Video: Full Art Journal Flip Through!

Peony and Parakeet's full art journal. See the art journal flip through video!

There are two special moments in art journaler’s life: starting a new art journal and finishing one. As the latter is much rarer, I am happy to announce that I have just finished this journal! I truly feels a small victory!

From Decorative to Expressive

A spread in Peony and Parakeet's full art journal. See the art journal flip through video!

I purchased this Smash book in 2014 and intended to make it fashion and textile oriented. It has a lot of those, but also other stuff like little paintings, few cards that I have wanted to save and some collages that include photos. When I started this journal, I was very much into decorative style and the book has a lot of hand-decorated papers in it. Now, when I look back, I no longer see decorations as a self-purpose but a channel to move forward. Once I have got my imagination going, I have been able to move to creating more expressive art.

A spread in Peony and Parakeet's full art journal. See the art journal flip through video!

Art Journal Flip Through

Many pages of this art journal are a bit clumsy but I still wanted to celebrate the finished journal. I also think that this kind of “collage book” contains quite a lot of ideas that you can use in your art journal too.  So I created a flip-through video for you to watch. Hopefully it will inspire you to art journal every week, even if it’s just one little circle on the corner of a page.

Go deeper into art journaling …

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Illustrating Poems in Art Journaling

An art journal page by Peony and Parakeet. Read about illustrating poems in art journaling!

A lace doily waits to be picked up again.
A young girl’s fingers where an old woman used to fiddle.
How many beginnings can one hold?

This is an art journal page which illustrates a poem. I usually create the image first and then add the text. This time, I wrote the poem first and then illustrated it. Namely, for a long time I have had a desire to include creative writing in my art journals. I have loved poems since a small child and I used to write them all the time. After I grew up and moved away from home, it gradually stopped. But now years later, poems seem a great addition to art journal pages. Especially because I usually start writing a poem with a visual image in mind. Wouldn’t it be suitable to document that image too?

Of course, you do not have to be a poet to get into illustrating poems. You can also illustrate the poems that other people have written. Poems are great tools to get connected with the visual images that represent feelings. I think poems make a perfect pair with visual self-expression!

Illustrating Poems

1) Getting in touch with the feeling

Read the poem several times.
What kind of atmosphere does it create?  What metaphors does it use? Are there physical objects or people to include?

There’s a risk of getting too rational here. Try answering these too:
What kind of memories or thoughts does the poem raise in you? What kind of rhythm, music or dance does it resemble?

2) Sketching

Lightly sketch the elements you want to include to the page. Write the poem or at least reserve a place for it.

I used watercolors for sketching. Light painting can bring a more intuitive approach to your work than using a pencil. You don’t need to know your exact composition yet. Think this phase as the first steps in the dark! Do not take it too seriously (= too rationally)! Focus on the feeling you want to express!

An art journal page in development by Peony and Parakeet. Read about illustrating poems in art journaling!

3) Expressing with composition

After sketching, adjust the composition by adding more elements to the page! With poems, I often feel that if the composition delivers the message, the rest is trivial or easy. There’s so much content in the words itself.

I wanted my page to lean to the right and then up. Right – because there’s a strong connection to the future in the text. Up – because the doily waits to be picked up in the story. I also chose the colors accordingly: blue representing the old and red representing the new.

An art journal page in development by Peony and Parakeet. Read about illustrating poems in art journaling!

4) Finishing

This phase is to fine-tune everything already created.

I wanted to add the feeling of fabric and emphasize the upward movement by adding thick lines with watercolors. I also made the lace more detailed. Then I added some dark areas to make lighter areas pop. A thin black marker and colored pencils are great for the finishing touches when using watercolors on the page.

A detail of an art journal page by Peony and Parakeet. Read about illustrating poems in art journaling!

The page was made on a separate watercolor paper and then attached to the journal. Watercolors work best on watercolor paper. Even if you use a thin watercolor paper it’s better than using a smoother surface.

An art journal page by Peony and Parakeet. Read about illustrating poems in art journaling!

Illustrating Poems – A Minimalistic Approach

You know that I am not a particularly fond of minimalism in self-expression but with poems, I think it can be a very effective approach.

An art journal page by Peony and Parakeet. Read about illustrating poems in art journaling!

A yellow spot on a white painting.
A happy thought when leaving.
I saw the sun on a cloudy morning,
The one to brighten my being.

This poem of mine began with a visual image that called for simplicity. When aiming for lots of space, acrylic paints can be a better medium to use than watercolors. Acrylic paints have more substance themselves, and it’s easy to add slight, yet powerful color changes with them.

In this page, I divided the poem into three parts. The composition was built accordingly.

A detail of an art journal page by Peony and Parakeet. Read about illustrating poems in art journaling!

The first part is focused on expressing the latter sentence: the leaving. It is bittersweet, light peachy orange.

A detail of an art journal page by Peony and Parakeet. Read about illustrating poems in art journaling!

The second part visualizes the sun in cloudy weather.

A detail of an art journal page by Peony and Parakeet. Read about illustrating poems in art journaling!

The last part communicates the person, her being and her relation to the world that she is leaving behind.

An art journal page by Peony and Parakeet. Read about illustrating poems in art journaling!

With acrylics, it’s easy to work on any surface. I used white gesso instead of white paint but only to save some money.

Art Journal of Poems

Think about having an art journal that is filled with illustrated poems! What a treasure would it be! The best things in life are those we can create ourselves.

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Surface Patterns for Hot Summer Days

Summer spread in a Smash Book, by Peony and Parakeet

This July has been wonderful in Finland. I have enjoyed gardening and photographing and it shows in my art journal too.

Summer flowers by Peony and Parakeet

Both the wildflowers and flowers in the garden look great with a dark background. So when I made the drawing with colored pencils, I added some shadows too. Great way to express sunshine is to combine black with yellow!

But my main focus was on summer fabrics. It is so much fun to design prints for summer dresses.

Art journaling about summer fabrics by Peony and Parakeet

The collage of the left is an old one. A sketch for a surface pattern made in 2011. It was made by cutting circles from handdecorated papers. This time I replicated the design by cutting circles from stamped papers.

Summer crafting by Peony and Parakeet

The summery prints are mostly made by stamping here. Paper scraps like old scrapbooking papers can be altered easily with markers, colored pencils and stamps. I always try to add subtle color variation in the background to keep the result interesting. Thinking about shadows help here too.

As you can see, my colored pencils are always with me! Hopefully your summer has been as wonderful as mine!