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First Journal Girl in mixed media.

I used dollar store acrylic for tole painting, some paper napkins for the background and colouring pencil for shading and some of the details.

"Go and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here. Make. Good. Art. " ~Neil Gaiman

This first experience was quite satisfying in a zen kind of way. After all, who wants to be stressed while working in a mere journal?

Often friends will tell me they cannot draw or conversely, they used to draw a long time ago but stopped.

My answer is to say that everyone can draw or collage or paint. Art needn't be about just any one thing. Art can be a mix of all kinds of creative ideas flowing together.

People who write in a diary don't expect or even want their diary to be published. They write for their own pleasure and relaxation.

We learn as we are creating; we are making interesting mistakes! Nothing is ever lost.

I am likely to give up when my art is in the ugly stage, a part of the process that simply seems to be daunting for many artists.

Usually, if I keep going, I end up with something pleasing and I have learned something along the way.

What would it take to get you started?

1. You don't need an art journal. But if this is what makes you feel good to get started then by all means, buy yourself a journal. Strathmore makes an excellent Mixed Media Visual Journal with 140 lb vellum finish but this is only one of many different types of journals. You will have to find which journal works best for you.

2. You can use many items that you might have around your house:

  • Torn up magazines, newspapers, old books, are great for collage.
  • Forgotten leftover paper napkins with lovely designs are pretty when they are glued onto a painted background.
  • Bubble wrap creates repetitive patterns when it is used as a stamp. Simply spread some acrylic paint over the bubbles and the stamp onto your project.
  • Foam squares are also effective when they are carved or cut and made into stamps.

(bubble wrap and home made stamps made with foam craft squares were used in this sketchbook drawing of plumbing)

3. The local dollar store can be a treasure trove for your artwork especially in the beginning. I found some very inexpensive acrylic paint that I used in my journal as well as some pens that work wonderfully when I want to add some details to my watercolour pieces or acrylic experiments.

4. If you don't like the idea of having to clean up too much, you can opt for coloured pens or pencils or watercolour pencils or sticks as your favourite medium. Quick and easy! I often work at the kitchen table with my watercolours, or markers and use my craft room when I start collaging, stamping, and painting with acrylic.

5. You have assembled everything. Good! Now you might ask what do I draw? The answer is simple.

Let the object speak to your heart. When I began drawing again, I started with people and dogs.

Look around your house. A pear sitting on the table in the afternoon sun might be an interesting subject, or perhaps a favourite toy or stuffed animal that your child has left lying on the floor might do the trick for you.

Look around you for the simple things that mean a lot to you for whatever reason.

If the object speaks to your heart, it will shine in your art. You can quote me on that!

6. The old adage applies: if at first you don't succeed, try again but don't throw away your first attempts. I always find it interesting to see the progress I am making as the months and the years go by.

With some of the old art, I can cut up the paper and reuse (artists are excellent at recycling) or I can paint over a canvas and try something else.

Just don't give up. Make glorious, fantastic mistakes. Break rules!

Remember, there is no art teacher grading your work. This is for your own eyes unless you want to share it with the world.

Make. Good. (for you) Art.

2 Responses

  • Merci pour tous tes bons conseils, Louise. C’est beau, le partage. J’espère que tu auras réussi à convaincre de futurs artistes de se lancer au dessin !! Ne serait-ce que pour relaxer. Je ne suis pas adepte encore, sait-on jamais, je réussirai peut-être à m’asseoir un jour pour suivre tes excellents conseils !! A+ Marie

    • L’essentiel c’est de faire quelque chose de divertissant, qqchose qui nous plait. Je me souviens de la belle broderie que tu faisais il y a longtemps. Avec la famille, le travail, ET la ferme, tu ne dois pas avoir une minute de trop dans ta journée! Merci d’avoir laissé le commentaire. Louise x

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