Magazine turned Art Journal

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After looking over a selection of sketchbooks and journals recently, I found myself balking at the cost.  Promising myself that I would make the purchase “later” I left without the new art journal that I had gone to get.  I must have still had art journal on my mind as I was trying to decide whether to keep all the old magazines that I had kept to use in collage work.  What if, instead of cutting pictures OUT of the magazine and pasting them onto a painted background, I left them in the magazine and painted around them, or just painted over the ones I didn’t want?  I would leave the magazine bound and it would become my art journal.  Here I was, already sitting on a gold mine of art journals!

I selected a National Geographic because of its nice sturdy pages, as well as a Real Simple magazine because of its large size and low luster pages.



Since the Real Simple pages are a little thinner, I used a spray adhesive between every other page to make them more sturdy.  Then I chose a picture that I wanted to alter, and went after it with gesso and acrylic paints.





All ready for journaling!  Here is another page…

black background painted around the image…



My own altering added!


Painted Foundation

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A good background in art is like having a good foundation to build on.  It is what turns a journal full of doodles into an “art” journal.  As I begin my new sketchbook, I paint a few pages as backgrounds, but I leave most of them blank.  On those blank pages I do plenty of doodling, list making, jotting down phone numbers and all kinds of random bits to remember.  Then, I go back later and paint over the pages I am done with.  There is no pressure for every doodle to be a masterpiece, because if I don’t like it, I just paint over it.  My sketchbook can multitask as my working notepad, which is important because realistically, I am not going to carry around more than one book!  The page above was first my list of things to do for my daughter’s graduation open house.  Now that its over, those pages are available for a new project so that even journal pages get repurposed! I like to leave a bit of the original showing through though because it suits the layers of my life that build on each other.  Art on the foundation of family.  Wise quotes cover the layer of my own rambles.  Beauty conquering the jumbled chaos of scribbles.  Every layer has its own meaning, and contribution to the page.

Tab Dividers in Your Art Journal Box

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Today I am going to show you a part of the art file journal project that really adds to the fun.  That is the tabs, which are the first thing you notice when you open the box.  I have collected vintage boxes for awhile, and often they came with fun cards and dividers inside.  Some are from Rolodex files, some from a recipe box, and others simply the alphabet. I made use of a variety of the vintage dividers, and made some of my own!

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B4 B3 B2

I also keep a stash of tiny papers to add as tabs in just such projects:

  • tickets
  • tea bag tabs
  • those plastic things on the bread bag
  • cigar labels
  • scraps of paper and washi tape
  • tags
  • fun paper clips
  • scraps of baker’s twine

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Powerful Words

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“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”  

Ralph Waldo Emerson

These words of Emerson have had a powerful influence on me.  Worry about the future, regrets about the past, hurts that have been, and even past or future successes all pale in comparison with the importance of what we are made of.  It is our integrity, or lack of, that determines our attitude much more than our situation. Good within trumps evil without.  Words to live by.

So, of course these words had to make my daughter’s art journal box.  We share a love of words, that physical string of lines and curves that come together in the right combinations to transform into meaningful sentiments. They have the power to make us laugh and cry, and to change the way we live our lives.  So word art made up a large portion of the cards that I gave to her as she embarks on the adult world.   

For more on my love of words read about the inspiration of my mixed media artwork  “A Woman of Many Words”

For more about my art journal file box read these posts:

Art Journal Box for the Graduate

Make a Mistake and Make it Great

Make a Mistake, Make it Great

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Some of the art techniques that I end up being most pleased with came about by accident. One of those came about when I was printing pictures to put in the art journal file box that I shared with you yesterday. I inadvertently put the photo paper into my ink jet printer the wrong way so that it printed on the backside.  It was all smudgy and smeary.  With nothing to lose, I sprayed a fixative on the image which made it bleed even further before “fixing” in place. I used my finger to smudge a cloud effect while it was still wet, and then added more detail with a paint pen after it was dry.

That was pretty fun, so I decided to try one on purpose! I printed the picture and again sprayed with a fixative.  Then, I simply pasted it to a file card, and added an open the flap quote that I purchased in a set from a local bookstore.  Fun!  I love it when mistakes can not only be redeemed, but even turn out better!

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For more posts on my art journal box:

Art Journal Box for the Graduate

File Box Art Journal