My art journal pages are running off in lots of new directions with the addition of sketching…which is totally awesome! I feel so free and so unlimited now.
My style is still pretty much along the same veins, though. I love using lots of textural elements and lots of layered, visual interest. I tend to go with fairly messy, grungy-type backgrounds, both in my journals and on my canvases.
I do get asked a lot of questions about what tools I use in my backgrounds. So today I’m sharing with you a fun little mushroom page and how I made the background.
I most often make my backgrounds and then work on the foreground. I love making backgrounds, and so often I’m just messing around and have no idea where the foreground is headed. I’ll make the backgrounds and then later re-visit with ideas for what’s going on top.
This particular page, I had the idea in mind when I started.
I do start all of my journal pages with gesso all over the page. I use several mediums on each page, and if I gesso the page first, it holds up way better to the abuse. This journal, in paticular, is in an altered book journal, so the gesso also mutes out the text in the background.
I first sketched the mushroom. The other thing I did at the beginning was cut and glue the doily for the sun up in the corner (I did not gesso the doily, and after the fact decided that might have worked better).
I colored the mushroom with Neocolor II crayons (one of my very very favorite art tools), and then followed that with a wet brush to give it the watercolor effect. I added some Neocolor to the sun and followed with a wet brush there as well.
Adding the border after the fact is a bit tricky, which is why I usually do the background first, lol. For this page, after the mushroom was dry, I added a couple of shades of blue and white acrylic paint to the background. I followed that with a flower stencil and white paint to add some texture to the blues.
To get the bits of red around the background, I used self-adhesive joint tape, it’s a drywalling accessory from Home Depot…it’s another one of the awesome things my hubby;s picked up for me along the way. This is one of my most used texturing tools…it’s cheap, you get a ton of it for 5 bucks or so, and it is loads of fun! For this page, I put some of the red paint on the tape and then dabbed it around on the background.
I did my pen doodling next, using a Pilot Uniball Vision pen, which is waterproof when it sets. I like the doodling to go down before I add another step of texture color as the final color will sort of blend it all in, or make it look more uniform.
That last layer was the blue dots, using bubble wrap. I save the bubble wrap from everything, and I keep lots of different sizes around. You can usually also find lots of free packing materials on craigslist to jump start your supply…
I don’t leave many of my borders alone, and this page is no different. After everything else was dry, I used dark blue and red Neocolor crayons rubbed around on the borders and just smeared them with a damp finger.
Someday I’ll work on some videos of this stuff, but I hope that this helps you if you’re looking for some fun ways to add textures and layers to your art journals!
Prompt: Find some “trash” that you could use for adding texture: bubble wrap, cellophane wrappers, string, rubber bands, foil, saran wrap, netting from a fruit bag, all work well. Be sure to stop in and share what works for you!