How to make art journal backgrounds

Making your first art page background

bgexample4 - kopie (2)So you want to make your first art journal and you don’t know how to start.
I will show you some basic techniques which you can use to begin your very own art journal. Of course you can use this techniques for your scrap books, junk books and smash books too.

Some people have trouble making a start with journaling because they possess a sort of “paper fear”; which means that they are scared to do something wrong and they will think the journal page shall turn out ugly.
No worries: with art journaling you never can get wrong! Moreover by experimenting with a lot of paper you instantly get used to playing around with paint and paper.


foto 2Which background to use?

* Casual piece of white paper

* Empty scrapbook with unprinted white paper

* Old book

* Used paper with old notes or left over with wiped paint

* Flyers or news papers

Starting the fun part! Mess around as much as you want!

Almost all children were learned to be polite, to be clean, to clean up, to do right; in short: to be as perfect as can be.
Now you finally have the chance of your life to have the freedom of making a great mess. You now have the right and maybe even the obligation to play around with paint, paper and get very messy. You aren’t even a kid anymore, but now you are allowed to be one again! How great is that. For me personally there was nothing more fun than being a child. It was the most relaxing and creative time of my life; I could express myself the way I wanted to and almost all the time I felt happy. During the road to adulthood you are being forced to ignore such kind of feelings and soon you maybe stripped of all those wonderful childish feelings and behavior.
Well, making the decision of being an art journalist can change that again and you can experience that expressive inner self again.

How to make unique backgrounds for your art journals

Background on white paper
Making backgrounds for my art journals always makes me very happy. In advance you never know what is coming out of your head and hands this time. You can freely move your brushes around in anticipation of your new creation.
Making backgrounds is not that difficult to do and you will see you will always succeed.
The easiest way of making an art journal background is of course 100% white paper. No need to cover up existing text, notes, images or drawings; you can start right away.
Buy your journal first
Journals you can buy in all sorts and formats.
I use a lot of scrapbooks; they are great too.

foto 1Background supplies
Old book
When you use an old book, you can either let the text be part of the background or you can cover it up with some white paper if you want to. You can also leave different parts of the page with text and a part with white paper. When you want the text of the original book page shine through your paint; than try to color your paint light on the page.

Used paper with old notes or left over wiped paint
Of course you can always use some left over paper or pages which you already used to try some colors or designs. Simply use them again and paint over it; either letting the old creations come through or cover it up completely.

Flyers or news papers
Flyers and news papers are full of colorful pictures, fonts, text, designs and collages. Ideal to use as a background for your journal page. Look at the flyer and decide which parts you want to be part of your art page and whether they have to be clearly visible or some what transparent on the background.

Art supplies you need

Start journaling


Now it is time to grab all your art supplies together and start journaling.

Different types of media to use
Water color pencils
Water soluble crayons
Acrylic paint
Water color paint
Neo pastel

Paint, wipe, spray, ink and stamp
Paint basics

Now you can start on your background and the creations that comes to your mind.
To begin with you can try to choose two or three different colors and mix them together. You can play with the background and paint to see what kind of effects you can make.

Now you’ve used a couple of colors; you can try to blend them together. To do that you can take another paint color and paint another layer on top of it or you can take a tissue to wipe the colors when it is still wet. If your page has already dried, the wiping goes easier. If you add some water to the page; than the colors blend together. If you want you can add as many paint if you like; it makes the page more vivid.

tempbgStamp and make effects

When you are done you can either let the color combinations that way or you can dribble or spray some ink and make some effects with it. After that it is time for stamps if you want to; the page becomes more creative when using stamps. Also you can use templates to make textures; you can buy all sort of texture templates and stamps at the special scrap book stores or hobby stores. Put the template over your work and paint or spray over it.







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4bUnique backgrounds

There are lots and lots of ways to make different backgrounds; I think the variety can be endless. Every background you make shall be unique and different from others.

Because you can use so many different art supplies, you can be as creative as you want. Just experiment with all the supplies you have and make as many different combinations as you can think of; just go with the flow. There will be no other background as unique as yours in the world.



Whiten the page
Now you have created some first background art you can let it that way or add another effect.
Usually white is used to give the art you created at this point a more neutral effect.

To make this effect most people use “gesso”; some type of plaster mixed with some acrylic. Gesso dries very fast and becomes more hard and gives the sometimes fragile paper more firmness and body. You can also use white acrylic; that is what I use because the gesso is far too toxic for me.

Now the page is ready to do the next level of art which that can consist of a drawing, painted art, ephemera, doodles or some other creative way to make your page more arty.

In the next blog we will finish the journal page used in this blog.
Let your own creativity finds its way.

All images on this page are my own
Copyright Celesta / MagicalFuture
Article info
This article is written by me (Celesta / MagicalFuture) and first posted on Squidoo date 16 of may 2013 than deleted from Squidoo and reposted here on my own website.

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