Project Art Journal: Page 1


Project Art Journal is all about creating  a representation of my passion for traveling.  The world is a beautiful place with so much to discover, which meant the pages I created had to be just as eclectic. Page one is very simple at first glance, but there are a number of little surprises hiding in every corner.

Click for full-size image


  • Card stock
  • printed paper
  • postage stamps or general ephemera
  • rubber stamps
  • ink pad
  • gesso
  • acrylic paint
  • foam brush
  • decorative string
  • marker
  • double-stick tape

Just like the cover, page designs are completed in a series of layers.  Like any work of art, each layer builds on another until you get a finished piece.

Layer 1: Card stock foundation

I like to create a thin frame around each page to set off the artwork, but also to serve as a foundation.  Start by cutting a square out of black card stock that’s a hair smaller than the journal page.  This is the base that will be used to support subsequent layers.  Don’t attach it to the journal just yet!

Layer 2: Background

To create the green background,  cut a square out white card stock that is slightly smaller than the black.  Using a foam brush, cover the square with gesso using broad, sweeping strokes.  Go in all different directions to create a strong texture.  Wait a few minutes for the gesso to dry.

Dab a clean foam brush into the acrylic paint and slather it over the gesso with broad strokes.  The color should settle into the gesso texture in a cool way.  If it’s too thick, add a tiny bit of water to the paint.  When the square is covered, set it aside to dry.

Once the paint is dry, it’s time to stamp some text into the background.  My journal is dedicated to travel quotations, so I used a stamp with the same theme, but any text will do.  To make it interesting, try stamping the design in various directions.  Tip: Avoid pigment ink as it sometimes doesn’t dry completely when used on acrylic paint or gesso.

Layer 3: Quote Square

Cut a smaller square or rectangle out of card stock or printed paper.  I chose something that had minimal design so there would be room to write the quotation.  The quotation I used on this page is one I’ve always loved.  I’ve written about what it means to me in The Art of Wandering.  Tip: Map out the location of the words and lines in pencil before whipping out that marker!

To give the space a little more ooomph, I stamped a compass with the same ink I used in Layer 2. A vellum sticker would probably work just as well.

If the ink is dry on Layer 2, attach the quote square using double-stick tape.  Then attach the whole piece to Layer 1, (the black square).

Layer 4: Embellishments

At this point, it’s all about adding flare and filling in the bald spots. Stickers, stamped squares you create, or any other piece of ephemera will work for this process.   I used a combination of postage stamps and stamped paper.  The woman’s face is a stamp that I inked and cut out for dramatic effect.

So, pick out some fun pieces and start playing!  This is my favorite part of the process because its so much fun to experiment with different shapes and placements. Once you figure out where everything should go, a little double-stick tape is all you need!

Lastly, I added some sparkle with a fancy piece of string I found in my embellishment box.  If you use string, be careful not to pull it to tightly.  Instead of tying, tape the ends to the back.

When Layer 4 is complete, its time to adhere the whole piece to the journal.  Use long strips of double-stick tape along the edges on the back.  I even throw in a few diagonal strips in the middle for good measure.  Stick it down to the paper bag page and press all corners and edges with your fingers.

Now, sit back and admire your work!

– – –

Next week there will be chalk, fire, and gold thread.  Until then, stay inspired!

c.b. 2011


21 thoughts on “Project Art Journal: Page 1

    • Thanks! 🙂 It’s been interesting to pick apart the process. Normally, I just sit down and do it without thinking about it. I have a feeling this series of posts is going to give me a lot of insight about how I think and create. 🙂


  1. Great page! And you do such a great job of describing the details of how you made it. Have you considered submitting this project to Somerset Studio? It’s right up there with the projects I’ve seen in their magazines.


    • Somerset Studio does some pretty amazing things – I’ve never considered myself anywhere near that league. Thanks so much for the kind words about my work. Perhaps one day I’ll submit a piece. 🙂


    • Very cool! You have actually inspired a lesson I want to do with my students. I thought we could all make art cards and leave them around campus for people to find. Wouldn’t that create an interesting and positive environment among students an staff?! 🙂


      • I would love to teach art, but I’m actually a history teacher who likes to push the boundaries a little. History is all about how people interact with one another both past and present. I like to teach my students the importance of leaving this world in better condition than how they found it, at the very least in terms of community and relationships. I’m hoping Art Cards are a way to get this point across in a fun and creative way. 🙂

        Shame on your teacher! (You’re always welcome in my classroom!)


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