Thursday 29 September 2011

An Art Journal Page: from start to finish

Hi, hi, hi.

Well, it turned out that some of you were indeed interested in me posting a tutorial on the kind of pages I've been making in my Learn Something New Every Day journal. Which was nice, because really, you could have just shrugged saying "Meh. Whatever." when I put the idea out there!

So, for those of you who'd like to see how this page came into being:

Then this is for you:

I should just maybe say:
  • It's not an in-depth look at art-journaling or scrapping or even LSNED in general;
  • It's just a look at the process behind constructing a page for this particular journal [although seeing as how I'm a bit in love with the style it's going to appear in other journals without a doubt];
  • It's a bit of a photo-heavy post - just so you know.
  • If you'd find it beneficial to scrap lift / journal-lift straight from my page and produce a very similar page of your own - to get you started - feel free - that's what I've made the tutorial for.
Step 1:  Prepare a base layer with mixed papers: 
As I've mentioned several times now, I prepared the first layers of all 30 of my LSNED journal pages in advance of getting to the 'interesting' bits.

Glue approx. 3 roughly cut or torn sections of paper in a fairly random manner on the page of a notebook.
I used:
  • an old book page;
  • the inside of a security envelope;
  • a scrap of patterned paper;
  • Glued down with Daler Rowney 'Matt Glaze Medium'.
Once I'd done this on all 30 pages, in advance, I knew I had a fighting chance of getting this 'daily' project completed.
  • It meant I could sit in front of the TV, or at the dining table with relatively few supplies at hand, as I already had a workable base. However ...
  • I've also been made aware that this style of working could be useful if you're a crafter with a disability, as it's a way of breaking a page up into manageable chunks.
Thanks so much to the commenter who brought this to my attention as it perfectly draws together my two-strand working life: crafting and working with people with disabilities. I'd be thrilled if this method of working means you feel comfortable making a start, knowing that it can be done in stages as and when you want to or feel able to.

Step 2: Look through magazine clippings, catalogues and ephemera for focal images to suit the theme and feel you'd like the page to have:
Step 3: Select the ones which fit best or which speak to you most.

  • Trim around them and experiment with where they'd work best on the page.
  • Glue them down.
  • [I mostly only ever use a plastic glue-spreader rather than a brush as it means I don't have to have any water handy - I just wipe it with kitchen roll or let the glue dry on and pick it off when it gets too bulky! It saves time and is easier to manage if you're working quickly or on your knee in front of the TV!]
Step 4: Add additional, interesting scraps of paper/labels/ephemera - in colours which match what you've glued down so far:
  • Try overlapping some of your magazine clippings with these new elements;
  • This helps pull everything together, anchoring your images rather than having them floating around.
Step 5: Sift through magazines, catalogues, old books etc for wording which suit your theme / feelings / thoughts for the page:
  • Look out for key words or phrases which can help tell your story.
Step 6:  Look for words or phrases you can combine to create your own sentences:
  • Glue them down, again try overlapping existing snippets for a more interesting composition:

Step 7: Cover up some of the text on the old book page with white acrylic paint:

  • Again - due to laziness and impatience - I don't often bother with a paint brush for this type of thing;
  • I use the glue spreader, a scrap of card ... or my fingers.
I also added some streaks of paint at the bottom and along the side.

Step 8: Flick ink at the page!:
  • If you don't want ink on your main images cover them up first;
  • Remove the applicator/pump/dispenser thing from a bottle of spray ink and tap it with your finger to spatter the page;
  • This delivers more individual spots of colour than if you just misted the page in the 'proper' way.
Step 9: When everything's dry add a few more themed words - using stickers:
  • Amongst others, I turn to sheets of 7Gypsies '97% Complete' stickers a lot for journal pages and on cards, layouts ... everything!
Step 10: Doodle around some or all of the words you've added to the page: 
  • This can help to incorporate it into the overall page - rather than have things dotted around;
  • Actually 'doodling' is probably a kind word for what it is I do. Let's just call a spade a spade and say it's scribbling with gel pens:

Step 11: Add the 'journaling' part of the 'art-journaling': 
  • You don't really need any fancy pens or supplies for this;
  • I run strips of cheap Correction Tape across the page [an idea I saw somewhere!] and write on them with a black Biro.
And that's it! A completed page:

I hope you've found something useful or interesting here, if there's anything else you'd like me to ramble on about ... just let me know.

And if you use it to help you create a page of your own ... let me know about that too ... and I'll pop by and grin at you!

Edited to add: As this post contines to be so popular, I've now blogged 'An Art Journal Page: from start-to-finish No.2' which you can read here.


I have published a book of my 'Snipped Tales' - the tiny snipped text collages as seen on this page - it's available through my Etsy shop - alongside lots of paper kits perfect for mixed media work. 

See you soon.

Julie :-D



  1. I love this post for all of these things:

    1: The Alice snippet
    2: The fact that you did a page for Take one.
    3: Correction tape - omg.... actual genuis - I love it!


  2. I love seeing how the page came together, it makes the process much more accessible and as for the correction tape....going to the top of my must buy list - what a great idea!

  3. love this and love reading about your process... love love love.. correction tape.... on my list too! who knew? U are brilliant Julie! hugs xo thks so much for sharing with all of us.. I just might give your technique a go!

  4. Not at all my style of page :P But that doesn't not for one moment stop me from admiring your LSNED pages! Really interesting to see how you made it in stages and I LOVE the correction tape tip - that's a keeper!

  5. I've never wanted to try this type of art......until now that is!! Great tutorial and i've pinned it, so i know where it is when i want to give it a go!!

  6. Thank you Julie. I can see now how its in layers really and you build them up. I can't wait for the weekend to give it a go...but must buy the correction tape today first!

  7. Love how the French goes with the wording on the rest of your page - very clever or serendipity and very cryptic!!

  8. I love the correction tape idea, I must try that!

  9. Lovely and so instructive! I've seen lots of art-journalling pages but this is the first time I've thought I could given this a go.:) Thank-you for letting us see the process ...

  10. I found this post so useful. It's also got me started on realising other ways I can break it down even more (such as creating clippings that I can then use at a later date).

    I'm really looking forward to trying this now, you have been such an inspiration with this project. My only question now is how do you get your ideas? Do you decide based on something that happened or do you use prompts for certain days?

  11. Love that you stepped this out, Julie.

    That's more or less how I make my art journal pages too.

    Love your date stamp and the little block it's in. Nice touch.

  12. Oh you are the best thank you for this

  13. Thank you so much for sharing this, Julie! P.S. Saw this post on Scrapbook Update. And so glad I did! Been needing inspiration. Thanks again for the inspiration! You rock!


  14. This is awesome - thank you! I'm not so much into art journaling as I am collage, but the same techniques can be applied. I always have issues with where to start and how to continue once I have the first bit down, and this helps so much.

  15. I found this post through pinterest - love it! I don't think I would keep up with this every day, but it's a great starting point for me to work on a picture. I've had the thought (from seeing all sorts of stuff) but I wasn't sure where to begin. I'm looking forward to beebopping around your blog and seeing what else you have done.


  16. I also found this through Pinterest, and I'm so loving your blog, and this post! I started y first "junkjournal" and I'm sooooo addicted! It is so much fun, bringing out the creativitity that has been bureid for so long! Thank you for the tips for the beginner like me!

  17. Oh my! This is such a fabulous post that I want to start my own - right now! Thankyou so much for the fabulous, easy-to-follow instructions. Off to bookmark this post now. Oh, and to start following your pretty blog! J x

  18. great tip, correction tape! and wonderful to see the steps of your page. thanks for sharing!
    peggy aplSEEDS

  19. Thanks for the demo, and it was great to find you on pinterest. Will check out your blog from time to time. One often sees the journal collages that people have made, but seldom seen the method as well as you have shown here!

  20. Thank you for making it possible for people with handicaps to be creative by listing the steps!!

  21. Hi Julie, I've just found your blog via Making Nice In The Midwest. I've never art journaled before but this post has convinced me to give it a go because you make it much less intimidating for me. Thanks so much!


  22. Thank you for this posting. I have been collecting things for my books for a long time and for some reason Im in a creative funk. Havent been able to start. I think this post will make it easier for me to actually put some stuff on paper!!!! I will continue to follow your page daily!!! Thank you!!!!!!!

  23. love this! I totally want to try this as a new craft project this year… maybe for a week or a month. thanks for sharing!

  24. I just started art journaling. It is so relaxing. Love the correction tape idea.

  25. I love this! It is so cool! It has made me so happy today! It is awesome!!!!!! Cordie (age 9)

  26. This is a great tutorial for people wanting to get into art journaling but being overwhelmed with what to do. Thank you so much for the inpiration!

    I also included it in a new post on my site called "9 Creative Projects to Help You Become Your Best Self." Thank you thank you! My readers will love it. :)


  27. Hi, I love this post! It seems like a project I could actually attempt myself, as I have fibromyalgia and the suggestion to break down the construction into smaller chunks would make completing an art journal much easier to accomplish. Thanks so much for sharing :)

  28. This is just the sort of art journaling I love. A great tip to prepare pages in advance, and I have not thought to do LSNED in this way.
    And thank you for the tip about the correction tape. I'll be looking out for some, that's a great idea!

  29. Can someone explain the acronym LSNED? THANK YOU.

  30. I loved this process and detailed explanation. Thank you for your time and your effort in putting this out... I found this on Pinterest.

  31. Have *finally* come around to the idea of art journalling and have rediscovered your amazing tutorials. You're such a star x

  32. I am always finding and cutting out things to add to an art journal.... but have never actually put anything on a page. Afraid I'll mess it up! You have given me new inspiration to get going with a journal. I found you through Pinterest.

  33. I love that it's photo heavy. Some blogs are hard to follow without enough pics. Loving your work.

  34. AGAIN, another one of my "look at this one day" pins on Pinterest that seems to be a real winner! Thanks for sharing your talents.

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