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!



  1. That video was great! Loved it!

    1. Thank you so much! It was really fun to make, I hope to make some more real soon!