Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Art Journal 101: Pens Pencils and Mark Making

Welcome to the 3rd installment of Art Journal 101!
 This section is all about mark making  
As a starting off point i thought i would discuss the materials i use most often and we will just go from there.


I do use graphite a lot to draw with, especially if i am creating my whimsy girls. I rarely get my proportions right the first time so I do a lot of erasing.
My favorite pencil is a mechanical one made by Pentel. I bought mine at Blick, but I have seen them other places as well. The one I use is called Graphgear 500 and the lead I use is size 0.9 I find this one soft enough to make bold lines but still easy to erase.


As I said, I do tend to erase a lot and my preferred eraser is a kneaded eraser. I love these erasers because you can make them any shape, to get into tight areas, etc. They are great for getting rid of smudges, and you can use them to make a pencil line lighter too! I use any brand that is cheap and I always find them at the art supply store in the drawing section.


 I use lots of different markers in my journals for lots of different things. Sometimes i write my thoughts with a bold black marker across the page and then create art over it, so that it becomes the first layer and ends up acting as texture for the page. This is great when you want to get your thoughts out but don't necessarily want anyone to read it. 

Some of the markers I use for this are Sharpies and Pigma Microns, both of which are permanent.

My absolute favorite type of marker is the Uni Posca pens from Japan. These are paint pens and they generally write over anything. They last a long time and come in a great variety of colors. They come in a variety of true pastel colors which you just don't see anywhere. I find it amusing that the pastel set is referred to as "natural colors". I get them either on Amazon or from

Another type of marker I use a lot are the Tombow Brush pens. These are really fun because they are highly pigmented so they are nice and bright and they are water soluable, so you can use them like watercolors. They are wonderful for journaling! I get them at Blick but I have also bought sets on Amazon.

Colored Pencils

I use colored pencils a lot for shading faces and my favorites for years has been Prismacolor. I have been using them for so long I can recall the times they were called Sanford, and Berol! I have quite a few, though not the whole set.
 I also have a set of verithins-which are made by the same company. They are harder and great for sharp edges.

Another brand of colored pencils that I enjoy are called Irojiten. They are from Japan and come in lots of pastel colors. They come packaged in little books so you can collect the whole library of them. They are smooth and blend very nicely. I bought these from Amazon.

And lastly I use watercolor pencils. My preferred brand is Inktense by Derwent. These are fantastic because they are so vibrant. They activate with water and then dry permanent which is great when you are adding wet layers on top. I have purchesed these at Blick.


I use a variety of ink mostly for creating drips and spatters.Sometimes I write with them in my journal using a dip pen. Any ink will do for this, there is no need to spend a fortune. The brands I have collected are Daler Rowneys FW, and Bombay. I also splurged on a set of Dr. P. H. Martin's Hydrus Liquid  Watercolors which I use sparingly for this purpose. All of these I have purchased at art supply stores.

So those are my basic supplies for writing. Next week I will talk about paint!


Monday, August 1, 2016

Art Journal Supplies for Backgrounds

Art Journal Supplies

So now that we have looked at several options for art journals, let's talk about art supplies.  Of course there are no rules, you can work with whatever supplies you enjoy and that you are comfortable with. We will just go over a few of the most popular and basic tools and supplies. 

We will begin with backgrounds.

The Background
The background of your page is a  wonderful place to play with all of your supplies; to combine materials or techniques, and to experiment with color combinations, textures and layers. 


If you have never worked with acrylic paint before I suggest you start with inexpensive craft paints. I have used Delta Ceramcoat and Folk Art paints for years. They are inexpensive and wet, so they spread really well. A great way to get some quick color down on the page. They are also fairly opaque ( not able to see through;non-transparent). 
  If you are looking to add texture with a thicker paint, or you want transparent colors one over another, (glazing), then try the inexpensive student grade acrylics such as Liquitex Basics. 
   A lot of people really love the Golden line of paints, and you will see them everywhere in the art journaling world. They are a really good high quality professional artist paint, and they come with a higher price tag. They are not necessary to begin, but as you move along on this journey you might want to try them out. The basic difference between a pro-art paint like Golden and a student grade or craft paint is the amount of paint pigment that is in them. The more pigment the more expensive the paint, and generally the more vibrant the paint will be. Some companies like Liquitex and others offer both student grade and professional grade paints. 

Here is an example of some paint layers in my journal:
  Gesso is basically a primer for canvas. Traditionally it is applied over canvas or linen and left to cure for about 24 hours. The surface is then a little rough, we call this tooth. This gives the paint something to stick to and makes your painting experience a little easier. 

 In art journaling gesso is used for a whole lot more. It is a great ground( surface), especially for paper that is a little thin or weak. The gesso will provide a sturdier paper to add wet medium to so it won't just leak through to the next page. But it is also wonderful to mix with paints to create an interesting milky texture. It's great used with stencils or with a brayer to tone down the background when the colors get a little out of control. 
 You can brush it on thickly and stamp into it, or spread it around with your fingers. The sky is the limit!

Here, gesso is layered over collage:

And here I have painted the gesso over paint and collage in the negative space only, creating a colorful vine:

Stencils and Stamps
  There are all kinds of wonderful stencils on the market made just for art journaling. Some of my favorites are Stencil Girl and Artistcellar.  I have also used inexpensive stencils found at Michaels such as Plaid( wall stencils) and Heidi Swap( scrapbooking stencils). 

 Stamps can either be the rubber stamps mounted to a wood block, clear flexable stamps or even stamps you carve yourself.  You can use any kind of stamp you like, but 2 motifs that I would recommend for getting great texture are a text stamp and a music score stamp. These provide a wonderful background to your art journal pages. I also use a permanent ink, such as Stayz-on so the stamping doesn't smear with subsequent layers.

Here the stamps clearly show through all the layers:

Here is an art journal page that incorporates almost all of these techniques;

You can watch the video of the making of this page on You Tube:

This is just a small sampling of all of the options available to you. Next week we will look at pens, markers and all things available for getting your thoughts down on paper! 

Thanks for hanging with me and have a great week!