Art Journaling? Travel Journal Inspiration!

Ready to travel… or just dreaming of it? A travel journal can be an adventure, even when you’re at home. Get inspired, here…

I fell in love with these videos, talking about travel journaling ideas. I think you will, too. The first one is 10 minutes – longer than I usually feature, here – but it’s loaded with fresh ideas.

Video URL: https://youtu.be/oAxVp25pMHs

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Here’s another short (five minute) video about assembling a travel diary or journal. It’s clean, simple, and something you can create on-the-road, or after you get home.

Video URL: https://youtu.be/GrALoOPk0lw

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.

Video URL: https://youtu.be/goxu7m--w0Y

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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.

Video URL: https://youtu.be/tsX4aDMkJrw

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Art Journaling Backgrounds – The Excitement Starts Here!

Does your art journal begin with a background? Do those colors and mood spark your creativity? Ooh, take a look at what others are doing…

For many of us, background colors and textures inform everything else we do with the page.

These artists videos are short and fun and… wow!

The first is by Purdy Creative Things. I love the variety she achieves, so quickly and with such simple techniques.

Next, this 8-minute video by Mercurial Milk presents some juicy colors and varied ideas, with useful tips for five different art journaling backgrounds.

The next video is by Maremi’s Small Art, and she shows how to create a textured, magical art background.  This video is nearly 10 minutes long, but worth watching, even if you skip ahead as you understand each step.

The next video is by that same artist. It includes several one-minute background techniques. All of them are simple and use just a few colors and tools.

The video is about 7 1/2 minutes long, if you watch it all the way through. The techniques are repetitive, but each background is unique. I think the variety will inspire you to try some of her ideas, yourself.

And, in Mark Montano‘s video – about 4 1/2 minutes long – he assembles completed artist’s journals pages.

I’m including this video because many of his techniques are fast and easy ways to create vivid, unique journal page background, too.

After watching these, I’m ready to work on my journal. I hope you’re excited about these materials and techniques, too.

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Art Journaling – Make Your Own Magpie Journals

What are magpie journals, in the art journaling community…?

Well, magpies are known for collecting all kinds of things, especially shiny objects… but that may be just a legend.

So, a “magpie journal” is an assortment of things you’ve collected, organized as (or in) a journal… or something journal-ish. I like to use that term loosely. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a “journal” if you say it’s a journal. No other rules apply.

Magpie journals are especially fun.

  • They may be random or themed.
  • They can be entirely paper, or mixed media, and include random objects.
  • Items can be glued, sewn, clipped, or collaged to your pages. (There are no limits.)
  • Don’t want to attach the item? Can’t attach it? Some items could be in pockets or fold-outs.

The earliest magpie journals I could find were from a 2012 Swap-bot swap.

Magpie Journals, in Videos

Here’s a video from 2013. It’s about 7 minutes long and it’s of one of those early, Swap-bot magpie journals. You’ll get the idea in the first few minutes. It’s by Diane Baker-Williams.

Link: https://youtu.be/_SGztluUtFg

Next, take a look at this 2-minute video by Wishfulkelly, and it’s described as a smash book / glue book / Magpie journal. It’s a very quiet video, with music playing faintly in the background. It’s fun.

Link: https://youtu.be/Hzy6x87zIDA

Another video I’d shared was by Paula Foerder… but she’s made it private. * sigh and pout *  I’m leaving the link here because I thought her video was SO inspiring. Maybe she’ll allow you to see it? Link: https://youtu.be/RCfSp1LanFM

Next, Elizabeth Metz (Conifer Crow) creates “magpie bundles,” which are mixed media journals you can leave as-is, or take apart, embellish, and add to. The following is a 6-minute video showing one of her smaller bundles. (This one has already sold.)

I like this video as a starting point, to imagine my own mixed-media magpie journals.

Link: https://youtu.be/Ha931rXhY-E

Also, you’ll find lots of inspiration at Theresa Mask’s Magpie Journal Pinterest board.

Free Magpie Clipart

If you’d like to create your own magpie journal, here’s a sheet of printable clipart to get you started. It was created at 300 dpi, which means you could probably enlarge the pictures to double their size (at 150 dpi) and they might look fine.

The original is black & white. If you print it on heavy paper, you could color it with paint, pens, colored pencils, etc.

I’ve tried to place the images far enough apart that you can cut each one out (or tear it out) to use in collage.

To download, click on the picture
or use this link: http://bit.ly/magpiepix
(You can share that link, too. It’s a PDF at Google Drive.)

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Art Journaling with Magazine Images – Part 1

Art journaling with magazine images can be relaxing and fun, and make a statement at the same time.

It’s something anyone can do, with no art training at all.

Since the 1990s, that was one of my missions: To show people – especially women – that they could express themselves in art, no matter what.

Initially, I focused on torn-paper collages, because they were easy and were supposed to look a little “messy.”

Also, some of the words & slogans in magazine advertisements… wow! They can be great lines to include in your artist’s journal.

If you’re art journaling with magazine photos and text here are some videos that may inspire you.

First, a short video of Kelly Kilmer flipping through some of her artist’s journals. She uses lots of magazine images in her work, but also pens, paint and other fine art supplies.

Not seeing that video? It's at https://youtu.be/gVfe1wlwbd0 where you can find more of Kelly's art journaling videos, too.

In the next video, you’ll see how pitje4life adds magazine images – one over another – in her journal. (This starts part-way through the video, where she’s actually putting the images on the page.)

I don’t recommend using white glue to attach paper, because you risk it bubbling the paper, even after it’s dry. But… I’ll talk about that, later. First, the video:

Link: https://youtu.be/uo0Wsf2kaqc

Instead of white glue, I recommend something like Golden acrylic medium (Soft Gel, Gloss). I apply it gently with a sponge brush. Then I place the paper where I want it to stay. After that, I leave it as it is.

Do not smooth it, or you’ll stretch the damp paper and it will stay bubbled after it dries.

(I learned that technique from collage artist Claudine Hellmuth, when we both taught at Artfest.)

Also – from my experience – I have better luck letting the collage air-dry, instead of applying heat. (Your mileage may vary.)

Or, you could try gluesticks, as Jenn does in the following video. It’s about 10 minutes long, and she shows you exactly how her two-page collage came together. It’s from the “One Magazine Challenge.”

Her YouTube channel is Art Therapy with Jenn. Video link: https://youtu.be/H6FFrTRLf84

And, if you’re wondering where artists find delightful and deliciously quirky images for these kinds of collages, here’s Colleen McCulla‘s seven-minute video explaining her resources.

Link: https://youtu.be/EfliO_D78QE

I hope those videos inspired you to create some magazine collages in your artist’s journals. (I can hardly wait to start a new journal, after seeing these.)

If you have any questions or tips, I hope you’ll leave a comment, below.

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Folded Paper Art Journals

Artists’ journals can be as big – or small – as you like, especially if you make them by hand.

You can even start with a single sheet of paper and – in just a minute or two – fold it into a simple journal.

Here are some videos to inspire you.

Folded Journal One

First, here’s a video by Cathy Johnson. She’s probably best known for her watercolors and mixed media art. Here’s part of her longer video about folded-page journals.

To see the entire video from the beginning, visit https://youtu.be/CffQyRdTDUc

And, you can subscribe to Cathy’s YouTube channel … she’s posted many videos to inspire you!

Folded Journal Two

Of course, you don’t have to stop with a single sheet of paper. For a larger journal – or a journal-inside-a-journal – you could add more (and larger) sheets of paper.

LK Ludwig – part of the original artists’ journals movement – filmed this several years ago. In less than a minute, you can see various ways she uses fold-out pages in one of her handmade journals.

I think those are brilliant folding ideas, to get the most from any artist’s journal.

Here’s the link to her YouTube channel: Lk Ludwig

But maybe you want something small, different, and a little quirky. The next couple of videos may inspire you.

Folded Journal Three

This one is a journal-in-a-journal, best if you want to expand an existing journal. It’s from Paper Pixie, and it’s a fun idea.

You can watch this video and others at Paper Pixie's YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrE5BOtFFlaurAulAU3C0Ig

Folded Journal Four

This video is longer than the others – a little over six minutes – and filled with ideas. In some ways, it’s similar to Cathy’s video… but this is simpler. Also, unless you attach a couple of these – back to back – it produces an art journal with fewer pages.

I love this concept if you’re starting with scrapbooking paper, or sheets of paper ephemera.

It’s one of many projects Maremi features at her YouTube channel.

What are your favorite folded journal ideas? I hope you’ll share your thoughts in comments, below.

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Altered Book Art Journaling – How-To

Altered books are a great way to create an art journal. It’s recycling, in a way, but with lots of added benefits.

Drink up these videos for ideas!

The next one is a lovely demonstration by Art by Silas. It shows how to create a mixed media artist’s journal. It includes torn paper collage – one of my favorite techniques. And it’s a good way for a beginner to get art journaling ideas. (The video is about five and a half minutes long.)

Here’s the video:

If you like this video, be sure to see Silas’ other videos at YouTube. She has a delightful sense of style.

The next video features a style almost 180-degree different from Silas’ style. Dana S’s altered book is somewhat dark, Steampunk-ish, and a bit Goth. I love the variety in it!

And here’s Karen Gaunt’s “lazy” tips to altered book art journaling. If you want to cover pages quickly, her tips can be very useful.

And finally, if you want to go extreme with your altered books, check this next clever concept… a book with added drawers!

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Journals as Story Bibles

When I’m not working on art, I’m usually researching and writing books… mostly fiction, but some true-life stories, as well.

Journaling your story bible - a tip for fiction writersSo, I was excited when I saw someone talk about journaling as a way to plot a book.

(This concept was sparked by an article – now gone – called RJ’s Guide on Creating a Story Bible. You can read a similar piece at Jane Friedman’s site, “The Story Bible: What It Is…“)

What’s a story bible? Well, it’s a notebook (or some other system) where you keep your ideas for your book:

  • Locations
  • Characters
  • Background information, like history (real or imagined)
  • Plot ideas
  • Plot twists
  • Sequel ideas, if you might make this into a book series

There’s something rich and juicy about using pen-and-paper as much as possible, when writing.

Often, by using a journal as a story bible – mixing writing & graphics – my books seem to write themselves.

Oh, I’m still writing my books in Scrivener.  For me, that’s the easiest way to create Kindle books and printed manuscripts. (I also use voice recognition software, so I don’t have to type anything, if I don’t want to. That’s a time-saver and avoids carpal tunnel issues.)

But the idea of using a journal – written and visual (art journaling) – plan a short story or novel… I really like this.

Let me know if you try it, and any tips you have for fellow artsy writers. Leave a comment – or question – below.

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Journal Your Way to Happiness

Journaling is included in this TED talk about the “happy secret” approach to living a more fun, productive, rewarding life.

It starts with how you feel, and how positive you are.  Your emotional level — how happy you are — determines how happy your life events are.

Click the Play arrow to watch it.  The video is about 12 minutes long, and very worthwhile.

If you’re in a hurry (though I hope you’re not), the screenshot below shows you the point to fast-forward to.  Start at about the 11 minute marker.  (The graphic, below, is a screenshot… click on the video above, to watch it.)

All of those suggestions can help.

Of course, “meditation” will mean different things to different people.

Journal your way to happiness - studies show that it works!They may include things like:

  • Prayer
  • Conscious meditation
  • Admiring art in a museum, gallery or studio, or even
  • The simple act of “being there”… being in the moment.

I believe the more of these elements you can include in your life, the happier you’ll feel.

Journaling each day — making notes (words, images, a recording, etc.) about one happy event of that day — can make a big difference in your happiness.

The studies were based on a 21-day practice of… well, whichever of those choices seem most appealing to you. 

Sometimes, people will become happier the first day.  Others will need to develop the habit, and — somewhere around day 21 — the person will pause and realize that she (or he) is feeling happier.

Colors seem brighter.

There seem to be more opportunities, more fun, and more whimsy in daily life.

Serendipity is in your favor, and life is better.

Maybe you can journal your way to happiness. It’s worth trying.

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