I needed a new journal. Now, journaling can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. For some, a journal is a diary. For some, it’s a place to write down not-to-be-forgotten phone numbers, addresses, and shopping list. For some it’s a place to experiment with media productions and how they react with other products. My journaling is a sort of crossbreed of a diary and media experimentation. It’s certainly not meant to be shown to anybody, as nothing in it really a complete piece of work, but just the smallest sniggling of an idea.
As I always do, when I need a new notebook or journal or album, I go to my Basically Bare stash and found this perfect sized journal for me. It’s called, quite simply, Art Journal and I chose the 5″x7″ size. You can find the art journals in the “Surface Essentials” section of the catalog here.
To embellish the covers, I start by taking the two hard chipboard covers off the ring binder and giving them a good coat of white gesso. I use Faber Castelle Gesso – but any gesso is fine. This will just keep my paint and inks and sprays from soaking into the chipboard – it also gives a white surface which will keep the colors used more true than the ‘cardboard brown’ color of chipboard.
Next I crumple up a piece of tissue paper and roll it into a ball – then I unwrap it and glue it to the the cover using PPA (Perfect Paper Adhesive). I glue down a lot of wrinkles and bumps. Also, because I wanted this to have an aged look to it – and I didn’t want to spend a lot of time distressing it, instead of white tissue, I used a vintage dress pattern piece which gives it that nice aged look. Then I added a couple pieces of crumpled Tim Holtz tissue paper. And set it all aside to dry … make sure each ‘layer’ of your cover is dry before moving forward. If you lay too many wet layers on top of each other (of different mediums) you have a good chance of not having it ever dry properly, and perhaps mildew.
Next, I used two stencils and embossing paste to add texture and additional pattern to the back ground. I used the text across the top of the journal and the brocade pattern across the bottom
From there, I take all the embellishments that I know I want to use and daub on white gesso. I like to use a foam brush for this so I can kind of ‘pounce’ the gesso on and I don’s have to struggle to get all the little pieces and cut outs covered with gesso.
While those are drying, glue a piece of lace across the top of the page. I adhere it down with Golden Gel Medium – but any clear drying glue will work. You will want to make sure all parts of the lace have glue – you don’t want to have anything lift on you after you’re finished with the cover!
Now it’s time to layout your embellishment pieces as you want them to be on your cover. Have fun – play around – see what combination and composition pleases your eye the most. When you have made your decision, glue everything down with a strong adhesive (I use E6000 glue). The embellishments I chose were Gears from the “Mixed Media Embellishments” section of the Basically Bare catalog here. I also used pieces from Blue Fern, Leaky Shed, Prima’s “Relics and Artifacts” (the angel head), a TIm Holtz metal clock, some Wild Orchid mini-roses, and a lightbulb charm and brass corners from who-knows-where. I like using brass corners on art journals, as they get a good workout usually, and the corners keep the cover from getting dogeared. Now dry brush gesso onto everything you have that isn’t already gessoed…and, yes, that includes the lace! Make sure your brush is pretty dry if you have detailed embellishments that you don’t want obscured (such as the metal time piece below. You’re just giving something for the final sprays and inks to grab onto.
Now is my favorite part … painting, misting spraying. I started out using heavily pigmented water colors for the light blue and green center of the piece – added Tim Holtz Espresso Distress Ink spray and then Tim Holtz Hickory Smoke Distress Ink spray in the corners. I also use a paper towel to blot anyplace I think I’ve sprayed too heavily, or that I want to remove a little color before it dries. There are no rules – play, have fun, experiment – it’s your journal!
Finally, with some water, I mix up some ColourArtes Inklingz in the “Miner Miner 49er” color, and highlight all the raised areas that I want to stand out – usually that means most of the highest parts of the composition.
In this photo you can see how the colors look while wet – they may seem garish, but they will tone down as they dry…so don’t be too shy about using color … these water based products will dull down a bit when dry!
Most often, I simply spray some pretty colors on the back with water based inks and spray some water and let the colors blend together and do what they want to. I dont’ want to add any embellishment because I want the book to lie totally flat while I’m working in it. If you’ve never used Ken Oliver’s “Colorburst” color pigments before, this is a great time to experiment and play with them!
Once everything is dry (I always let mine sit overnight, just in case there’s some dampness left that I can’t feel with my hands), slip the covers back on the wire ring binding and press the ring tightly closed so they don’t slip out (this does not require Hercules – the bindings bend quite easily). And, voilà! A new journal to write, make art, make holiday card lists or just doodle while talking on the phone!
For Basically Bare, the Basically Bare catalog, and the Basically Bare Design Team, this is Tristan signing off until next time!