When time is limited...

Few projects can be worked as quickly as those involving some amount of collage. Perfection is not the point...a journal is a place of discovery.  It's a place to let loose!

(This post was first published in December 2017).

I have a big box of "treasures" I use for collaging when I am in a hurry. My treasures include clippings from magazines, lovely patterned napkins, Gelli printed papers, as well as store-bought scrapbook and art papers.

Toni Burt, an Australian artist, uses all types of ephemera in the background of her luscious art done in various books. Ivy Newport also collects vintage papers and old ledgers for her beautiful journals.

This journal entry is inspired by one of Annie Hamman's journal portraits.

A while back, I was given an old discarded library book with extra large, thick pages - exactly the kind of book that is well suited to being repurposed. I love this book for experimenting, but it isn't the first time I repurpose an old book.

Any book can be repurposed but some are better than others. What do you do with those old glossy travel books? They can be recycled as in the one from Capri to paint mermaids.

A few tips to keep in mind when using a repurposed book:

If the pages in the book are thin, you must glue several pages together so that they hold up to the paint application. Matte medium works well for this but you could use Modge Podge or other glue. Let the pages dry.

Cool colours
Photo by Denise Johnson at unsplash.

Use an old credit card to remove air pockets. It's not critical if there are air pockets though as this is journaling for fun.

Gesso is your friend. Glossy pages will not take paint very well so you need to prepare the pages. Gesso has a gritty feel to it and acrylics will love a gessoed page.

Do not use expensive, artist quality paints for this type of art work. Buy cheap craft paints which are also very gritty compared to the more expensive acrylics.

When selecting your papers for collage, it's much easier if you have a colour scheme in mind. Mine started out  differently than the final result. On the initial sheets of music I had collaged in the book, I painted a top coat of Titan Buff mixed with clear Gesso.  However, that was too bland for my taste, and after finding the flowers from old napkins in my "treasure" box, I decided I would go with orange as the dominating colour.

The main thing with repurposed book journaling is to have fun and go with the flow...

Have your papers selected in advance and this will save you lots of time.

Don't overthink the whole page. Some planning is good but too much planning might paralyze you!

Just get your journal page started and ask what if?

Find your collage materials, glue them down, and the ideas will come. If not, just ask yourself WHAT IF? what if I added watercolour? or what if I tried writing a motivating message and then partially covered that up with a bit of watered acrylic?  what if?...

As in last week's post, this project can be done in an hour if you have the collage papers already chosen. Using a heat gun or hair dryer is essential in having the paint and glue dry quickly.

Or, walk away and check whatever is burning on the stove (that happens often around here) and get your chores done while the paint dries.

What are some of your quick journal tips for getting art done in a hurry?

Process photos of quick journal page.

8 Responses

  • I cut out interesting photos from newspapers and journals and use them for practice in my sketchbook when I’m having a tea or coffee. It just keeps the eye in.

    • That’s a great idea Graham. We don’t have newspapers anymore in our area other than a few pages of local news – the days of thick newspapers are gone forever. Thanks for stopping by!

  • I am about to begin a new journal, using a purchased, new, (it was cheap), book on graphic design. It’s all black pages with red edge trimmings, great photos and artwork. I plan to have a lot of interactive pages, with cut-outs, foldouts, and tip-ins, using some artwork that is already there. I now use gouache paints, for a wealth of reasons. It covers everything, can be written over with anything, allows fine detail, and no sticky pages! Scratching through the paint would also be an optionhere, too. I often re-glue shapes I’ve cut out, on other pages.

    • Wow Annie…your journal will be a keepsake as it will be so intricately designed with all the cut outs and fold outs. I have a set of inexpensive gouache paints but I prefer to use cheap acrylic for journaling because it has many of the properties that you mention gouache has. I sometimes seal my journal pages with a coat of Modge Podge or Matte Medium. I do use paper in between pages so that they don’t stick together. I learned a lot by trial and error and by watching other artists. I just love the freedom of trying different things in a journal. I envy those artists (and it sounds like you are one of them) who turn out beautiful flawless journals that a marvel to behold.

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