I've been journaling since I was about eight. Back then I had a diary that I called Bobbi (because is there any more fantastic name for a diary than Bobbi? Not in my mind, in 1990.). My methods, supplies and style have changed over the years, but I still find a lot of joy in putting my thoughts and feelings onto paper.
Today I want to show you a few simple backgrounds and how I use them. I'm currently using a journal similar to this one.
The simplest way I create an art journal background is to keep my journal near me when I'm painting something else. Instead of rinsing all the paint off my brush when I'm ready to change colors, I brush some onto the pages of my journal. If I have extra paint left over on my palette when I'm done painting for the day, I'll take a few moments and use it up in my journal.
I usually do several pages at a time this way, spacing them throughout the book.
Then I'll go back through my journal when it's dry and doodle or collage, or both, over the top.
In the spread above I used Mod Podge to attach a little love note from Ethan (left side) as well as some hearts cut from security envelopes that come with junk mail. Those things are an awesome source for collage paper! They have great designs a lot of the time. I blurred out my journaling because, well, it's private. :)
For the spread above, I used the edge of an expired debit card to spread different colors of blue acrylic paint.
These last pages were created with watercolors. The paper in this journal does not take watercolor very well, so I often end up gluing pages together in order to use watercolors.
I keep the journal on my bedside table and write in it each night. The designs on these pages will inspire further doodling, lettering or journaling. I love to use the background as a template for writing. For example, I'll write inside the spirals in the spread above, just for fun.
I've tried just about every type of writing utensil in my journals. Everything from sharpies to microns to gel pens. The only pen I've found that can reliably write over these mixed media pages (they include acrylic paint, paper, watercolors and Mod Podge) are these Sharpie Ultra Fine Point markers. They work well on everything.
I hope this inspires you in your art journaling journey. I'd love to answer any questions you have and see the work you're doing. Please share! And follow me on Instagram to see my latest art journal and sketchbook spreads.