sample art journal pages created by the authors themselves and your mind will be positively buzzing with all the fabulous art journal ideas you’ll want to try. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!
(This page is the companion page to the book Journal Fodder 365 and the tutorials included here are labelled according their corresponding chapters in that book.)
PAINTING: HARD EDGES, TONAL CHANGES AND MARK MAKING
By using watercolor pencil, you can quickly add additional color to your pages. You can use it to explore line, but you can also add a variety of marks, shapes, textures and areas of color. If you decide to use watercolor pencil to draw in some of your lines, you can use plain water to create interesting painterly effects. Specifically, experiment with creating hard edges and value change.
STEP 1: Choose a color. It might be your favorite color, it might be a color that you associate with a certain memory or person, or it might be a completely random color. Draw your lines onto your page dividing it into several large shapes.
STEP 3: Use clean water to paint over the watercolor pencil, spreading the color across a large section of the page. Be careful with how you paint the water and pay attention to keeping that crisp edge.
STEP 4: To fade the value of the color, dip your brush into more water. You might want to swirl your brush around to clean out any pigment. Paint more water onto the page, moving away from the pigmented areas. Work quickly so the pigment doesn’t have time to dry.
COLLAGE: RANDOM JUXTAPOSITIONS
It is often felt that the collage elements you include in the visual journal have to be personally relevant and meaningful and that the placement has to be carefully calculated, but spontaneous acts of collage can have intriguing results. Focus on randomly gluing in images, colored papers, and other fodder you have collected. Allow two or more unrelated images to stand together on a page. Place things not according to rules of composition or personal narrative but because they feel right or perhaps for no particular reason at all. You may decide to glue different things to a bunch of pages to begin the juxtaposition process throughout the journal.The collage elements begin to make unconscious connections to the other elements on the pages to which they are glued. These random juxtapositions start to create their own meanings—meanings that you could never predetermine or plan. As you add and layer, these meanings will deepen or even change, bringing an unforeseen perspective to your journaling process.
STEP 1: Paint onto your page with a layer of light colored watercolor paint and using any technique you desire. (Here we scraped through a layer of watercolor with a paint scraper while the wash was still wet.) Allow the paint to dry completely.
STEP 2: Apply some watercolor pencil—something a little darker than the watercolor already on the page. Brush it out with clean water, and allow it to dry.
STEP 3: Add a third color of watercolor pencil, and activate it with water or with some other water-based material. Here we used water-soluble marker. Allow it to dry.
STEP 4: Paint in some contrasting watercolor paint using any technique you wish. (We used a simple wash.) Allow it to dry. You can keep layering in this way to develop a rich look.
PAINTING: MIXING AND BLENDING WATERCOLOR PENCIL
STEP 1: Choose a watercolor pencil, and apply it to the page. Lighten up on your pressure so that the value of the pencil changes from dark to light.
STEP 2: Choose another watercolor pencil, and apply it in the same manner. But work back toward the first color so that the colors now overlap.
STEP 3: Brush water over the watercolor pencil, beginning in the middle of the two colors and working toward the lighter color. Rinse out your brush, and beginning in the middle again, brush water over the other color. Rinse out the brush and allow it to dry slightly. Blend the two colors together a bit more.
TIP: Be careful to not over blend. You want the effect to be that one color gradually changes into the other color. Over blending will muddy both your colors.
PAINTING: STAMPING WITH STRING
We can get in a rut with our painting as we gravitate to the same kinds of tools, materials and methods. There are, of course, many other ways to transfer the pigment from the pan or palette into the pages of your journal. Stamping with string can give you an interesting and spontaneous starting point for pages, especially while you are thinking conceptually about the veins or arteries of a body or the roads and highways of a map and how these pathways can synthesize the content of your images and text.
STEP 1: Create a large pool of paint in a palette, and place a long piece of string into it so that it soaks up the paint. You can alternatively paint the string. Just make sure that the string is saturated with paint. Carefully place string on paper.
STEP 2: Press gently on string with fingertips or fingernail. Be careful that the string doesn’t move or stick to your finger. Work along the entire length of the string gently pressing as you go. Carefully remove the string.
PAINTING: BLOWING PAINT
As you experiment with paint, don’t let your doubt block you from pushing your boundaries. Fully utilize the fluidity and unpredictability of the paint as a viable and valuable application. Don’t be afraid to make a mess or lose control over the painting process. Let the medium take off in multiple directions, take on a variety of linear qualities, and move through random or chaotic paths. Free yourself to witness the interaction of the color instead of trying to dictate the end result. Let go of the control.
STEP 1: Drip a puddle of paint onto paper using an eyedropper or paintbrush.
STEP 2: Use a straw to blow on the paint. Blow hard to create multiple paths.
STEP 3: “Chase” a drop of paint around the page.
STEP 4: Repeat steps 1 through 3 with another color and allow the colors to run together.
SPRAY BOTTLE PAINTING
STEP 1: Drip paint onto the page.
STEP 2: Spray the page a couple of times with a spray bottle filled with water.
STEP 3: Drip another color of paint onto the page with a brush.
STEP 4: Spray with water again, and then allow the page to dry.
Because of its association with moods and emotions, color is an obvious way to add meaningful visual elements. Be thoughtful and deliberate as you use color this month. What are the symbolic meanings of the colors that you use? What messages are you expressing through your choice of color? Are there colors that best represent you, your feelings, or your dreams?
Artists work with color schemes to give their work a sense of unity and to strengthen the visual message. Your choice of colors helps you express the real intention behind your words and images and allows you to be more thoughtful and to avoid random or odd mixtures of colors. Explore your color schemes to find the combinations that fit your intention.
These guys sure are prolific! In addition to having so many more techniques than we could fit into print, there are dozens (maybe even hundreds!) of fabulous, rich and meaningful journal pages that we would have liked to include in the book but that, unfortunately, we could not. But we still think you’d enjoy seeing them, so here are a few of our favorites. How many different techniques and which techniques were used in the creation of each of these pages?
And finally, a few shots of the authors at play in our studio. We should all have so much fun at work!
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