Art Journal Cover – “Creative Journies”

cover-1Happy Saturday everyone!

And yes, all you spelling nazi’s out there… I know… I know… I misspelled “journeys”. When I was typing the title out for this the first thing out of my mouth was “sonofabitch!”

Well, that’s life. Mistakes happen. I shall embrace the imperfection of this journal title, because dammit, the rest of it is so freaking cool looking.

There is something so satisfying for me to see this journal through to completion, from cover to cover. I don’t know about you, but I also like seeing images of closed art journals with all their colorful pages peeking through, so I had to get a couple shots of that, as well.


cover-10This was definitely labor-intensive as I did both the back and the front. Of course the front has way more texture and detail to it, but I wanted the back to go with the front visually.

I employed many of the same techniques I used in my final art journal page in this layout, Journey’s End.

The first step to this was to pull the binding open and remove the cover pieces. That was simple enough since it’s wire binding. I set the rest of my journal aside while I worked on the cover.

cover-8The back was fairly simple to do, and because it was made of book board or chip board, it was thick and didn’t require any extra strengthening steps. I applied white gesso over it using a palette knife to get some interesting texture, dried it, then painted over the top in Artist’s Loft acrylics with my new super-favorite color combination of Turquoise, Phthalo Blue, Metallic Black and Copper. I sealed it with a coating of Mod Podge.

For what would be the interior, I painted over it all with Liquitex heavy body acrylic in Ivory Black. I used a palette knife for this again to add texture.

Since acrylics like to stick to one-another I adhered a piece of blue card stock over the black acrylic with double-sided tape when it was dry to help prevent that interior cover from sticking to my last art journal page which is also primarily done in acrylics.

cover-7For the front, the cover of the Canson was more of a sort card stock that needed a bit more layers to help strengthen it up. I glued down some craft paper over it first with Mod Podge. I then glued down a piece of Tim Holtz Postale tissue wrap over the top of that and gave everything a thorough drying. This process covered up all the holes that the wire binding went through so at this point, when it was dry, I cut the holes back out with an X-acto knife over my cutting mat.

cover-5The process was then similar, as I mentioned earlier, to my Journey’s End layout. I tore up and adhered pieces of dried baby wipes I had used for cleanup on that aforementioned page using Golden Soft Gel Matte, then went over the top of it all with a smearing of Liquitex white gesso using a palette knife.

More drying and then the same paint combo as mentioned earlier for the back cover was used on the front. As with the back, I sealed the paint with a coat of Mod Podge, which gives it a nice glossy appearance and a satisfying hard coat that goes “tak, tak, tak” when you tap your fingernails on it. Once that was all complete it was time to  add embellishments to the cover.

I crinkled up a wad of aluminum foil, un-crinkled it, tore off a chunk and hit the foil with a combination of Distress inks in Walnut Stain and Salty Ocean, as well as a little bit of black Archival ink. I adhered this to the cover with more gel medium. Then I took out a pre-cut chalkboard gift tag and stuck that down. I had some other pieces of ephemera that I used from various places including the intricate wire piece, some gold trim, a blue feather from one of my cat’s toys (he tore it out), some sheer blue cloth and what I think is some kind of a belt buckle piece I had dug out of my mother’s old sewing stash earlier this year.

Most of the pieces were stuck to the page with gel medium. I wrapped the cloth around to the back and stuck it there so it would have a sort of seamless appearance on the front of the cover. The buckle piece I stuck down using a hot glue gun.

I wrote “Creative Journies” on the black tag with my white Uni-ball Signo pen and added the little flower sketch and white dots around the edges for added interest.

cover-2I had some interesting ephemera corner pieces that I also stuck to the page with more gel medium. I first glued down some black card stock underneath, however, for added interest.

cover-4The front of the cover was done so all that was left at this point was the interior.

Same as before, I had painted it in black acrylic with a palette knife (I did this before adding all the bulky ephemera to the font, by the way). Then I glued down more blue card stock and a second black piece of card stock over that where I wrote down the journal’s information. (I edited out my phone number.)

cover-6I think I did kind of a shoddy job with sticking that blue piece of card stock on the interior front–it’s all wrinkly and wavy. I only did the outer edges with gel medium since I wanted it to stick over the sheer blue cloth that I had wrapped around from the front.

The final step was putting the cover back on the binding. I shored up the binding by stitching some cotton embroidery thread through it all so that nothing would fall out should the binding not be tight enough. You can see that in the photo I shared earlier of the interior back cover.

Overall, I am highly satisfied with the outcome… misspelling and all. I love the colors, I love the textures. I love that it’s done!

Now it’s on to a brand new journal! I am super excited. :) I’ve decided I’ll be primarily working in spreads again, so I will be using a small Ranger art journal this time around.

On top of that I will also be working in an altered lined journal that I picked up from a Hallmark store the other day for my work with the Wanderlust classes.

I’m going to have journals everywhere!

2016 is looking mighty promising in the land of creativity.

Hope you enjoyed the layout. Please leave a comment, like or share the page! Thank you!

List of materials:

Canson Mixed Media sketchbook
Craft paper
Tim Holtz Postale tissue wrap
Torn baby wipe
Liquitex wite gesso
Golden Soft Gel (Matte)
Artist’s Loft Acrylic paints
Mod Podge
Chalkboard gift tag
Neenah card stock
Uni-ball Signo pen
Distress ink
Archival ink
Blue cloth
Aluminum foil
Wire ephemera
Blue feather
Corner pieces

2 thoughts on “Art Journal Cover – “Creative Journies”

  1. Love it! I heard that the Navajo always include a small “mistake” in their pottery so as not to anger god. Not sure I believe that’s true but the thought comforts me when I make alterations in the original plan. I think the journal is so rich in texture and color composition. Once again, thank you for sharing and the process. And it’s good to know your name now, Kelly.


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