Farewell to a Journal

Well, it’s finally happened: I’ve used up another journal!

Writing Journal September 2014 - February 2015

When I first got this journal in September 2014, it had a plain brown recycled-paper cover. The blank cover screamed that it needed decorating and, as a creative, I absolutely had to oblige! I personalized the book by collaging magazine images and adding some designs using Sharpie and gel pen. Since much of the cover is collaged, I wanted to protect the front (and keep all the little collage bits in) so I used contact paper to seal it in, give it a smoother look, and make it more durable. Surprisingly, this was the first time I decorated my writing journal.

I usually do my writing on lined paper, but I tried something different this time and chose to go with a graph paper book. Having a graph paper journal was actually really useful during the time I was using it. Over the past few months I’ve spent a lot of time making graphs and charts as I planned for the future and organized my thoughts.

Another thing I liked about this journal was the size of it. When I wasn’t traveling, I had bigger and thicker journals. Once I started traveling more frequently for work, it was important to me that my journal was both smaller and thinner. This 104-page book allowed me to journal daily while on the road.

This book has seen a lot of ranting, frustration, whining, and hurting. But in spite of all that, it’s also seen twice as many dreams and aspirations. It’s where I decided that I needed to steer my life towards the things I am passionate about. It’s where I vowed to stop putting myself down all the time and start building myself up. It’s where I started my addiction to washi tape!

I’m definitely going to miss writing in this journal every day, but I’ve already got another one ready for the next few months of adventures!

Artfully Megan Signature

What are your thoughts when finishing a journal?

Art Journal Page – Martin Luther King Jr.

I’ve been crazy busy lately, but I did want to take the time today to make an art journal page for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. I included one of my favorite quotes: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” Each day the world feels more fragmented and there’s a lot of fighting over what makes us different. With so much focus on the differences it’s hard to remember the humanness that makes us all the same, so I always appreciate these positive messages of love and hope.

Art Journal Page - Martin Luther King Jr.

Art Journal Page – Martin Luther King Jr.
Supplies: watercolor, rubber stamps & ink, gel pen, washi tape, pen, chalk

I’m not usually into the “grungy” backgrounds (I usually make them too dark. I have to work on it!), but I got some new art supplies over the holidays that I wanted to try out. The background was done with watercolor pencil and I used ink pads stamped directly onto the paper. After that, I used a rubber stamp with text. I’ve really just started discovering stamping and I think it’s going to be an interesting technique to explore. The embellishments were done with black pen and gel pen, while the white highlights were done with chalk.

Artfully Megan Signature

 

Do you have a favorite Martin Luther King, Jr. quote? Why is it your favorite?

Art Journal Page – Waiting to Bloom

Has it been really, really cold for anyone else the past couple of days? Don’t get me wrong–I love the way fresh snowfall looks. It shimmers and sparkles against a serene winter backdrop. It’s beautiful enough that sometimes I just stand there in awe of it all…until the cold hits. Oh, the cold! The past couple of days had me dreaming of a warmer spring, which inspired my latest art journal page – “Waiting to Bloom.”

Art Journal Page - Waiting to Bloom

Art Journal Page – “Waiting to Bloom”
Supplies: paper (collage), gel pen, washi tape, marker

 

Since I liked my last black paper project, I thought I’d give it a go in my art journal. I did some collaging with floral paper and plain notebook paper. I like incorporating lined paper just because I have so much of it. I think it’s a great way to recycle sections I haven’t used and it helps keep my words organized when I create pages with more writing. I found the floral paper in a catalog and added some of my own embellishments with marker and gel pen. Since washi tape is semi-transparent, I tried layering them so that one pattern could be seen underneath the other pattern. It was an interesting look and I think I’ll be playing around with that more.

One new thing that I tried here was glue dots, which I used to stick the notebook paper to the black paper. I think they achieved their ultimate purpose of joining the two surfaces, but I think it would be better for non-paper materials. The paper didn’t lie as flat as I wanted it to, but I did like the almost crinkled look on the lined paper. Does anyone else use these? I’d really be interested in hearing how you use them in your art!

Artfully Megan Signature

Is it cold where you are? Are you dreaming of spring, or just enjoying the snowflakes?

Art Journal Page – Changing My Tune

Well, this is my first full week back at work! Gone are the days of living the charmed vacation life. Rather than having an abundance of free time for my creative projects, I’m back to finding the balance. As I approached this day, I worried about how things would change. Would I still be able to regularly engage my creative side? I can be quite the worrier at times! So as I often do in such situations (see my previous post on being confident!), I turned to my journal. This page is called “Changing My Tune.”

Art Journal Page - Changing My Tune

Art Journal Page – “Changing My Tune”
Supplies: crayon, Babybel cheese netting, Stabilo pens, Gelly Roll pens, washi tape, marker

I went with the musical theme on this one–even though I haven’t played the guitar in years! The idea of this was more about changing the direction in which my mind wanders. Rather than focusing on the past and factors I can’t change, I want to work on framing things more positively. Another note I added was to not say the words, but also follow through on them. It’s one thing to say you’re going to think positively, but it’s another thing to actually act upon it.

It’s been a long, slippery road and I know the challenges won’t end, but making these affirmations in my journal definitely help. I’ve definitely committed to living the life I love in 2015 and if I hold strong, I know I’ll be able to find that balance.

One of the things I want to work on this year in my journal is adding more depth and texture to my pages. For the first time, I tried using the netting from Babybel cheese bundles as a stencil. I laid the netting down over my page and simply colored between the holes using a crayon. It was an easy way to add a little something extra and I think I liked the way it turned out. I think I’m going to work with this technique a little bit more and see what other things I can do.

Artfully Megan Signature

Are you returning to work today as well? How do you plan to find the balance?

Top 3 Favorite Art Supplies of 2014

Another year is coming to a close and as I look forward to the future and what it might hold for me artistically, I’d like to step back a minute and review my top 3 favorite art supplies of 2014.

Top 3 favorite art supplies of 2014

1. Gelly Roll gel pens

If there’s one product I had to say I used the most in 2014, it would have to be these. The Gelly Roll pens come in a variety of different finishes, but my favorites this year have been the Souffle and more recently the Stardust varieties.

When you first start writing with the Souffle pens, you almost don’t see a thing. But as it dries you get the full color. These dry as opaque, creamy colors with a matte finish. They also dry somewhat raised, which looks a bit like embossing. I like to use the Souffle pens to draw or write against all backgrounds, light or dark. I think it really makes things pop and transforms a one-color background into something really special.

The sparkle of the holiday season might have influenced my decision to add the Stardust pens to the list, too, but I really feel like I used them in almost everything in the later half of 2014. The best way I know how to describe them is that they are clear ink with very fine glitter included. Even though they come in a variety of different colors, I like using the clear Stardust pen the most for a more subtle shimmer.

In addition to the Souffle and Stardust pens, I also heavily utilize the white pen to add contrast, especially against the darker backgrounds.

2.  Washi Tape

I wasn’t always into these just because I couldn’t justify the $5 price tag, but then I saw quite a few of them on sale at my local craft store and in the dollar bins at Target (who knew?!) and I was hooked.

They come in a lot of different colors and patterns so they’re very versatile. When I went shopping for holiday card supplies I picked up a ton of festive washi tape that I used in every card. In addition to using washi tape to decorate greeting cards, I also use it for added interest in some of my art journal pages. I’ve also used them in the past to decorate boxes for the cookies I like to bake and distribute to friends and family.

I love that–because they’re made out of paper–you can write on them. Sometimes I will use them in my daily journal as colorful dividers or as page tabs to create sections. I also like that unlike other tape, there’s something about it that makes it just sticky enough to stick to what you need it to, but not so much that you can never take it off again. This has come in handy on projects where I’ve changed my mind and I absolutely love that there’s virtually no residue.

3. Prismacolor Colored Pencils and Colorless Blender

My favorite subject when it comes to art is portraits. Even though I haven’t created too many this year, the ones I enjoyed the most were the ones I did with Prismacolor colored pencils. I got my first set of 50 when I was in high school and even though I have a new set, I still use the old ones to this day.

What I like the most about these is that they’re soft and very pigmented. You don’t need to press down all that hard to get a lot of color payoff. They’re fairly easy to blend together on their own, but I really like having that smooth, blended look so I almost always use their colorless blender when I’m drawing. I think it does a great job of meshing the colors together without really altering the colors themselves. In fact, sometimes it looks as though the colors become more vivid after using it. Like the colored pencils, it’s also soft and easy to work with.

So those were my top 3 favorite art supplies of 2014. I think I’ll definitely continue using them in 2015, but there’s a couple things on my radar that I’ve been wanting to try.

Artfully Megan Signature

What were your favorite art supplies of 2014? Are there any you’re looking forward to trying out in 2015?

I was not given any of these products for compensation or review. The products were purchased by me and the opinions supplied are my own.