Anatomy of an Art Journal page

When you are learning new techniques, it is always so helpful to see how someone else approaches the dreaded blank page. It does not matter how experienced you are, the blank page can make you nervous.

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I started off with very basic supplies. My yellow paint is not a cheap one but it very easily could have been.  It is just what I have.  The Painters Pens are from Walmart, a Pilot Permaball pen, a pencil, eraser and some washi tape.  I used a hotel card and my fingers.  No brushes, no gesso, nothing scary.

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I opened my art journal ( this is the Dyan Reavsley large journal) to a blank(ish) page.  I had a corner of a napkin glued down on it from six months ago. Otherwise, blank. 

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I picked three colors. I was definitely influenced by that lime sitting there so I decided it was a no brainer - yellow, lime green and white. These three colors are going to blend well together without getting muddy. I smear them from the tube onto the page.  No prep, no palette, no tools. Squeeze and blop.

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Spread the colors using hotel card. Literally just spread. If this takes more than 30 seconds, you are overthinking it.

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I dried it with a heat tool and decided it was a little dark.  I wanted it lighter. More white please. Squeeze and blop.

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Yes, that's better. Dry.

Now it is time to add some interest and layers. The key here is not to think about it, not to plan it. Art journaling is about playing and letting things happen. You really do have to just trust that no matter what happens along the way that at the end you are going to have something you like. Trust me, there will be a time along the way where you say - this is NEVER going to look good.  UGLY!! Push on. Never stop at ugly. It's a half-baked brownie.  Push on and trust.

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I grabbed an orange paint pen and started.  I like circles. It's an easy place to start.  Don't know what to do? Draw circles. Imperfect, scratchy circles. Think in odd numbers. 

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I grabbed a yellow paint pen and drew more circles and dots. I spaced them around the orange circles so they felt connected. It is a way to enhance what you started and keep the elements connected. That is a good thing.

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Now grab some of that washi tape you have from prepping your planner. Add it. I like to add the tape in little collections - meaning I had a bunch of tape in 3 different spots.  They overlap and again feel connected to each other.  That's good. They add pattern, color and texture.

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Now I want some marks. I grabbed my Pilot Permaball pen and I added marks. I chose asterisks, circles and arrows. These are scratchy, imperfect and fast.  My one piece of advice is keep arrows pointing INTO your piece. You don't want to draw the viewer's eye off your page. You want them to stay a while and notice all your hard work.

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Then I wrote. What do you write? Honestly, it is for texture so it does not matter.  Do not struggle with this. Write what is in your head, write the lyrics to the song you are listening to, the dialogue of the TV show that is on or the song you sing to your kids.  Scribble and --- done.

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I decided I wanted a doodled flower on the page because I love doodled flowers. So I did.  I doodled along the edge of the pages for fun.

Ok, ready?! More layers. We are going to cover up some of those things we just did. Yup, cover it.

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I grabbed some teal paint and some white paint and covered up part of the elements.  This is where you mind will tell you that you have ruined it, that it is ugly, what were you thinking. Tell it to be quiet and push on. Repeat with me - half-baked brownie.

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I wanted to tone down that teal so I scraped white over it and over a lot of the page. Toning down and blending the page into a more cohesive design.

I like this. I am happy with this as a layered background. Now I want it to have a focal point.