≡ Menu

What to Do When Things Go Horribly Wrong in an Art Journal

What can you do when things go horribly wrong in your art journal?  Say O.O.P.S. because that avert-your-eyes-horror on the page is really an Outstanding Opportunity Presenting Suddenly.

While working on this page, I drew the ugliest butterfly that was ever drawn in all of history.  That might be a bit dramatic but that is what the voice in my head was screaming as I said OOPS and ended up with a page I loved thanks to that ugly drawing.

Watch What to Do When Things Go Horribly Wrong in an Art Journal on YouTube.

This is a junk page.  It has evolved over time as I added gel printed scraps from other play, cleaned off stencils on here, and used up leftover paints.

The words on a colorful scrap said, “Alice threw herself back into the conversation with more animation than before- just a little bit too much.”  That sparked this play and the paper was glued on with gel medium.

This page needed a woman, an Alice, so I used my Sketchy Women with Class stencil and O.O.P.S.!  I stenciled it in a way that let some paint sneak under it.  Was this the end of the world? Nope.  I do this kind of O.O.P.S. all the time. It’ll totally disappear in a few steps.

With such a busy background, how do you make your stenciled image stand out?  White paint all around the edges. Suddenly, she owns that page.

The paint is still damp, so a pen won’t write on it and would probably be destroyed. So I used a Stabilo pencil instead.  It writes on anything at all. Drawing loosely over the lines of the stencil, she now looks like she was hand drawn on the page and that paint O.O.P.S. on her collar, is hidden in the layers.

Have you ever loved a background and not wanted to cover it up?  That was where I was at so Marabu’s Art Crayons to the rescue. They are colorful but when blended with a finger you can still see the pattern underneath.

What did I draw here? A balloon man with no head? That was an attempt at a butterfly.  My 2nd attempt after the first was stunk.  This was like nuclear fuel for the voice in my head.

It was ruined. It was horrible. Okay, it was horrible.  That was true!  But it wasn’t ruined, it was just an O.O.P.S. When I covered it up, it actually helped me decide what areas of the busy background to cover up.

Using the stabilo pencil again, thoughts and feelings were scribble journaled onto the page. I apparently had lots to say about this one.

In your play, should you ever happen feel that you’ve ruined a page, try saying O.O.P.S. and see where it takes you.  As painful as that attempted butterfly fiasco was, it was a great opportunity that helped this page get to where I love it.

PS – Is this page finished? Not quite but I ran out of time.  Art journal pages can take more than one session, or even 2.  Wouldn’t it be a glorious thing if we all had unlimited time to play? But life is busy, so I’ll just enjoy what time I do have to create.

If you’re looking for more ways to play- check out my free workshop, Permission to Play. 

Here are the supplies used. Some of these links are affiliate links which means I get a small percentage. It doesn’t cost you anything extra and it helps keep the free tutorials coming!

{ 6 comments… add one }

Leave a Comment

  • Deb March 28, 2018, 2:13 am

    Loved it Carolyn ! I am glad to know I am in good company . Thank you !

  • Corrine March 29, 2018, 3:58 pm

    Your scribble journaling saved the day hurrah! I just add another layer of collage usually or some tissue paper that hides it all and keep going…Keeping going, that’s the trick right??? xox

  • Betty March 31, 2018, 12:57 pm

    Your videos have created so many possibilities for me…especially freedom to have fun.

  • Annell Sampson March 31, 2018, 3:58 pm

    I love your “oops moments”. They have given me the courage to make something of beauty out of what appears to be “sho nuff ” mess. Sometimes it takes patience with myself, but patience is something I need to learn….ummm…maybe…. 🙂

  • Rita M Kaehler March 31, 2018, 4:13 pm

    great video!

  • Kathy Gledsdale August 26, 2019, 5:27 am

    Still giggling about the bottom butterfly/rabbit. Great job thank you. When I make an OOPS, I tend to panic and not know what to do, so great video for me to see thank you x