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Thoughts on a First Experience with Art Journaling

I’ve been following and writing about the trend towards art journaling in the papercrafts industry for quite some time. But being an observer and being a participant are two different experiences. Recently, after admiring them for a long time, I decided to take the plunge and try out some of the industry’s hottest products and techniques – Dyan Reavely’s Dylusions – for myself.

Diving into the concept of “art journaling” was a bit intimidating. Dyan makes her techniques look so easy and fun but that word “art” just brings to mind all of the highly skilled things that I will never be able to do, like drawing and painting.

But with Dyan’s voice fresh in my head from her basic how-to video,  I closed my eyes (well, ok, maybe not really!) and jumped in.

Just Make Stuff art journalI was not only stunned with the results I got on my first try at playing with my new Dylusions sprays, but the experience itself can only be described as a revelation. I thought I would be lost without my photos as a basis for my creative process, but the opposite was in fact true – I found not having to work within the parameters of photos to be unexpectedly freeing.

Just Make Stuff right pageSupplies:

  • Ranger Dyan Reavely Dylusions Spray Ink (Pure Sunshine, Crushed Grape, Funky Fuschia, White Linen)
  • Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Ink (Picked Raspberry, Chipped Sapphire, Antique Linen, Aged Mahogany)
  • Ranger Archival Ink (Wendy Vecchi Orange Blossom, Cobalt)
  • Ranger Time Holtz Tag Stencils (Bubble, Sun Ray, Coffee Ring)
  • Ranger Inkssentials Tag (#8 manila)
  • Small spray bottle (for water)
  • Tim Holtz for Stamper’s Anonymous Stamps
    • Seamless Experience
    • Words for Thought
    • Vogue

Another thing that was freeing was that I’m a perfectionist when it comes to my usual papercrafting projects. But the very nature of art journaling is that it is all about imperfection and happy accidents. There’s no need to measure perfectly straight lines or find the perfectly coordinating color tone. Randomness and just plain play rules! I was really surprised at how much joy I found in that freedom.

Just Make Stuff detailFor this first experiment I used a spiral bound Canson Mixed Media XL journal. I worked extremely wet, with lots of water, and the pages curled quite a bit as a result. My 12 year old daughter also experimented in the journal (you can see her page soon on our sister site Craft Critique) and it stood up much better to her work than to mine because she used much less water. She’ll be inheriting this album for our summer vacation art journaling project together while I will be working from now on in one of Dyan Reavely’s Dylusions journals which have extremely heavy pages in them.

I chose to use a very dark blue ink for the stamping instead of black on this page. The color difference isn’t immediately apparent to the naked eye, but the overall effect is less harsh than a bold black.

Just Make Stuff left pageThis left page was left blank for now after I created the background. Eventually I will probably add some journaling to it when I get inspired. In the meantime, it looks great the way it is for now.

I found my first experiment with art journaling to be immensely relaxing (particularly surprising considering I wasn’t sure what I was doing). I really am looking forward to spending more time in my art journal over the summer and trying more mediums out!

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10 Responses to Thoughts on a First Experience with Art Journaling

  1. karenm4948 May 15, 2015 at 6:06 am #

    Good for you, Nancy! I just took the plunge a few months ago and it is so very much fun; I’ve also had to let go of alot of “perfectionism”, but still can’t get as loose as Dyan!!! There are a whole bunch of wonderful art journaling youtubes out there with artists like Nikainwonderland, Racho113, Limor Webber just to name a few.

  2. Tonya Dieterlen May 15, 2015 at 8:22 am #

    Love it! All of these techniques transfer easily to scrapbooking, and I find that I when get bored with one craft/technique….it helps my creativity to art journal where I can play with all of my products. 🙂

  3. Pauline Clark May 15, 2015 at 9:13 am #

    That’s awesome. I so want to do this too. I’ve been a “collector” of art journalling stuff for a while. Now to really put it to use! Thanks for the inspiration to get started.

  4. Laura (@Bookworm) May 15, 2015 at 12:23 pm #

    Awesome, Nancy! So glad you had a fun experience! I have the same notebook, I think, a blue cover? And I think I want to get one of the Dyan Reaveley ones, too. I don’t do much art journaling, but it is fun to make something that doesn’t have to be “perfect” which is the way I tend to feel about layouts or cards. 🙂

  5. Denise Gebara May 15, 2015 at 7:35 pm #

    After years of scrapbooking and cardmaking, I took the plunge last August and have never looked back. I’m so glad you enjoyed your experience. And once you start using your scrapbook supplies as embellishments, you will wonder why you ever thought you would never find a use for those left over bits and pieces after finishing a project. Your pages make me smile; what lovely colors.

  6. gabmcann May 16, 2015 at 12:43 am #

    It looks fantastic Nancy. I’ve made a page or 2 but haven’t really committed fully to art journaling yet – and I’m really not sure why as I’ve really enjoyed the few times I’ve sat down to play!

  7. Maura Weins May 16, 2015 at 8:13 am #

    Good job Nancy!!

  8. almasmom May 16, 2015 at 6:50 pm #

    Yay Nancy! Welcome to the wonderful world of good messy fun 🙂

  9. Sandi May 19, 2015 at 3:21 pm #

    I have wanted to try my hand at it but havent yet, maybe seeing yours will give me the push I need. Nice job, thanks foe sharing!

  10. michelle t May 21, 2015 at 5:05 pm #

    Very cool. It’s fun to experiment, and not have parameters or worry. Michelle t

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