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A Controversial Art Journaling Decision

It evokes a strong reaction for some, the controversial thing I’m doing in this video. When I started art journaling, I was scared to cover up layers. OOPS, guess I just spoiled where I come down on this controversy now. Along with this “controversial” move, I’ll be using a gel plate for speedy stenciling because it creates an irregular, dare I say, organic element as this art journal comes together.

First layers are a great place to let loose and play! This isn’t carefully planned or meticulously. It’s just using a gel plate to quickly stencil. Yes, impatient me appreciates the speed! The organically irregular edges to the stenciled areas is all courtesy of the gel plate.

Is this the only way to use a gel plate with stencils? Absolutely not! There are loads more techniques- so many I’ve got an entire workshop dedicated to it because getting the look you want when gel printing can feel like random luck.

But it’s not luck. It’s about understanding how and why stencils and a gel plate work together. Anyone, including you, can make prints these when you understand how stencils interact with paint and color on a gel plate. That’s why I created Stencil-rific Layers, to take the guessing out of gel printing with stencils! You can check out all the details here.

What’s the best paint brush for art journaling? There isn’t any one brush that is “the” brush to use. It’s a very a personal decision, so I’ll share why I choose the brushes I do.

It’s a hard life for brushes with me – I’m not a fan of carefully cleaning and I’m happy to let them soak for days. So for that reason, I go for inexpensive brushes. Having an expensive brush is just pressure to take good care of them. I prefer to avoid pressure when playing.

The oval shape has been pulling at me lately, so on book text, I used the Arches stencil to create ovals. I love that stencils are so versatile! In the video, you’ll see how it’s just a simple flip and how to create a variety of sizes from one arch.

Submarines. Once the ovals were cut out, they reminded me of the portholes on a submarine. What a colorful view from these windows too!

This is where things get controversial. By covering up most of that layer, some feel that it is being wasteful. I am not in that camp. For me, the process of creating the layers was fun and that’s enough reason for it to never be wasteful! Also, the layers are never fully covered with some peeking through the white paint and that wonderful color on the edges.

With the colorful portholes, the word explore called to me. Imagine seeing these kinds of colors looking out from a submarine!

Several quotes by Matisse on this stencil would have easily worked but I chose the one about courage because it takes courage to dive in a submarine and it takes courage to create. Every time you make a page in your art journal, you’re putting some of yourself out there. That’s vulnerability, and it definitely takes courage! To people who don’t art journal, they may wonder how it takes courage to stencil or move paint around, but it really does. Guess that’s another potentially controversial idea.

The last touch is some scribble journaling. When writing this way, I am writing actual words but nobody can actually read them. This way there’s no pressure to spell things correctly or to write neatly.

Here are the supplies used. Some of these links may be affiliate links which means I may get a small percentage and it doesn’t cost you anything extra! And you get a really good feeling knowing that you are helping keep the free tutorials coming!

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  • CYNDI December 8, 2023, 8:44 am

    I just love this page! Thanks for all of the inspiration!

  • Toni December 9, 2023, 4:46 am

    Loved your intuitive flow. I gasped when you covered up the layers, but ended up loving it.

  • Linda December 11, 2023, 9:31 pm

    Thanks for the encouragement and the ideas!