Here’s a quick tutorial on an easy way to add backgrounds to your art journal or sketchbook.
It’s one of my favorite visual journal techniques. You can also use this painting method on canvas or big sheets of paper. This is how I start many of my paintings.
No painting or art experience is required.
This is all in service of demystifying the use of art supplies and making it easy and enjoyable to face the blank page or canvas.
- Blank page (or a page you don’t like and want to paint over),
- any brand of craft paint (my favs are listed here)
- an old credit card or expired gift card (that you don’t mind wrecking)
To Make Painted Backgrounds on Pages:
Pour some paint out on a paper plate or scrap paper, and use the credit card to pick up some paint and wipe it over the pages.
Experiment with mixing different colors right on the page.
Make a bunch of pages.
Try adding borders, strips, scribbles.
Voila! No more blank white page!
In this example, the rubber stamp image was already on the page. It’s an old journal I had lying around from the year 2000, when I was really into my set of Mexican Icon stamps — so I stamped a bunch of pages and then never did anything in the journal.
I have been committed to recycling my old work, and using up supplies I already have, so I used this journal for a trip to Spain and France years later.
Any sort of inexpensive craft paint will do.
Craft paint is perfect for using to paint art journal and sketchbook backgrounds for five important reasons:
1. Quick drying – if you use very little paint, it will be dry almost the moment you are done covering the page
2. Easy to write on – just make sure the paint is dry. You’ll have a nice matte finish that any pen or pencil will work on top of. No more ruining your favorite pen! (To be sure, do a pen test before you use your favorite pen, ok?)
3. Pages won’t stick together
4. Affordable and long-lasting. Craft paint is inexpensive, and you only need a few drops to cover a page.
5. It’s easier to face the blank page. With affordable supplies, and dead simple techniques, you’re likely to work more in your art journal – and that is truly a happifying thing.
Warning: painting your art journal pages this way can be habit forming!
In this example, I was cleaning up my paint for the day, so just the dregs left on my palette were scraped on to the page.
The numbers on the right page edge are from cleaning off my rubber stamps.
I love the random nature of just slapping paint down on the paper and not trying to make it look “artistic”. It’s part of my creative practice. A way to limber up and stay loose.
Dreaming on Paper: The Creative Sketchbook, has dozens of in-depth tutorials that show you lot more painting and image-making techniques.
What are your favorite ways for getting backgrounds made in your art journal?