Getting Started and Whether Your Pages Should Pop!

There are lots of things that go on behind-the-scenes when you blog. Bloggers learn HTML, code and re-arrange our blogs, share snappy photos, write delicious content, {all the while hoping the above mentioned content is not stolen or recklessly pinned}, respond delightfully to your comments, share ideas, visit our bloggie friends... and respond to lots of reader emails! Some folks prefer to write privately rather than comment, and some folks have very specific questions. So this is the second post in response to a fabulous reader question. The first was "Must You Finish a Journal?"

My theory {and I'm sticking to it} is that if I find the question intriguing, others may too. So I'm hoping you will join in and help this lovely reader, a beginning art journalist, on her merry way.


I am very new to Art Journaling. I'm continually fascinated by watching the work of art journalists but I feel like I have to buy all of the products that they use. I can't seem to find what I'm really good at. I like the idea of the having photos on the pages, yet some how it doesn't look as good as some I've seen.
I love pastel colors, but my pages don't pop when I use light colors. Should they pop? There are certain colors I tend to like more than others, I'm wondering would it be boring if I just use the colors I love or should I try others? Thanks for listening and hope you can advise me in some direction.❞

First, I'll break down your questions.

1. Art materials.

For art journaling I highly recommend getting messy with a core set of art materials. Acrylic paints, brushes, adhesive (matte medium or mod podge), scissors, "found" papers and your stash of unsued scrapbook papers. With a core set of art materials, you can create anything you wish. 

Next, consider making some handmade eraser stamps. Further fun stuff... photos and neocolor II crayons or water soluble colored pencils. You don't need extra super glitterly sparkle blaster spray with infrared goggles. You don't need pre-packaged bunny stickers. You don't need a metal cork-backed ruler. You don't need washi tape. You don't need raven's egg blue acrylic paint. You don't need to take a workshop. You don't need distress inks. You don't need stencils of buildings. You don't need to cut your images with scissors. But you CAN do anything you wish. 

I actually didn't start adding photos until the last year or so, many years into my art journaling extravaganza. It might be difficult to get them to "blend'' in when you are just starting out. My thought is this. Get the core materials that an artist would use. Play and experiment and learn what those materials can do.

2. Pages popping.

First, I'll touch on color, then the big picture. 

As far as color popping, I'm not sure what type of acrylic paint you are using. You might want to compare student/craft acrylics such as Folk Art with artist acrylics such as Golden Fluid Acrylics and see if you get more of your desired pop from the artist acrylics. Some art journalists use craft acrylics, some use artist acrylics. Artist acrylics are more intense and have different characteristics but they cost more. When you mix white or gesso with artist acrylics, they'll retain more of the saturated, rich color because artist acrylics are more highly pigmented. My daughter and I did side-by-side art journal pages to test craft acrylics and artist acrylics. 

But back to the big picture.

It is very easy to get caught up in what you think your pages "should" look like and in reality the point of art journaling is not to put out pretty pages but to work in your art journal. If you create pretty pages, that's a bonus, that's cool, but that's not the goal. Imperfect is OK. If your entire goal is to create pretty pages, that's kind of mixed media artwork. So decide what you want to do. I would submit that art journaling is a wonderful adjunct and learning tool for mixed media artists. Art journaling is flowy and free. It is experimental. 

And starting out can be scary. Especially when you haven't allowed yourself to just play with art materials like a kid would. They would put out all their cool stuff and make a mess and play. So go be a kid!


♥ How to Trick Your Inner Perfectionist and Become an Art Journalist
♥ Art Journaling 101
♥  Art Journaling 101 for Kids/Teens and Other Beginners
♥ The Official Guide to Daisy Yellow Creative Prompts