Welcome to our newest series. In “Friday Favorites,” our team will share a handful of favorite items. These can range from clothes to beauty products to recipes to books and anything in between.
This week I will be introducing you to some of my most loved art journaling supplies.
What is art journaling? Art journaling is simply putting words and images together to express yourself. That’s it. It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. There are no grades, no rules. Oh wait, there is one rule: there are no mistakes, just happy accidents (yes, I love Bob Ross).
I use art journaling to help me record my life as well as heal my betrayal trauma. I love art journaling so much I because a certified therapeutic art life coach!
If you are an art journaling beginner, it’s best to start with a bit of education. My favorite resource is CreativeLive, a live streaming education platform. They have classes on many topics, but you’ll probably want to hang out in the Art & Design section.
Any class that is currently streaming can be watched for free! You can also choose to purchase classes for on demand watching and/or download.
My favorite class is Introduction to Art Journaling with Andrea Chableau.
They are all great at giving easy to follow, step-by-step instructions with beautiful full color photography.
All right, enough with the education – let’s get to the good stuff! My absolute favorite brand of colored pencils is Prismacolor. The premiers are my go-to. They have soft but strong cores so the colors go on butter smooth without cracking and breaking.
I really love colored pencils for sketching. Colored lines tend to disappear better after painting than your traditional graphite pencil. I also like that they don’t erase. This forces me to just accept all my happy little accidents and work with them.
I first bought these on a whim because they were on sale. It was instant love.
Arteza brush pens are filled with a water based ink and tipped with a flexible nylon brush tip. Unlike felt tipped brush pens, the fibers actually separate like a normal paintbrush allowing them to be painted on like traditional watercolors. You can use them alone or use a plain water brush to work them just like traditional watercolor.
These brush pens are perfect for on-the-go painting.
While there are tons of professional acrylic paints out there, I have been completely satisfied with the basic craft paints. My favorite brand, Apple Barrel, is available at most craft stores and Walmart.
Apple Barrel acrylics come in a wide variety of colors. They blend well and dry quickly. I also don’t mind sharing them with all my little monkeys since they don’t come with a high price tag.
Writing with a dip pen makes me feel super fancy. I also love the variety in line thickness I can get without having to switch out my writing utensil. My current favorite set-up is a Manuscript straight universal holder with a Nikko G or Brause EF66 nib.
As far as inks go, I reach for my basic black Sumi Ink most often. For a more antique look, walnut ink is absolutely gorgeous. Another fun ink I just discovered is Golden Black Chinese sumi which goes on black, but dries with a golden sheen. You can also use dip pens with watercolor, watered-down acrylic, or alcohol inks.
Art journaling often includes a LOT of layers. When working with pencils or water based products things can be prone to mixing or smudging. Workable fixative can be sprayed in between layers to lock the layer and prevent messes. I also like to spray a final fixative over my pieces, often called acrylic sealer. It comes in both matte and gloss versions.
Gesso is an acrylic medium artists use to prep canvases; art journalers use it to create layers. By putting a thin layer of white gesso you can mute the colors in a collaged or painted background without completely covering them. It also gives a bit of fun texture to your finished piece. Clear gesso can also be used to prep a thinner paper to be able to hold paints without ruining the paper.
Gelatos are a new supply to me, but I already adore them. They are so much fun! Gelatos look like a colorful chapstick and go on like a crayon. They are also water soluble! They can be manipulated with paintbrushes, a baby wipe, or even your finger. They can be mixed, blended, and married up with other supplies to create a lot fo really fun effects. Check out this video on 7 different ways to use gelatos on YouTube.
There are tons of stamp options out there, and there’s no way I could pick just one favorite type or brand. However, I definitely prefer the clear ones to the wood mounted ones. They are smaller and easier to store. Since you can see through them it is also a lot easier to get the placement exact.
If you use clear stamps, you will need to get an acrylic block to mount them on. Don’t worry, you don’t need a million of them. When you’re done you simply remove the stamp from the block, place it back on its storage sheet, and the block is ready for the next stamp you want to use.
Stencils are another fun way to add patterns and texture to your art journal pages. They can be used with paints, sprays, inks, and even textured paste. Like the stamps, it is impossible to pick a favorite stencil or brand. I personally prefer stencils that are at least 6″ long on one side.
Last but certainly not least is my Jane Davenport Canvas Journal. I love the hard backed book that still lays flat. Inside is a thick mixed media paper that can handle any type of paint you want to throw at it. I have two, a large one and a smaller size.
My daughter prefers to use a travelers notebook. Instead of bound pages these journals just have a thick elastic. You can then fill them with any paper you like. I like both Canson and Arteza watercolor papers. There are tons of other watercolor and mixed media options out there as well.