When I published this earlier today, I discovered that the gallery of photos I had tried to use didn’t work. I’m revising it so these photos show up. Sorry for my error. Now the photos will show up but they may also be gigantic. I choose gigantic over non-existent.
Y’all know I’ve been exploring art journaling in a few different forms for quite a while. The process makes me happy, and when I’m focused in the right direction I even use it as a way of connecting with God. It can be a place to express, process, experiment, and all kinds of good stuff like that. I’ve found that when I don’t work in my art journal for a while I start to feel grumpy about it. Art journal = happy. No art journal = grumpy. Clearly I need my art journal in my life.
Just as I use my art journal in different ways, the whole art journal world has lots of different approaches to the process. One approach people use is to take a book and make it into a journal. It’s called an altered book.
It can be used lots of different ways, but before you can just start up and using one, you have to prepare it. If you don’t, many pages will wrinkle, curl up, or even soak up so much liquid (especially if you’re using watercolors) that they disintegrate. Paint on certain kinds of paper just beads up. There’s also the first-world problem of the book getting thicker with your original additions so that it won’t close. Boo hoo. It’s best to get the book ready before you ever put work into creating your own pages. I’ve been working on one, and thought I’d take you through the process.
First, you want to find a book that’s the right size for your purposes. I love the feeling of satisfaction I get when I fill an art journal, so I chose my book accordingly.
You’ll want to look for one that has words and/or pictures that appeal to you. The pages will work better if they’re not slick, but if you put enough gesso on them during the prep process, those might end up being okay. The word on the street is to look for a book where the pages have been sewn in as sections, rather being glued to the spine.
I wanted to see how matte medium would compare to the glue stick. I thought it might be too wet and make my pages start to fall apart.
There was one thing thing I especially wished I’d been able to listen to, and that was finding a book that had the pages sewn in rather than being glued into the spine. When the pages are sewn in, you can more easily fully remove pages to make room for all the great art you’re going to create. Alas, I couldn’t find a book that was a good size for me as well as having the right paper feel, word feel AND sewn pages. But here’s what happens after you just try to rip out the pages (I’ll have to go back with a straight edge and cut these out):
Not totally optimum. It’s okay. I use lots of layers and other papers on my pages and generally make a whole bunch of messes, so it will look fine when I’m done with it. Now I know better for next time.
After the page is gessoed and pretty much ready to go, here’s what the pages look like. The first one is the page prepared with glue, the second was prepared with matte medium.
Even up close there’s really not any difference between the two. I thought the matte medium version would have more air pockets, and there are probably a couple but no more than the pages prepared with glue.
The only thing missing now is the cover, but I haven’t got that ready yet, so you’ll have to come back next Thursday and I’ll try to include a photo.
Okay folks, that’s the step by step. I hope it’s helpful to you, especially if you’re trying to start from scratch with this process like I was. And in the next few weeks (on Thursdays) you can expect to see a few more pages from my art journal — I’m trying to be bold and share more of them. For today, I’ll leave you with this: Words have the power to open or close entire rooms…Choose them wisely.