Art Journal Step by Step: Embrace Change

When I started my art journal a few months ago I was still really new to the mixed media thing. Since then I’ve watched a ton of YouTube Videos and read books by artists like Dina Wakely, Julie Nutting, Sue Pelletier and Nicole Steiman to not only learn techniques, but to inspire me to allow my creativity the freedom to let go in my journal(s).

The first page (or two page spread) in my journal made me happy, and the third pages, although not quite as cool, speaks to me. But the second page was all a mess of orange ink spray, stamps and pen doodling that had no rhyme or reason and as I thumbed through my pages it drove me nuts. (Sorry, I disliked it so much I never took a ‘before’ picture.  Just imagine bright orange with odd stamped and drawn images that make no sense…) For a while I felt like I needed to leave it as it was, a testament to the beginning stages of my art journal journey.  And then, one day it hit me.

The whole purpose of an art journal was to throw stuffy rules to the wind and experiment.  Why couldn’t I just try to cover up those ugly pages with something new?  Now those pages were exciting, because I was going to play around and see if I could transform them into something I felt was beautiful.

The whole purpose of an art journal was to throw stuffy rules to the wind and experiment.

I started by toning down the bright orange ink spray background with some gesso and Antiqued Bronze Distress Paint.  Then I took the stamped tissue paper from my DIY tutorial and adhered it to the pages with Ranger matte Glue & Seal.  It was still a little bright, so I took my Distress Ink in Vintage Photo and applied it lightly with a blending tool until the pages looked more of a burnt orange.

A few small stamp images were still visible through the new tissue paper background in a couple of the corners, so I added some gold paint to my texture paste and applied it through the flower design on the edge of my Dylusions Letter Jumble stencil.

Grabbing some shipping tags I picked up at Staples years ago, I used my Copic markers to create a rainbow effect on three of them and stamped the phrase “Embrace Change without Fear” using the Dy’s Alphabet stamps by Dylusions and a small bubble stamp set I grabbed from the dollar bin at Michael’s.  I added highlights to the letters with a white Sakura Gelly Roll pen and shaded the edges with the Vintage Photo ink.


For the opposite side of the layout I used my Prima Stamp N Add Butterfly Wings set to stamp three butterflies on heavyweight tagboard (this is the same stuff manila folders are made of). And colored each to coordinate with one of the tags with my Copics.  I stamped the bodies on two of them but left the third without and glued a key, which came with the set, to the center of that one.  I attached them to the page with adhesive foam to give them dimension and then added a layer of Ranger Glossy Accents to the wings.  I accidentally cut off the antennae of the blue and green butterfly, but I simply snipped slivers of heat transfer vinyl I had left over from another project and applied it to the page with my heat gun.

I chose the words ‘find your wings’ from the Tim Holtz Big Chat stickers, brushing them lightly with Antique Linen Distress Ink before matting them on a piece of the gold glitter heat transfer vinyl and using my heat gun to stick them to the page.

Finally, because the pages just seemed to need a little something, I did some pen doodling, creating a dimensional border around the page, outlining the texture paste flower border and then mimicking the same flower pattern with black doodles highlighted with white.  I also went back and added the same dimensional border that I drew around the page to the three word tags.

It wasn’t until I had finished the transformation from ugly orange stamped mess to inspirational prettiness did I realize how appropriate the quote was.  Embrace Change without Fear… even if it means changing an old layout in your art journal that you don’t love.

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