Art Journaling: Let’s Get Started!

I really adore art journals, ATCs (artist trading cards) and decorated mail. Don’t you? I love the time and effort that goes into creating them and the mixed-media collaging that tends to take place. I’m kind of new to the scene, I have to admit, and I was never much of a scrapbooker so I figured a great creativity challenge for myself would be to start an art journal.

Why don’t you start one with me? (If you already have one start a new one, we’ll be doing more spreads in the future.)

First off, if you don’t have a journal (I needed a new one) you’ll need to get one. Composition notebooks work great and they’re inexpensive. I’m using a small Moleskin because I like to do things small-scale. If you have an old notebook lying around with some old notes that you don’t need anymore feel free to use it. You can always cover the notes with paint, marker, paper and decorations.

You’ll also need to prepare the pages beforehand with gesso, glue sticks or rubber cement and maybe some Mod Podge to paint the page with when you’re finished?

Let’s start the journal off with a self-portrait or representation of you, your name and 5 things you love (this is to inspire your decorations!). For this spread you’ll need to cut out photos of things you love either via magazines or your printer, to find patterns on scrapbook paper and fabric that you like and a colorful selection of paint/markers/pens.

first art journal attempt

My list of 5 things I love was coffee/tea, hearts, stars, unicorns and Japanese candy. I am represented as Rainbow Brite because my brother wanted to name me that when I was born. Also, my name is in Katakana because once upon a time I left my heart in Japan.

How did yours turn out? Please email it to us so I can post it here.

If you’re interested in learning more about Non-Digital Art Journaling there’s a great article to get you started here and an AMAZING ecourse I just found out about (and that I really must participate in) here — looks like a great class to get your inspiration juices flowing and to learn a lot about yourself!

Here are some gorgeous journal pages I found while surfing Flickr to get you inspired.

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Art journal happiness
journal 07 10 11
ICAD #22
Oslo Travel Journal_Day 3
Art Journal Page

Let’s Start Digital Scrapbooking

Because I’ve never actually made myself finish a digital scrapbook page this feature gave me a reason to pick up the hobby as well! Why digital? It’s much easier if your photos are digital, you can scan and photograph favorite patterns AND you don’t have to keep a big box of paper and glue handy for scrapbooking~ this is especially important for minimal me.

Colette Month 1
My first digital scrapbooking attempt.

What do you need to get started with digital scrapbooking?

A bunch of patterned paper to scan or a collection (think of a theme!) of digital scrapbooking materials.
A digital camera, scanner or collection of scanned photos.
A photo editing program.
Creativity and patience.

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Which photo editing program should you choose?
Are you a beginner or have you had experience with more challenging programs? If you are a beginner, you may want to purchase a first-time user friendly program such as Adobe Elements or Corel Paint Shop Pro. If you have more experience with more challenging graphics programs, you may want to invest money in a professional program like Adobe Photoshop.

How hard is digital scrapbooking?

It’s not hard at all! With a few design elements and a graphic design program just about anyone can throw together a scrapbook page, even a child. Don’t let it scare you away, it’s easy, entertaining and fun!

Digital Scrapbooking Materials

Kitschy Digitals
Two Peas in a Bucket
Jessica Sprague
Pugly Pixel Freebies
Designer Digitals
DigiScrap Boutique
Scrap Girls
Free Digital Scrapbooking

Your Style

In creating a digital layout from scratch, there are the same basic steps: add background paper, add photos, create photo mats or accent papers, add embellishments (if desired), and finish with text. You can use these steps to create your own personal style, whether it’s clean and streamlined like a magazine layout or contains drop-shadows and a more traditional paper feel. With digital scrapbooking there are about a million ways to go and it’s all up to you to define your own personal style!

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by Nicole LeBlanc

Methods

Instant-Page
You can download or purchase a pre-made layout template for easy scrapbooking. This is a great way to begin if you’d like to learn the ropes and get used to the techniques. Simply add your photos and text for instant pages.

Build it Yourself
Once you’re ready to start designing your own pages using your own embellishments or downloaded embellishments you can follow this tutorial:

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by Jennifer Johner

The Makings of a Digital Layout

The following is an outline of the steps needed to create a basic digital layout from scratch. Don’t get overwhelmed, it’s quite easy to follow along with your own design program.

Create a New (Blank) Image
Determine the size of the layout you would like, such as 8.5” x 11”.
180-225 dpi is a good resolution for inkjet printers; 300 dpi is professional quality.
Enter the settings in your software’s new image dialog box, including a white background, then press OK.
At this point, and frequently throughout the design process, save your layout as a TIF so all the layers remain intact and you can go back and make changes to individual layers whenever you wish. Choose File > Save As and then save as a TIF.

Add Photos
To add a photo to a layout, browse your file system to find photos or drag them into your program (Mac).
Click and drag photos into the layout or use the edit/copy and edit/paste commands to paste them into your new layout.
Move and resize the photos as you desire, there’s no glue involved so you can always change your mind later!

Create Background
Use a paint-fill, pattern or downloaded background.
Creating your own is just as easy as photographing a favorite blanket or piece of paper.

Add Text
Using your text tool, pick the text color, font, and font size. Then click the mouse on the page where your text should be placed and type away. Try different sizes, colors and effects for differentiation between text elements — such as journaling and dates!

Add Ready-made Embellishments
For a punch of detail and splash of color, you can add ready-made embellishments (visit the sites above to download some!) that can be dragged onto your layouts.
While your layout is open, choose File > Open and browse your hard-drive for which embellishment(s) you’d like to add, open them, and then drag them into your layout. You can change their rotation, color, and size, if desired.

Save File for Printing and/or Web Display
Save the final image as a TIF — for a high-resolution print you can print from this file.
If saving to print elsewhere, save as a full-size PDF or JPG file.
To make your file ready for web, save as72 dpi, about 500-600 pixels wide and as JPG.

That’s just a bit of information to get you started, hopefully this sends you into a frenzy of creating your own scrapbook pages digitally. For more help with your graphic program view the instruction manual or search the web for more tutorials. There are many great scrapbooking blogs and forums for you to play around on and get more inspiration~ go explore the world wide wonderland!

Our own Wendy Rose tried her hand at scrapbooking as well and found a new delightful hobby to share.

Strawberries
by Wendy Rose

Miseducated Scrapbook: Online Art Journaling

Yikes! I’ve missed you so much lately and getting to be creative in both work and play. This past week was entirely draining but I left it feeling much more enlightened (..and slow ..and tired .. and pregnant).

I have never experienced happiness like this, absolute fulfillment.. Colette opened a new book of endless inspiration and motivation to create the world we want.

Did I tell you she’s kicking now?

So anyway, as of recently I’ve been getting back into keeping my sketch/idea book up to date and I’ve found out that still the craft of art journaling is still so fun and addicting. I decided to share it with you and inspire you to do your own journal, letters or scrapbooks! Big plans for these so if you’re interested in contributing please let me know!

So I’ve written you a little letter..

As for inspiration.. hit up your local thrift store and flip through the vintage magazines. When I feel uninspired I take a break with my magazine collection and then I imagine ways to translate home decor into web design and graphic art. It’s even great for inspiration to just relax and read as I’ve said before. Remember, a 20 minute break can help tremendously!

Until later, stay sweet, inspired and colorful.

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