Finish Me! Art Journal - Tip Time

By now I hope all Finish Me! Art Journals will have found their way to their new homes and so I thought it would be time for some more tips, techniques and processes to try.

I know my inclusion of pages with text bound in upside down or top to bottom has caused a little consternation. There's method in my madness. I hope that you will consider all the papers in the book as raw materials. So text, rather than being words to be read is instead marks or pattern on a background. The colour and scale of the mark might vary, as might the linear direction it travels in. With that in mind, any pages with text on will make excellent backgrounds for all sorts of activities. Here's one thing you might like to try:

I've chosen to work on these two pages in my book. They both have quite small text on fairly neutral coloured backgrounds. On one page the text runs one way, the other is at right angles, no matter. Like I suggested in a previous post, I'm turning the book so it gives me a tall vertical format.

Try adding even more text. This is where you can start to bring some of your own ideas and personality to the book. I've recently been revisiting some work themed around poppies so I'm going with a phrase that's related to that work "what dreams may come?". You might go with thoughts, song lyrics, a poem, something descriptive, a journal entry...

I'm writing with a Sharpie for a bold, black permanent mark. My handwriting is much larger than the printed background text so I'm getting a nice contrast between the two.

Next step is to add a motif. I'm going with a seed head, but yours could be anything that's relevant to you or your book. I've found out an old photo back from the time that pre-dates digital photos when even rubbish pictures got printed. It's a boring photo, but it's going to work well for this.

I draw my motif on the back and cut it out with scissors. I'm letting serendipity take over here and am not planning which bit of the photo I'l get within the motif shape.

I've cut it carefully so I'm left with the background intact and a voided poppy shape. That might come in for another day.

Next it's time to glue it down. I like matte acrylic gel medium for this, but you could use whatever glue you like. I prefer the gel medium because it sticks everything down really well and also is a good base for painting on top of.

As you're working in your book you'll no doubt notice the different qualities that the papers have. Some are very smooth, some are much softer and more absorbent. I'm adding a thin layer of gel medium all over these pages to seal them and stop them being so absorbent. This means I'll be able to paint a wash over the top without the page drinking loads of paint and it seeping through to the back.

I'm using colour to introduce some contrast between the poppy cutout and the handwritten text background. A wash of transparent watercolour works nicely for this.

As you can see, often with art journaling the secret of making pages is to layer techniques and media. I hope you have fun giving some of these a try.

Back soon,


  1. Thanks for the great tips. I hadn't thought about using gel medium as a ground. I was going to use gesso, but really didn't want to block out all the text. Of course, I have to read all the articles first! LOL! I read one about tending to one's cat over the holidays, and I've learned new words. So much fun!

  2. I'm having fun reading some of the pages too! And there's even some bits relevant to almost where I live. Great fun. I've dusted some with Brusho powders on a wet ground for interesting effects.

  3. can wait to start, but fist to the hairdresser and then to the dokter en dan it is play time!

  4. Love this post. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Another great idea and one I will try. Thanks for sharing, I'm really enjoying using my journal and I could see this design becoming your next art quilt!


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