“Vulnerability” – Pass the Journal

vulnerability-1I finally received my first journal in the Pass the Journal group this week. It’s so fun seeing other people’s artwork in person where you can touch it and examine it to see what they’ve done.

I was eager to get started working on the journal so it would be ready quickly to be sent out again. I was surprised at the size of this particular journal – it was a thrift shop find – I think it’s meant to be more of a scrapbook album. In any case, the pages were about 10″ x 13″ in dimension. Pretty significant!

journal-1 journal-2

The journal’s owner had put in a couple of her own designs on the interior covers along with a nice note to the group. The flap she left open for people to sign-in on the journal sort of like a guest book.

I flipped through the pages of the book to see how many were available before I made a decision on a single-page layout or a spread. The book had plenty of pages to allow for me to do a spread, so that’s what I opted for.

The black pages themselves were pretty light-weight so I decided I wasn’t going to do any art directly on them and decided instead to do work on separate pieces of paper outside of the book then glue them in when I was finished.

I knew I wanted to go for a minimalistic kind of design for this, as that’s what I was feeling. The journal’s owner requested a theme of “Life Rocks”. She is a breast cancer survivor. Knowing that, I went for a lot of pink in the layout—the color that signifies breast cancer awareness. I remembered another colleague of mine from back in Hawaii who was a breast cancer survivor and she was always dripping in pink (in a classy way.)

I did my layout on 140-lb Strathmore watercolor paper. The pages I had were larger than 10″ x 13″, so I decided to go for a deckled edge look and tore them down to the right size using the metal ruler method.

I went through some of my scrapbook papers from American Crafts and found a pattern that I liked, which was a sort of monthly theme where the months looked like rulers.

I tore strips from a sheet of that and adhered them down to the page using Liquitex white gesso and a palette knife, smearing some of the gesso down first, putting the strips on, then going back over the tops of the strips loosely with more of the gesso to break up the pattern some.

When the gesso dried, I gave the pages a good spritz of water and then went over that with Dylusions spray in Funky Fuchsia and White Linen to create a great pink color. I tipped the pages in different directions to get the ink to spread and drip. More drying with my heat tool and then I went over it a little more with some of my Silks acrylic glazes in Warm Gray and Wisteria using a dry brush and added some extra color with some Artist’s Loft acrylics in Brilliant Magenta and Deep Magenta.

The inks and paints by this time had almost completely obscured the ruler pieces I had originally put down, so I took some more of that paper and tore more strips and adhered it over the layout with Golden Soft Gel Matte.

vulnerability-5At this point I decided the layout needed a focal point and I decided to go with a sort of collage approach, cutting up more of the ruler-ish scrapbook paper. I didn’t want the paper to be just the original beige color it came in, so I took some of the cut scraps and sprayed them with a mix of Dylusions spray in Funky Fuchsia and London Blue and also some of my Recollections sprays in Gold and Ebony. This gave the scraps a little bit of interest and allowed me to throw in a little bit of blue to help fight the dominance of pink in the layout a little.

Once those were dried, I adhered them to the layout using more gel medium.

Next I wanted to add some black in the layout so I did my trick of using the shell of a round of scotch tape and dipped it into some Faber-Castell Chalkboard Paint and stamped it around the layout in various spots.

While I had the Chalkboard Paint out, I took a little dab of it and wetted it down on my craft mat and splashed some of it across the layout with a small paint brush.

My next step was to figure out what the sentiment of the page would be. The rulers made me think of “time” or “measurement” so I looked up quotes for each online and came across the quote by Brené Brown that says “Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage.” I thought that fit very well as I can only imagine feeling so vulnerable and powerless should I be diagnosed with cancer. And the ability to walk through that vulnerability is certainly a testament to amazing courage.

I decided at length I would put that sentiment on a small tag, which I prepped with a mix of more spray inks (Dylusions White Linen and Recollections Gold), I also dirtied up the edges a little with some Distress Ink in Walnut Stain.

While that dried, I drew a few Zentangle flowers and elements under where the tag would be for additional interest. I then wrote the sentiment on the tag with my Sharpie pen, and added a few extra visual elements with an American Crafts gold metallic marker.

vulnerability-3I adhered this to the layout using Mod Podge (I wanted to work with an adhesive a little more liquid than gel medium for whatever reason.)

The pink still needed to be broken up a little in my opinion, so I did used my favorite method of tracing the subtle outlines of the colors with a white Uni-ball Signo pen.

Almost done, I smeared a little bit of Faber-Castell Glass Bead Glitter Gel in random spots around the layout to give it a little extra sparkle.

My final step was to adhere the pages inside the journal. I did this using Mod Podge, as well. I then put a piece of wax paper between the pages and closed up the book and put heavy weights on top of it to make sure the pages dried flat.

This book will be going in the mail Monday to the next artist in our circle. I look forward to it making it back to its owner. :)

Finally, I have for you a photo of the materials I used. Hopefully I’ll manage to do this more often with future layouts. This will be a challenge because I like to clean my area after using it and am in the habit of putting stuff away right after using it. Getting a photo of it means pulling everything back out!

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

List of materials:

Altered scrapbook
Strathmore 140-lb watercolor paper
American Crafts scrapbook paper
Liquitex white gesso
Dylusions spray inks
ColourArte Silks
Artist’s Loft acrylics
Golden Soft Gel Matte
Recollections spray inks
Faber-Castell Chalkboard Paint
Faber-Castell Glass Bead Glitter Gel
Sharpie pen
Uni-ball Signo pen
American Crafts metallic gold marker
Mod Podge

One thought on ““Vulnerability” – Pass the Journal

  1. Thank you again for sharing your process as well as your product. I really benefit from you sharing the tools and materials you use and how you use them. This traveling journal is such an interesting concept. I wonder if I could do something similar with my poetry writing group.


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