Ten Go-to Elements to Use in Your Journal.

  1. Mark-making: Make any type of marks to begin your journaling. These will most likely be hidden the more you add. Even if they aren’t hidden, you’ll have some interesting marks peeking out.
  2. Adding texture and depth with paper: One of the foundational activities in starting a journal is to glue papers down to provide texture on the page. You can use tissue paper, napkins, decorative cardstock, old dress patterns, newspaper, or any other type of interesting paper. Rip the paper into interesting shapes and paste in various places on your page.
  3. Gesso: Use gesso to bring elements together and add additional texture. White, slightly watered-down gesso can soften harsh lines and colors. Black gesso can help ground your work. Gold gesso can provide a vintage look to your page. There are many other colors that can be used, but these are general go-to options.
  4. Adding color: There are many ways to add color in your journal but these are some easy and fun options: acrylic paint, Distress Ink and Distress Oxides, watercolors, Pan Pastels, color sprays, and colored pencils.
  5. Stamping: Any stamp would be fine. However, I find that unmounted stamps work best when creating just background layers. Stamp across the page, sideways, and upside down to create background design elements.
  6. Stenciling: Stencils help to create additional layers and can be used with paint, markers, and even molding paste!
  7. Scribbling fake words: This is a fabulous technique that I learned from Pam Carriker. It is another way to create interest. When using paint, water it down a bit and use a fine-line precision applicator to apply the wording. Use a spray bottle to spray the wording and make it run down the page. You could also consider Pam Carriker’s Permanent Liquid Pencil. Fabulous stuff!
  8. Highlighting and shading: Creating highlights and shading around the intended focus of the journal piece can result in some startling effects. If your focus piece feels like it is drowning in the background, highlight around it by using Payne’s Gray Pan Pastel, white paint, or other colors to help it stand away from the page. Gold paint will also help illuminate your work.
  9. Adding text/numbers: I admit that I just cannot stop using text and numbers in my journaling. Using text can help establish meaning for your page much like the title of a poem does. Likewise, using a number can help ground the page or create added design interest. I personally love using odd numbers.
  10. Series marks: Making a series of similar marks can also enhance the viewer’s perception of your piece. I like to create lines of dots and dashes, probably a throwback from my late father’s days as a Morse code operator. You can also draw circles, squares, or triangles, or squiggly lines if you are feeling a bit funky.

Anne Marie