This week, I decided to challenge myself to take a wee tiny baby step towards building an art journal habit. The plan: work in my art journal for only 30 minutes everyday for a week. I proceeded to fall off that horse on day 2. Go me! But, I am determined. Yesterday, I took 30 minutes to paint in bed while watching Sean tell all his Bachelor gossip because that is just how I roll. See? I can totally do this.

There is no real way to keep an art journal other than to just do it. Complete one page at a time, work the whole book at once, use prompts, record your day, words, no words. The possibilities are just endless. However, I have found that learning some art techniques is a good idea. Not necessary, but it might make things a little more fun. So for today’s Friday Five I give you my top 5 favorite art journaling techniques.



1. Watercolor wash backgrounds. This is my go to technique for that blank page paralyzation. No need to buy fancy paint, just a simple dollar store tray of paints like the one you probably used as a kid will do nicely. Although I think the brushestat come with those trays are crap…get some better brushes. Now, just throw down some color washes. Nothing fancy, just play. Watercolors are light enough to write over or even paint over if you change your mind.



2. Pasting random stuff. Ephemera. I love that word. It makes all forms of upcycled trash sound sexy. I do not have a beautiful collection of vintage photos, book pages butterfly wings and ribbons. But I do have candy wrappers, receipts, ticket stubs, and junk mail. It’s all good. Just another way to add shapes and forms to a page, or it can be a way to remember a chance meeting at the grocery store, a date with the husband, or a product I will never buy.



3. Envelopes. I went trough a deep love affair with  The Griffin and Sabine books years ago. They made me want to art journal. I loved opening letters that were tucked inside the emvelopes. It felt as if I was reading all their secrets. Some ephemera is perfect as is and I would not dream of covering those pieces with glue and paint. Glassine envelopes are my favorite, but security envelopes run a close second.


4. Scrapy paint. Whenever I stay in a hotel, I keep the plastic key cards. I use them for scrapey painting my journal pages with acrylic. Hard to describe it here is a video demo from Scrap Time:

Scrap Time – Ep. 510 – Painting with Credit Cards from Mark Giles on Vimeo.




 5. Zen tangle. I love love love zentangles. After discovering a fellow knitter friend also loved them, I decided I love them for the same reasons I love to knit. Drawing the tiny details of these intrecate doodles is alot like working a knitted fabric stitch by stitch. They are a great way to add decoration to my pages, and it is portable.

So what are some of your favorite techniques? Let me know it the comments below.