An Art Journal is basically a diary that chronicles the ideas, memories, and thoughts of an individual. Pages or collages within an art journal include words, pictures and even embellishments. You can start doing these quick collages in a daily basis. Art journals or collages are also called “morning pages” as described in The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. Art collages is more visual version of your daily emotions, vision and aspirations.
Allow yourself half an hour for the collage process, but sometimes go back several times throughout the day to add things until you are pleased with it. It all starts with the determination that, whether it’s good art or not, there will be a collage when you are finished!
Just work on the pages in a spiral-bound sketchbook, just as they are. You may paste 2 pages if needed to support heavily embellished collages here & there.Leave few pages for writing then allow two or three pages that are left blank for collage. That forces you to avoid having an all-text journal. In an average journal, you may save five to ten pages to use for painted, ornate or heavy collages.
Use any gesso that’s cheap, from the fine art supplies section of Michael’s or any art supply store. Gesso makes the paper stronger, so it doesn’t suck up the glue or paint so much, and it has “tooth” to grab whatever I apply to it. I buy cheap white gesso. Yes, you can buy it in colors, but if you start with white, you can add color to it (in small batches) with watercolors (including Dr. Ph. Martins), acrylics, even food coloring or unsweetened KoolAid if you like! You may use black gesso for art journal pages on which you’ll stamp text in white, or use a white gel pen.
Have images stored in folders, kept in a heavy cardboard portfolio, to use when you want to do a collage. Keep a stack of magazines & newspapers on hand for your collage work. And go through and grab whatever images, words, and phrases that strike you at the moment. If your work connects somehow, great! If they’re completely unrelated, that’s okay too. It usually makes sense to you when you put it all together, in the context of your thoughts at the time.
A great magazine for collage is the fashion magazine, W, InStyle, Glamour because it includes great images, heavy paper, and very large words and phrases that show up nicely on pages. National Geographic is also a favorite because the colors are great, the images are unusual but any magazine that is already on hand is ok.
Layering your work is one technique for your collage. You may use colored tissue paper. Use Golden Gel Medium (soft/gloss) for the adhesive, and when the tissue paper is saturated with the gel medium, it remains translucent after it dries. However, the gel medium will make the paper buckle sometimes but it’s ok its better than collages that looks pre-printed.
Apply the gel with a sponge brush. While the page dries, place a piece of waxed paper over it so you can turn the page and either write or do another collage. If it’s facing another gel’d page, keep the waxed paper between the pages for a week or two until the gel is fully cured. Otherwise, the gel remains tacky enough to stick to the facing page.
You may also highlight some of your work with different types of leafing… gold, copper, etc. Don’t get caught up in using the most/only perfect adhesive for the job; gel medium works well for almost anything.
For some collages, you may use or glue any stuff that relates to your emotion that day. On a “hurting” day, a band-aid may hold an image in place. And there are grommets, paper clips, straight pins, safety pins, and so on. Think beyond tradition and rules!
Never fret because an item means that the journal won’t close nice & flat. Frankly, by the time you get done with the gel medium on lots of pages, the whole thing is so buckled that it hasn’t a chance of closing nice OR flat, ever again!
You may sew a button to the front cover of the journal, and a piece of string ( like hemp twine) or ribbon attached with a grommet to the back cover, so you can tie the journal closed when you carry it around or shelve it.
These collages are exciting because you never know how they’ll turn out until you start putting the random bits of paper together and realize what the internal message is. It’s sort of like bringing what’s deep inside you, outwardly.
There are bazillion techniques you can do in your collages. In fact, you can create your own technique or discover one along the way. Experimenting is the best technique because this gives you the opportunity to be creative as a person. Copying ideas is not really you. You are created to be creative!!!!!
HAVE FUN ON YOUR 1st ART JOURNAL!