Friday, April 13, 2012

Art Journal supplies

The other day I was asked about the art journal supplies I use. That is quite an interesting question.

I guess the supplies you need for art journaling depend on the sort of journal you want to make. Art journals have no rules, any thing goes. I have several art journals going at the moment, some are more for drawing people, some mixed media messy journals, a watercolor journal for zentangle inspired work and a daily sketch journal. In each of these journals I use a variety of different supplies.

 I use all the supplies I have collected during the past 30 years of art and craft. Some must haves for me are:

-Gesso. I use both a thick gesso when I want to add texture and I have a liquid Liquitex gesso that I use when I want a smooth surface for drawing on. I use it on a lot of pages but not all. 

-Gel medium or pva glue for sticking down things

- Flesh colored matte acrylic paint that I use as the base for faces. If you get a matte paint you can draw over it with pencils or markers and it gives the face a smooth look. Some people use watercolor crayons like I did for the previous post but it isn't as smooth.  I normally use an old bottle of Plaid FolkArt paint. The shade is Georgia Peach and is quite pale so sometimes I will add a little extra pink to darken it depending on the picture I am doing.

- Coloured pencils are a must have and I used to always use Derwents but have recently received a set of Prismas for Christmas. I like the softness of the Prismas but am disappointed with their constant lead breaking and splitting wood. I won't be replacing them when they run out. 

- Stencils add a lot of interest quickly. Even sequin waste can be used to stencil dots on a page for interest. I recently purchased some interesting stencils from Artist Cellar and look forward to using them more. Sometimes I stamp with bubble wrap instead of using stencils, it has a similar look.

- I like to use dye sprays, often with the stencils. It is a quick way to add a unifying color to a page that is patchy or not working. On the Frolicaholic page I painted the background with a pale green crayon then laid several stencils over the page. I used green and red spray over the stencils and left it to dry. It only took about 10 minutes. I use:
  • Tattered Angels Glimmer mist sprays -they are quite pale
  • MoonGlow Starburst sprays - they have a very strong dye base
  • Ranger Dylusions sprays - these spray inks are also very strong and hard to cover with paint so need to be used last.
- Paints. I have all sorts of paints that I like to use. Mostly in my journals I use acrylics. I use FolkArt brand paints if I want to draw on top of them with pencil. I do use Golden Fluid Acrylics occasionally but they leave the page shiny so you can't do a lot on top of them. Jacquard Lumiere paints are a metallic paint that I like to use as well.

-Markers. I mostly use water-based Tombow markers because I like the way they run when you spray water on them. I do also have a big collection of Pitt pens that are waterproof when dry. I have a few alcohol markers that will work over the Golden Paints but don't use them as often. If you like to do a lot of writing then a set of Sigma Micron Pens would be a good idea because they are permanent ink.

-White pen. A white pen is very handy for outlining and writing. A fellow artist told me about the Sharpie poster paint pen that is pretty good. I also use a white Signo Gel pen but make sure you get the broad one, it works much better than the regular Signo.

-Tissue paper and collage paper. I often glue tissue paper to a page before I start for added texture or use bits of scrapbook papers. Book paper and wrapping paper will work too as long as it is not too shiny.

-Stamps and inks. I have a bit of a collection of stamps that I like to use. The ones I use most in journals are considered background stamps, like script and swirls. Permanent ink like StazOn is a good idea if you don't want it to run. I also like flower and butterfly stamps. 

-Other things I use come from other crafts like scrapbook letters, brads, tags, pieces of material, sewing and embroidery threads. 
 This is a personal list of items that I like to use but every artist has their own favorites. It takes time to build a collection of supplies that you will like to use. A lot of art stores sell makers, pens, pencils and paints separately so I would buy one or two of each to find which brands you prefer before spending a lot of money on complete sets. The most important part of art journaling for me is using supplies that I love and having fun creating each page.


  1. Hi I am in Sydney and just discovered journaling and your lovely blog. There are a few great art journal people in Australia. Thank goodness. Am wondering if you have a good paper, stencil and stamp craft place here in Australia. It is so expensive to mail from the States and they have so many fabulous products. Thank you for all your kind sharing. The art world is often so generous. Thank you Deborah

    1. Thanks Deborah for your kind words. I usually get a lot of supplies from
      For stencils I also buy from Thread Studio because they are local to me but they do have an online shop.