Jane Davenport has inspired many people to create elegant and charming illustrations in their journals. She’s made this easy with how-to books, as well as useful & innovative art supplies.
Here’s her story, in her own words.
I bought one of her books, Beautiful Faces, because I felt like I was getting into a rut with my usual illustration techniques. (Generally, no one is likely to call my journals “cute,” but sometimes I’m aiming for pretty… and needed some insights. Jane’s book definitely helped.)
Next, in this demo, she shows how to use her die-cut embellishments. Wow! (I can see ways to use them in some Goth- and Steampunk-style artists’ journals, too. Purples, metallics, and so on…)
And here’s Tamara Laporte (Willowing Arts) demonstrating some of Jane’s art supplies. She starts with a blank page, then sketches in pencil, and then… well, you’ll see. (I’ve started the video at the 23-minute point. If you want to see the full unboxing, start from the beginning.)
If you like Tamara’s approach, take a look at the sample projects on her “Create Your Life” book page at Amazon. Those ideas may be all you need to start experimenting with new drawing, painting, and mixed-media techniques, right away.
But… no matter what your art journaling style, if you’re including your own illustrations, consider those materials and techniques.
Personally, I’m experimenting with magazine photos, pasting them (with gel medium) onto a painted page, sealing them with more gel medium, and then drawing & painting over them.
Lots of layers.
Not necessarily sweet or romantic, but these techniques & materials can work for more extreme artists’ journals, too.
Have the critics – including that inner critic – worn you down? Do you just want to curl up in bed and sleep, utterly overwhelmed by “impostor syndrome”?
If you’re fighting the snarky critic in your head (or maybe a few around you, in real life or online), Danielle Krysa’s TED Talk is powerful, and – admittedly – kind of painful at times. Watch it anyway.
And here she is, in her studio. I love the honesty in this.
Maps, cityscapes, landscapes… they’re not just for travel journals.
There are many ways you can include them in your personal art journals, too.
First, here’s Brie Hatton demonstrating urban sketching in her art journal. For many people, this is the easiest way to draw and paint local scenery in a journal. You can go for a walk, or sketch what’s outside your window.
The full video is about six minutes long, but I’ve set this to start at the four-minute mark. At that point, she’s done a light pencil sketch and has started using a marker over it, for her final lines. That’s what interested me the most: how she completed her sketch as a finished art journaling page.
Maybe drawing isn’t what you had in mind, but you’re still intrigued by landscapes.
If you’d like to create fine art abstract landscapes in your artists journal, I think Cathy Mevik’s demo will inspire you. If you’re not a painter, don’t let this scare you; I think anyone can create landscapes like these.
The video a little over 11 minutes long, but – for those who’d love to paint like this – it’s time well spent.
If you’d like to explore making maps, this book looks fascinating. As soon as I saw this review video, I ordered the book. (The video is eight minutes long, but you’ll get the general idea in the first two or three minutes.)
I thought it was okay, but I’ll admit it didn’t inspire me as much as I’d hoped. Here’s the Amazon link, anyway. Use the “look inside” to decide if it’s your kind of book: The Art of Map Illustration
If drawing and painting aren’t your strong suit, don’t despair. You can still bring maps and architectural designs to your journaling.
Here’s a landscape-y, map-y kind of art journaling demo. It’s by Carolyn Dube, and she uses a stencil, some acrylic paint, and a pen. The video is about four minutes long, and – once you get the idea – you can fast-forward through it to see how she completes it.
At first, Blythe Scott’s work may look like modern landscapes but, close-up, you’ll see mixed media elements. She’s using some materials that never crossed my mind, and they could go into a mixed media artists journals, too.
This five-minute video includes breathtaking outdoor scenes, how her art is inspired, and some great insights about studio work, using drawing, painting, and mixed media elements.
This 12-minute video is from Danny Gregory’s Sketchbook Club, showing the progress of “Moonlight Chronicles” art with Dan Price. I think it’s a wonderfully inspiring example of how you can share your art journaling with others.
Here’s a 35-minute video showing where Dan Price lives and works, in an underground, kind of Hobbit-ish home.
Need a quick jolt of inspiration for your art journaling? These brief videos can help… a lot!
Danny Gregory is an icon of art journaling. His artists journals were among the first to go viral, starting with his art journaling website and his books, including The Creative License – Giving Yourself Permission to Be the Artist You Truly Are.
Danny’s art is diverse. Watching these videos, I was inspired to break out my pens & paints, and start randomly journaling my day.
Here’s a brief (less than one-minute) video noting how drawing makes you see better. I like that he’s not super-finicky about things being perfect. Everything is suggested, and gives you a sense of what he’s drawing. It’s not intended to mimic a photograph.
And – also from Danny Gregory’s YouTube channel, here’s a brilliant, short video about learning to watercolor in three minutes. This demo is by Felix Scheinberger and I picked up some really useful tips. (I’m not so sure about using a lighter to dry the art faster, but – other than that – I’m ready to try some of his ideas.)
If you’d like to see how Danny Gregory uses pencil + watercolor in a journal – following Felix’s tips – the last couple of minutes of this next video add more insights about this technique. That’s why it starts around the 3:56 mark.
(The full video is worth your time, but I’m mindful of friends who want to get to the art instruction, ASAP. So, if you want more insights, just pause that video & start it from the very beginning.)
In the next video, artist Robert Burridge – in a “BobBlast” – shares how he layers his collages. His video is three minutes long and filled with ideas for using paper elements, gel medium, paint, and stencils.
Anne Bagby created some amazing mixed media work, including art journals. Her layered collages and journals have an extraordinary depth. In many of them, her use of cut paper unifies her designs. This five-minute video shows how she used quilting supplies to cut paper strips for a crisp, even effect.
To learn more about Anne’s techniques – with lots of photos from her gallery work – this 17-minute video is inspiring. It’s sort-of an illustrated podcast. (Don’t be put off by the opening. The video is filled with photos of her mixed media art. Absolutely astonishing. I kind of drooled over my keyboard, watching it.)
And, finally, here is an intriguing video by collage artist Michael Madzo. He’s working with his own paintings, paper elements, and gel medium, he’s also using sewing to bring added depth and meaning to his work. Though many artists don’t work with their own fine art paintings, Madzo’s techniques and concepts might spark some of your own collage ideas. The video is about five minutes long.
Finding and curating these videos, I found myself being tremendously inspired to revisit some of my own past paintings (ones that I wasn’t happy with) and see if some of these materials & techniques might bring new life and fresh energy to them.
Also, I’ll admit that I’m looking at some framed canvas images – posters, sort of – that we’d bought at IKEA, just to decorate the walls, short term. They might make wonderful starting points for mixed media embellishments.
This next video – also about five minutes long – shows how to create a travel journal before your trip. As she works, she talks about her plans to tour London. As you’ll see, she’s very organized, and leaves space to expand her journaling as she travels. I’m impressed.
This is another travel journal flip-through. It’s a basic design, but may give you ideas of things to save (and add) as you travel. I’m not sure you need to watch all five minutes of it, because you’ll get the idea fairly quickly. But, I like this because it’s a realistic travel journal… the kind that anyone can create and enjoy.