Over the past day or so, I’ve done some work on my journal and have pages 4 to 7 mostly complete. I’ve included lots of pockets to slip paper or artwork or other surprises into. I’ve also used some artwork I created as ephemera and embellishments.
Page 4 – top left.
This page has three pockets. One made by adhering two pages together, with a thumb notch punched out. Another is made from a sheet of tracing paper. The third is behind one of my signature entangled drawings; it’s a fairly secret pocket, unless I add something that peeks out from it.
I coloured the reverse of the drawing with Distress Inks as I didn’t know how they’d react with the pen drawing. Then, I adhered the tracing paper to some old book paper, and then adhered this to the tracing paper pocket, applying glue along three sides to create the pocket.
Once the glue was dry, I added some zentangle style patterns to the tissue paper pocket, just for fun. I used one of the Chameleon Fineliner pens to do this, using a colour that went well with the colours I’d used to ink the paper.
Page 5 – bottom left.
Page 5 is a little bit bigger than half the width of a page. I folded up the bottom of the page and adhered it along the edges to make a tuck-in. I punched out the thumb notch with a circle paper punch.
I decorated the tuck in with flower art at that I created myself. I also added some zentangle style patterns in between the flowers. I used Chameleon Fineliner pens, this time using a red and orange to get a gradient.
Page 6 – top right.
Again, a page that is a little more than half the width.
The drawing was done in gold ink on tracing paper. I used Distress Oxide inks to colour the reverse of the tracing paper before adhering it to some old book paper. The text and diagrams on the book page shows through faintly, as it does with the drawing on page 5.
Page 7 – bottom right.
This page just has a flower painting I created along with old book paper that have been collaged onto the journal page.
You can see the thumb notch on the edge of the page, showing I created a pocket by adhering two pages in the journal together.
None of the pages are fully completed. I’d like to add quotes or meaningful words or phrases. Some pages have gaps where I can add ephemera or pockets and so on. There’s certainly many spaces on the pages where I can draw patterns and designs.
I’m going to let the pages rest for a while as I turn my attention to other things today.
I’ve been feeling a bit ‘off’ or ‘meh’ in the last couple or so days. I’m finding it hard to settle to work of any kind. That I’ve been able to focus on getting some little bits and bobs done for the journal shows I’m feeling a bit more focused than of late.
On waking this morning, I wanted to work on the cover of my journal.
Yesterday evening, I managed to get a coat of gesso on to the cover and painted edge closest to the wire binding with gold. In hindsight, that may not have been the best idea.
I knew I wanted to use my silhouette iris drawing on the cover. Irises are my favourite flowers. Also, my aim for my journal is to use my own art as much as possible.
So, I printed out an arrangement of three irises, tore them out and coloured the paper with Distress Inks.
For the background, I used a piece of Claire Fontaine mixed media paper. I coloured it with Distress Inks – Old Paper, Tea Dye, a touch of Iced Spruce and a dusting of Vintage Photo around the edges and here and there on the main sheet.
This I adhered to the cover. I’d cut it narrower than the cover so that I didn’t have to butt it up against the wire binding. That’s why I wanted a gold border there.
Anyway, I decided to put some old book paper behind the irises. I added some ink to the edges of this paper too. I then glued them in place, along with the flowers.
I drew a border around this page with a copper-coloured Sakura Metallic gelly roll pen. Then, I used a gold glitter Uniball Signo pen to fill the background with tiny spirals.
I wanted to add the definition of ‘journal’ to the front cover. So, I did the typography in Affinity Publisher and printed it. After tearing the meaning out, I used Old Paper and Tea Dye Distress Inks to colour the paper, followed by Vintage Photo to ink the edge.
I then glued this to an old book page, tore that out and edged the paper with ink once again.
Before adhering the page to the cover, edged the paper with Ground Espresso Distress Ink as I didn’t think the edge was dark enough. I also coloured the edge of the journal cover with the same ink to hide the white.
An application of Distress Micro-glaze to seal the page and I could stick it to the cover.
I love the subtle sparkle of the spiral pattern on the cover. The micro-glaze picked up some of the fine glitter. It also makes the cover sheet feel very smooth.
I’m not happy with the gold edge to the journal, but I will, no doubt, find a way to make it look much better. Otherwise, I’m quite happy with the cover. I think it needs something else there, but I’ll work out what that is in the fullness of time.
The first three pages.
Page 1 I’ve shown before, and it’s now complete (apart from me adding journaling to the envelopes and other spaces.)
On page 2, I’ve added an experiment I did with Tombow Dual Brush Pens and a blender pen to draw designs on paper. I have some ATC cards coloured in the same blues/purples as the background of this page, so I’ll be finding a way to display them on the page when I’ve finished them.
Page 3 is a tiered series of simple pockets. I made them by tearing the paper of each page and layering them to create the pockets. The inserts are pieces of Claire Fontaine Mixed media paper that have been coloured in the same colours of Distress Inks as the pockets have been. I used Distress Oxide Inks for the pockets.
I’m not really sure what I’m going to do with the third page, yet. It will come to me, I’m sure!
I thought that I’d use Adobe Spark to make a short video rather than posting a montage of photos. I uploaded it to my channel on youtube so I could share it via social media more easily.
Adobe Spark is straightforward to use, and it does have a free option, though I pay about £10 per month for it. It makes creating simple content for social media really easy.
How am I feeling
I’m feeling much better today. The headache and light-headed/dizzy/drowsy feelings were with me for the whole day, including upset tummy and digestive system. I had weird pains in my right eye too. I slept a lot during the day, and just took it easy when I was awake. I wanted to crochet in the evening but found it hard to do even something familiar to me.
My digestive system is still uncomfortable and not quite right today, and I’m now beginning to feel rather tired. Like I’ve already done too much today. So, I’m going to be taking it easy for the rest of the day.
Yesterday I got lost in finishing the first page in my new A5 journal. I’ve put together three photos that show how the page looks as the tags are folded in and as each is opened out.
Every image, pattern, coloured paper, inchie, panel, envelope and tag have been made by myself. Drawing and colouring my own bits of ephemera and the pattern on the page background tool quite a bit of time, but it’s my own work.
I could’ve chosen to use paper from old books, commercially produced designer series paper or digital downloads. Those would’ve saved a lot of time, for sure. The end result would have been my own way of using them. However, I got a lot of pleasure, contentment, peace and calm from creating my own.
I made a note along the edge of the page showing which Distress Oxide inks I’d used to colour the page so that I could use the same for the other elements. Well, mostly the same Distress Ink colours; I did vary them in other places. However, this resulted in a coherent feel to this page – it feels like everything there belongs there!
I also noted on the background what pens I’d used to add the zentangle-style pattern. I then used Distress Inks and a brush and water to bring out that pattern.
Yes, I realise I could’ve used stamps, embossing ink and embossing powder to do something similar. I didn’t want to. I wanted my own, personal touch to this.
I really like how little pretties are hidden behind the tags and only get fully revealed as they are opened. The same is true for the items tucked in the pockets on the backs of the tags. I will replace the pieces of paper with journaling paper or other things as time goes on.
I may very well add danglies to the tops of the tags, possibly little tabs on their sides to help open them.
I’m quietly pleased with this page. It is very much “Angela” in style and feel. I’m feeling a bit more confident about this now, and I’m sure that I will really develop my own style as I go forward.
I really got a a sense of satisfaction and pleasure from creating every little element for this page. When I had it finished (mostly) I knew I’d worked out just how I want to create art journals going forward.
What I do need to remind myself, however, is that I can add to them when I want to – they’re not a full time project. What I could do is combine journaling with them, especially if I include elements that are specifically for journaling.
I do have some other bits and bobs to try making for the journal – little booklets, decorated paper-clips, tabbed cards to fit in pockets (or tabbed booklets, maybe). I certainly want to add quotes, notes, memories and more. And I think I need to work on my hand lettering to do such things as well.
I do plan to build up a library of digital designs I can use for inchies, twinchies, tea-cards, ATCs, panels, quotes, and more. Also, blank ‘templates’ for them, maybe.
Perhaps I should scan the backgrounds in before I add to them so I can use them in my digital art too. I shall think about that going forward. For this page, I really wasn’t sure if my idea of adding the pattern would work. I was pleased it did, I really am. I’m sure to do similar things with the following pages, and now I know what I do like, I can always replicate the background on this particular page, and the notes of which Distress Oxide Inks I used will help me in doing this for sure.
For the rest of today, however, I will be mostly doing other art rather than working on my art journal. I do have some coloring book projects that need some serious attention for starters.
I’ve become a bit obsessed with making art journal bits and bobs over the last couple of days. This morning has been no exception, other than the more I do and watch, the more ideas that come to me.
Yesterday, I created some blank, printable, templates for inchies, twinches and tea cards. I printed them out on plain paper so I could draw in them. I also made a list of themes I could tackle for them too.
I spent an hour or two filling in a sheet of inches with various designs. Then, I printed them on plain paper and also vellum for calligraphy. The vellum has a rough texture, interesting colours and subtle patterns in them. I have a laser printer, so wasn’t sure if it would print on the vellum; it did, however the print does come off if I’m a bit rough with it.
Nevertheless, I coloured some of the inches with Distress Inks and then adhered them to some 1″ tiles of thick chipboard card. I edged them with tresure gold wax from Imagination Crafts. Then, I gently applied a thin layer of Ranger’s gloss multi-media medium, to see if it would seal the laser printing; it did! It also brought out the colours of the Distress Inks.
These are simple enough to make. There are plenty of tutorials online for them. I made them from ordinary printer paper, then coloured them with Distress Inks.
Next, I added some dot embellishments using a small ball tool with Imagination Crafts’ Starlights metallic paint in rich gold. This is a beautiful, glittery, shiny paint that leaves some dimension when applied this way.
Finally, I adhered the inchies I’d made, along with some vintage book paper, to the envelopes.
I’m not sure if these envelopes are finished. I do want to use them to store either journaling notes in, or little pieces of art or mementos in them.
I haven’t been at all sure about tags and using them. However, I thought I’d see what I could do with them after yesterday’s mucking about with a tri-fold tag that turned into one single tag.
I wanted to make some templates for cutting the corners at the top of the tags, so I did that, using various widths of paper and slopes to remove the top corners.
I then realised I needed something to store them in, so I made an envelope for them.
The envelope has a more rectangular top flap and a plain front, perfect for embellishments.
Something occurred to me this morning while watching someone make tags using background paper. I thought that I could use my colouring sheets and entangled designs as my own background paper. So, I thought I’d try to use some.
I found some old designs on my computer and printed a couple of them both as the black line originals and with a grey line.
I made a tag and cut out a piece of one of the designs. I coloured the design with Distress Inks and used them to subtly colour the tag.
I didn’t like the way the neatly cut out background pattern looked when I placed it on the tag. So, I tore the edges. I still wasn’t happy, so I tried tearing it into strips. That looked better, but I still wasn’t happy with it, but I stuck the pieces down.
I used a gold glitter gel pen to add lines and patterns between the torn pieces, which created some pattern and interest.
Finally, I added a distress ink coloured belly band along with a word, “creativity” to the tag. For now, I tucked one of the seed packets behind the belly band.
The background drawing may be just too busy, detailed, and varied to work well. I need to bear this in mind going forward.
I am keeping notes of how I make tags, pockets, and other bits and bobs in an A5 dot grid notebook, along with ideas for other things to do or try. It’s turning out to be rather useful as a reference.
I’m struggling with accepting that what I’m creating for my art journal is “good enough”, “attractive enough”, “pretty”. It’s not like others I’ve seen, which is part of my problem.
I seem to like, mostly, neat edges, borders on work, very organised, neat, and carefully, geometrically arranged elements in my designs. I know I want to use my own artwork to create a journal, but I’m not sure it’s going to be successful in any kind of way. I have no idea if I’m on a wild goose chase.
I know I enjoy making these bits and bobs, I just don’t know if the overall end products actually work, so I’m doubting myself. I’m not sure I like what I’m creating. I mean, I really like individual elements such as the inchies and little panels on the envelopes. It’s when I start to actually combine them or put them into a journal that it all seems to go more than a bit skew-iffy.
I’m at that uncomfortable place I often find myself in when I’m creating a mandala or drawing or digital painting; partway through I want to give up as I think that what I’m creating is awful and not working. With the mandalas, drawings and digital art, I’ve learned to work through that point and, mostly, to complete the work. I’ve learned by experience and perseverance that I can produce art I’m happy with.
I’m not at all sure of that with this art journal type stuff. I’m not sure at all if I can find my own creative ‘voice’ with this, or whether I have to accept that as much as I’d like it to be one of my ‘things’ it’s not meant to be and that I can continue to watch and admire others for what they create.
Maybe, I’ll end up making digital elements for journals for others to use in their creations. Maybe, I’ll find that collections of inchies are my thing (along with twinchies and tea cards and other little designs).
For now, I’ll take a bit of a break from it all, and come back to it with fresh eyes and a fresh mind.
I had an idea that I can use the little drawings I like to do as ephemera and embellishments and focal points in my art journal, rather than using ephemera from other sources like books, printables, and so on. I’m sure I’ll find more uses for them if I persevere with this project.
So, back to the tri-fold tag. It was my plan to make such a tag for my art journal. However, as usual, my plans often take a slightly different route!
I started by working out the size of tri-fold tag I wanted to make – to fit an A5 sized art journal.
I settled on a piece of mixed media paper cut down to 11.5″ x 7″, which I scored at 3.75″, 4″, 7.75″ and 8″ to create the three tags joined by hinges. I cut the top corners off each tag panel.
I coloured the front and back of the paper using Distress Oxide inks and sprayed water to distress the surface more. Then, I used vintage photo Distress ink to edge all the sides and folds to frame the panels .
I’d chosen colours that would go with some ATC s I was drawing last night while attending a webinair and listening to the speakers. However, the Distress Oxide inks resulted in a much brighter colour and I really wasn’t happy with the result. I will use this panel to use as a reference in future, not so much for sizes but for ideas for pockets and panels and envelopes and so on.
So, I started again. I used Distress Oxide inks, but this time I used tea dye and vintage photo, applying them as lightly as I could. I also coloured some copier paper using the same colours in Distress Inks, with a hint of rusty hinge added to the mix.
I was much happier with the colours this time around.
I liked the idea of using a ‘belly band’ with little envelopes tucked into it. So, I used 5″ square pieces of the coloured copier paper to make some little envelopes (2.5″ x 3″). Two of these would fit neatly on one of the panels. So, I made a 0.75″ x 7″ belly band, and coloured it with the same inks as the panels. I applied thin beads of glue to the ends and centre of the belly band and then adhered it to the panel, off-set to the right of the centre line.
When the glue dried, I had two sections that would hold one envelope each.
My next job was to rummage through my stash of coloured papers to find ones that would go together and were sympathetic with the background.
I drew some panels to add to the envelopes and also the space between them. I backed the panels with vintage book paper. Then, I hand lettered some words on a piece of coloured copier paper. I chose ‘Journal’ and ‘Reflect’ from the selection, cut them out. I used both vintage book paper and a piece of coloured paper behind them to make labels that I attached to the belly band above each envelope.
Finally, for now, I used a gold glitter Signo gel pen by Uniball to add dots and highlights.
It was then that I realised I really wasn’t happy with the tri-fold tag as I’d made it. So, I set about cutting the tags apart so I had three individual tags. I want to join them together in a different way, using hinges of some kind.
But for now, tiredness has caught up with me, as well as the need for some breakfast. So, I will put my project to one side for now and return to it later.
I’m not entirely sure where I’m going with this, not yet anyway. I kind of like what I’ve seen other people do as far as ideas go for pockets, tags, labels, envelopes, pouches and all kinds of ephemera for art journals. However, they’re also not really ‘me’. I’d like to find a way of expressing ‘me’ in an art journal.
The one I have, in an A4 sketchbook is fine, and a perfect place to try things out. But, I’d like to do a smaller art journal that has sturdier, mixed media paper in it.
I do know I want to make use of my own artwork. Today, I drew the designs onto the coloured card. However, I quite like the idea of building up a digital library of my own drawings and designs that I could print out on paper and colour accordingly.
Although I hand lettered the words I used today, part of me isn’t happy with them and wants to create them in Affinity Publisher.
All the paper I start with is bright white in colour. Perhaps I could look at using different papers and colours of paper for future projects.
One other thing I’m doing, is keeping notes and diagrams showing templates and dimensions for various ephemera.
I’m babbling here, now. The early morning and lack of enough sleep last night is really catching up with me now. Time to post this then go get breakfast and more tea!
Yesterday, I said I’d like to make simple pockets for my sketchbook-journal to hold my artwork rather than gluing it to the pages. So, this morning, I started my day looking on YouTube for some ideas and this video by joie de fi was the top of the list.
While I was watching it, I thought I’d make an instruction sheet to go in my sketchbook (or my virtual one I’m making in One Note).
I picked up some quadrille paper and wrote and drew as I watched the method for the first pocket. I worked in ink without pencil sketches and I made quite a few mistakes. A Tipp-Ex mini pocket mouse was my friend.
When I’d finished the instruction sheet, I scanned it in and used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to remove the square grid from the paper, clean up some smudges, and correct minor errors.
Then, I added some colour to help bring out the drawings, but also to help with the instructions.
I’ve yet to make this kind of pocket, but I’m sure I’ll be able to do so quite easily now.
Reflecting on the artwork/illustration
This was a lot of fun for me to do. It’s something I’ve not done much since my days as a science teacher, or a learner in school and university myself. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy creating instruction sheets with my own drawings on them.
Back in those days, I would’ve used a ruler to draw straight lines, pencil for the diagrams, pen for the words, and little or no colour. Here, I free-handed the drawings, wobbly lines and all. The colour also adds life and dimension to the diagrams/drawings/illustrations.
The layout of the instructions may not be the best and easiest to follow through. That’s because I did this as I was watching the first part of the video. I think that for the next one, I need to sketch out the steps and notes first, and then work on organising them more clearly.
Yes, I’m going to do some more instruction sheets like this!
I also really need to do more hand lettering! I’ve lapsed in my writing practice, that’s for sure.
I’ve spent a very enjoyable few hours this morning creating a plethora of gloriously coloured and distressed backgrounds for use with my drawings and art. I will be scanning them in to create digital backgrounds too, but only when I’m going to draw on one. I’d get overwhelmed if I tried to do that task all in one go!
How I created the backgrounds.
The papers I used are all mixed media – either ClaireFontine or Daler-Rowney. They were cut to sizes that would be suitable for mounting on cards. They’re a mixture of the following approximate sizes: 9″ x 3″; 8″ x 2″; 4″ x 4″; 3″ x 5″; 2.5″ x 4.5″; 4.5″ x 2″; 3″ x 4″; 4.5″ x 1.5″ just in case you’re curious.
They are all coloured with Distress Oxide Inks. I only have the first two collections released by Ranger; I do intend to complete the collection in the future.
For some, I used a soft Brayer roller to add the Distress Oxide to a gel printing plate. I then either sprayed water on the plate in a fine spray, or I splattered drops of water colour on to it before pulling the print with a piece of paper.
I tried brayer-ing the Ink directly to paper, but wasn’t all that happy with the results until I sprayed them with water.
My favourite way of adding colour, however, was to use a piece of Cut and Dry foam to add the ink. I tapped the black, denser foam side onto the ink pad and used that to spread the colour around the paper. I then sprayed with water.
Sometimes I’d go back and add another layer of colour, and then spray with water.
I used a heat gun to dry the paper after spraying with water or colour, which helps the distress oxide inks to ‘bleach’.
I’d add some more colour if I thought the background needed it, and then spray again, until I was happy with the end product.
My final task was to frame the backgrounds by adding a black edging. I used a foam finger dauber and black soot Distress Ink to do this, spraying the papers once more to let the edging ‘bleed’ a little.
I’m really happy with most of the backgrounds I’ve made and I’m looking forward to using them to create little pieces of art, and adding to my library of digital backgrounds I can use for my digital art. These are a little small, maybe. However, Now I’ve found out how I like to create a background with the cut and dry foam I’ll be making some A4 sized backgrounds.
Update on my back and other things.
My back is feeling a lot better today. However, I still get stiff all too easily and I still have pain down the sides of my thighs.
My mosaic crochet wrap is coming along – it’s all I’ve been focusing on while my back has been too painful to sit and draw.
The world is greening quickly. I’ve not spent much time at my studio area while my back has been sore, so I’m surprised to see the trees that were bare just a couple of days ago are now clothed in spring hues. That cheers my heart!
I’m coping quite well with the ‘lock-down’. I am trying not to get sucked into the whirling maelstrom of news and views about Coronavirus and other events going on in the world.
The virus crisis is happening, even though it’s not touched me personally. It will occur whether I pay attention to it or not. I know being stressed, anxious, fearful will have a negative impact on my immune system, so the calmer I can stay, the better. That doesn’t mean I don’t care. I do. Deeply. The only thing I can do is to stay home and not be a vehicle for transmission of the virus from person to person.
I now need a fresh mug of tea, so that’s all the words I have…for now.