Exploring Creative Journals…A New Series from Canvas Corp Brands

Today we are starting a series on creative journals, art journals, junk journals, paint swatch journals, etc.  This craze is very popular right now and we want to explore a bit more about why people are making these amazing journals, how they are making them, then share some of our favorite ideas and techniques.Let’s begin at the beginning and explore the journals people are using and why.  Journals or diaries can be found in many places. However, many of the journals are for writing or sketching and will break down when it comes to markers, paints and other wet media. So what are the best options?  Here are a few things to look for when choosing your journal or making your own:

1. The paper weight: most sketch/art books will show on the label a number followed by “lb.” This means one ream (500 sheets) of that paper will weigh the number of pounds indicated. Choose a heavier paper for your journal; a weight of 80lbs or more will work best.

2. The paper texture: open the book and feel the paper. Decide if you like to work on a smooth surface or one with a rougher texture. Watercolor and mixed media papers have different degrees of roughness depending on the manufacturer. 
3. The size of the paper: journals come in many different sizes. Choose one that works for the way you plan to use it. A smaller journal fits in your purse, while large journals give you a lot of workspace for when you can work at a table and are surrounded by your stash of supplies. 
4. Number of pages: more is not always merrier. When you add paint, etc. you will gradually stress the strength of the binding. A journal with 30 pages will hold up better then one with 200 pages. Heather Kindt mentioned that she has worked in books before where eventually she had to remove signatures of paper because they were falling off the binding! Choose a journal that works best for your needs and not one that is packed with too much paper. This is about having the freedom to create when and how you want to.
5. The cover: of course you want something cute! Also consider a cover that is strong enough to keep all the goodies inside safe.  You can always alter the look to show off your style.
6. The binding: it may sound insignificant but the binding has a big impact on how easy it is to keep the pages accessible. There are many different book binding options. Consider these characteristics: is the binding spiral, sewn or glued? Does the book lay flat when you open it or do the pages arch? Is there a closure to keep everything inside?  Some of the characteristics are just artist preference and some can be easily changed such as adding a rubberband or ribbon as a closure for a journal without one. 
There are great ready-made journals/sketchbooks in your local art or craft store, cool vintage style books, ledgers, and journals at antiques stores, and you can make your own perfect journal by choosing the paper, cover and binding style.  There are so many binding systems made easy for crafters that you may decide to use your favorites. Then you can make a series of journals that are all alike or maybe they are totally different. The choice is yours!

Now let’s explore the rules and where to start. There is only one rule: there are no rules. If you want to try something, go for it! If you are new to art journaling or don’t know where to start, we have some ideas to inspire you.

Journal to remember a special event, trip or time in your life…

Crew member Virág Réti attended a special event in Hungry where she turned a Hungarian book into an art journal.

I am a fan of journaling, especially art journaling. Every year we have a scrapbook camp in Hungary where we create anything we want. This camp is all about passion and creativity. I took all of my 7gypsies and Tattered Angels Mists with me and started to play with them.

Life is Good Art Journal by Virág Réti

I used an old book for journaling, it is a Hungarian book. I was so excited when I realized that one of the pages contained a beautiful poem about happiness, so I decided that I wouldn’t cover it with papers or paint but would build it into the layout.

just dream beautiful
I used 7gypsies Lille and American Vintage collections for decorating the pages. I cut out many different elements from them: flowers, texts and some torn leftovers then glued them into the composition. The base patterns and the vintage effects come from water diluted mist. I really love the result and it inspires me to live my life with happiness and always reminds me that life is good.
Here is what was used:
7gypsies – Lille paper collection (no longer available – but we hope you have some in your stash)
7gypsies – American Vintage paper collection
Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist – Crimson
Tattered Angels Chalkboard Mist – Priority
Other items: stamp; metallic structure paste; an old book for journaling; chipboard decorations

To see more of Virág’s work check out her Youtube Channel where you will find many great art journal videos. You can also follow her on Instagram.

Journal to explore products…

Art journal expert and author Heather Kindt uses her journals to explore products she wants try. It is a permanent record of the experience and a reference for the future.  Maybe you want to test white pens to find your favorite. You can even borrow a stroke from your creative friends white pens to test as many options as possible until you find the ideal pen for you.  Maybe you want to test all your black markers to see all the pen tip options. You can just draw random lines or you can create a design, doodle or sketch with different markers and note which is which to use as your reference. Heather tested how her black pens looked on an inked background by writing her name and eventually she doodled the whole page! 

Journal page by Heather Kindt

“One of my favorite aspects of art journaling is having a place to experiment. There is less pressure when working in a journal than on a canvas. The effects I achieve when experimenting are what become my artsy-looking backgrounds. An interesting background can turn a simple focal image into art. The beauty of it is that making backgrounds is a matter of trying out tips, tricks, and techniques instead of depending on complicated skills. Anyone can build up a bag of tricks and use a few to get a gorgeous journal page.”

~Heather Kindt, Art Journaling Autumn 2015

Art Journaling with Heather Kindt

Artwork by Heather Kindt found in Art Journaling – a Stampington & Co. publication

Journal to express yourself…

Writing in a journal is a great place to keep your thoughts, dreams, worries, feelings, lists, events of the day, etc. You can express those feelings with art, writing or a combination of the two in your journal.  Start with an image then add words or start with the words and add art.  Art can be in the form of sketches, doodles, cut-outs from a magazine, fussy cut art, a stamp, stencil or any form you choose. Make each page different or practice your stamping throughout the journal.  Crew Member Patter Cross creates amazing journal pages focused around bible verses.  Stay tuned for a full tutorial on how she created this amazing journal page.  

art journal bible verse

Journal pages are a great way to express your feelings, capture memories or express an important bible verse or inspirational saying.

Journal as a place to capture your leftovers…

Yes you read that right.  Journals are a great place to put the extra paints, mediums, inks, papers, and scraps from the projects you are working on.  Why wipe them away? Why not create beautiful art pages that you can later journal on, doodle in or use as a backdrop for photos?  Crew Member Barbara Housner shows us how it is done in this little journal she keeps near her when she designs.

I keep a small journal in the area where I use paints and sprays. The excess mediums are then put onto a page in the journal for a future entry.

I was playing with the following products and they made it onto my journal page:
Tattered Angels – High Impact – Yellow, Orange, Hot Pink
Tattered Angels – Baseboard Paint – Sky
Canvas Corp Heirloom Collection – Brushes on Ivory
Archival Ink
Rubber Stamps: Prima, Stamps by Judith, Hero Arts
Create Die Cut Simon Says
Gel Medium

Tools Used: Brushes; Cuddlebug

Tattered Angels Paints

Tattered Angels Mixed Media Paint

I did a project earlier in the year where I had sprayed some circles with Tattered Angel sprays and that was the start of the background of this journal page.Step 1:  The base of the journal page was already done from a previous project (build on journal pages over time).

 Step 2:  I used rubber stamps around the open circle areas on the page. Let the art lead you to try different things. The circles were a great place to try round stamps or stencils.


Step 3:  Use leftover scraps or add fussy cut pieces from a paper you love such as the brushes from Canvas Corp’s Heirloom Paper Collection, then die cut “Create” out of a scrap piece of black card stock.


Step 4:  The theme of circles takes on new meaning with this page. Stamp some smaller circles on the page then color in areas with Tattered Angels High Impact Paints.  Your leftover paint pages become a place to explore different products, shapes and techniques.


Step 5: Adding stamps, lettering, signs or other art details gives the page a finished look. Adhere brush images and word with gel medium.


 Step 6: Add splatters of Blue Baseboard mist to finish off the page.

Journal For No Reason at all…Crew Member and avid YouTuber Shannon Green has a channel filled with amazing journal, art journal, junk journal, etc. ideas. But she reminds us that sometimes we want to make a journal for no reason at all.Shannon shares,”I love loosey goosey art journaling which is why I started Journaling By 5s and Journals For No Reason. I don’t think you necessarily have to complete a finished piece of art on each page. I like art journals that are like sketchbooks….like DaVinci’s. Some of the pages in his journal ended up being works of art but for the most part it was just random sketches and ideas. No pressure, no fuss, just play.”

We will be exploring different art journaling techniques, ways to make your own, different styles, covers, ways to express what is inside, great videos, interviews with art journal experts and more.  Let us know what you would like to know and we are happy to explore those questions through our amazing Canvas Corp Brands Creative Crew.  
Happy creating and happy journaling!!!!





Canvas Corp Brands is the home of Tattered Angels, 7Gypsies and Canvas Corp (Canvas Home Basics). We are a manufacturer of surfaces, paint and vintage reproductions coming to you from Springdale, Arkansas.

'Exploring Creative Journals…A New Series from Canvas Corp Brands' have 2 comments

  1. September 23, 2016 @ 6:24 pm Ros

    There is a lot of fun and yummy goodness in this blog post!


  2. September 23, 2016 @ 8:13 pm Conniecrafter

    Great idea to use your leftovers on your page Barb, neat filling in of the circles and love the paint brushes with the splatters!


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This blog is a compilation of inspiration from the Canvas Corp Brands family including Canvas Corp, Tattered Angels and 7Gypsies.