Tag Archives: technique

Art Journaling Technique: Grunge Backgrounds

This video is about how to make a cool grunge textured background. I looks like peeling billboards and paper. Easy to do. You need the following to create this back ground:

  • gesso
  • acrylic paint
  • Glue (PVA)
  • Watercolor crayons, pencils or paints
  • Spray inks (optional)
  • Sanding Sponge or sandpaper
  • Magazine with glossy pages.


Technique Videos

 Below you’ll find a list of art jouranling technique videos available for FREE on youtube, Vimeo and Blip.

This is a list of peeps I’ think make videos without too much bull
shit. You won’t need to fast forward through half the video to get to
the techniques being shown, listen to minutes of inane babbling before
you get to the real thing your there for. IN no particular order and
with commentary:

  • MIllande.
    Her videos kick serious butt. She focuses straight away on technique.
    It’s all how to and what to do with a serious focus on real techniques
    and not expecting you to create in her exact style. Information without
    BS. She does do classes but she does a ton on youtube.
  • Willowing.
    Some BS* but a lot of video of her making art. A lot of videos of her
    making art in journals. She shows her techniques. She also does online
  • SamanthaKira.
    She’s occasionally a little long winded and occasionally she gets into
    scrapbook mode but her videos are filled with technique and little to
    no BS.
  • TheOneMinuteMUse The one minute muse has videos that are all about 1 minute in length to give you some ideas to start creating.
  • GaryReef gary
    reef is not technically an art journaler but he has hundreds of videos
    up on youtube all about art and making art, and he makes some of them
    in his underwear. 
  • ArtCentrix Not cute art. Love that. No BS either. The techniques are pretty clearly detailed and shot.
  • TheArtJournal. No BS here either, just video of the artist working
  • Mystele All art technique and watching her paint. No BS. Some talking but it’s about ART.
  • Rhomany’sRealm Some BS* but good videos of her making art, and generally positive videos about art journal keeping. She does do some classes through Willowing’s Ning site.

If you have any links to a youtuber without the bull shit leave a
comment and I can add it to the list. I”m going to make this a “page”
that will be links on the left of my blog all the time.

*On this page I mean BS to mean that there is talk, not the style of BS that got me started in making this page which is negativity and a general LACK of art discussion or technique or simple pimping of one’s art classes.

Backgrounds: A Way to get past that Blank Page Part 1


It's a basic thing. I don't see it as a necessary start to all pages. Becuase it's just not. If you work with a heavier page you don't need it. It's nice, it stiffens the page and adds some texture. You can get gesso in a lot of colors now- black, clear, white various other colors. You can also mix regular white or clear gesso with colored acrylics to get any shade you want, and I'm going to tell you how to mix it with watercolor crayons later in this post.

I'm working in a great notebook my friend Jen made me for a Facebook craft exchange. It's a salvaged hardy boys mystery cover filled with recycled pages. the paper is a variety of weights- I assume around 18# and 20# bond paper, computer paper and the like Its cot some printed stuff on one side. This paper needs the love of gesso to stand up the the abuse I'm going to put it through.

So the first thing I do is get out my gesso. I use liquitex, its not too heavy and isn't too wet. It works for me. I put it on with a rather soft brush so I get a nice thin coat. The brush I'm using is a soft old watercolor wash brush, a cheap one that I've previously abused the hell out of.




thin coat done. Easy. I like to work on a bunch of pages at a time. I hate washing brushes. So I separate my pages with freezer paper or waxed if I have it, sheets of plastic, whatever I have on hand. I look at gesso'd and painted pages at this stage as part of the process, something to gain inspiration from.

Moving onto coloring the gesso. I grab my water color crayons and add a thin layer of crayon on, scribble it, no real pattern.



Here you wet your brush and thin the gesso just slightly, so it will wet the crayon and mix it. Spread it around and add more gesso until you get the color you like and the texture you want.



Coat a page with gesso, while still wet randomly drop a few drops of liquid latex paint (ore regular), just a few drops. And start brushing wildly around the page. Blend it in until you like it. I like to leave the areas of color unmixed. (I'm using making memories liquid acrylic. I snagged it on clearance with a set of sweet foam stamps. BUT it's not a bad liquid acrylic. and on clearance who can beat that price?)





All of these pages were done in about a 45 minute stretch of time. Sometimes I force myself to sit down with my jo
urnal and just color pages. It's relaxing and after a tough day at work, I need to unwind but I'm not in the frame of mine to draw, sketch or journal. Something that doesn't require thought like this, it allows me to meditate on relaxation, listen to some good music and really just enjoy a few moments in my own head with out a worry. Because really, how can I f*ck up gesso? (that's a rhetorical question and I had several art professors who were really neurotic about how gesso is applied.)

Next installment: Paint on a page, sandpaper, and watercolor crayons

Working on it…

Last night while toning some pages (that's what I call it after an art teacher who used to call coloring a canvas toning it) I decided to shoot some pictures of my process.

I did a few set ups:

  • plain gesso
  • gesso with watercolor crayons
  • gesso and acrylic
  • acrylic
  • acrylic and watercolor crayon
  • Gesso background with sharpie on top and gesso on sharpie

I'll put up a few posts with the pictures here, the pictures will only be here and NOT on my flickr stream. I"m going to shoot for Saturday to have those posts done and will post them starting then. I"ll do themm split up because they will be so image heavy.

Technique Video- Backgrounds

I hate working on a plain white page, even when I'm drawing I tend to go through my sketchbooks and tone my pages with watercolor or gouache. I like how it changes the texture of he page and leaves me with something more interesting than plain white or cream. Youtuber ricefz uses ink pads and brushes to create a soft toned background for journaling.

A toned background can also help get you past that scary "white background"syndrome so many of us have. I hate working on a plain page. The white page can be so intimidating, especially if you buy a really nice handmade journal. Last night I was starting on a journal that my friend Jen made for me. (Hardy Boys Salvaged book cover!!!) I was exhausted so I went through the first half of the journal and gesso'd the pages. Gesso is not a must do step for me. I like it but it limits the pens I cna use on the page- I find it's very rough on nibs and ruins them fast. So I stick to sharpies on gesso. I then went through the book with some colored acrylic (making memories brand- purchased on clearance) and added a touch of color to some pages, planned out an entry on one page but really randomly added color to the pages. After taht I added a touch more color to the page with my watercolor crayons. Mostly I added those becuase the acrylic tends to stick if I don't add something a little waxy to the top of them. So now I have a super cool journal about half filled with simply colored pages, ready for me to write and glue and pain in.