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This mixed media sun journal includes paint and decoupage glue provided by DecoArt as a part of their Blogger Outreach Program. The tutorial and opinions provided are my own.
At the beginning of the school year, I bought a stack of composition books while they were on sale, knowing I could turn them into art journals, bullet journals, or regular writing journals. (I guess I have a thing for journaling. :)) For some reason, practicing mixed media ideas on the cover of a composition book (rather than on canvas) is less intimidating to me. If it doesn’t work out, oh well. And since there are two covers to each book, I can do two completely different designs on each one. It’s actually pretty fun.
One of my favorite online art publications is Craft Paper Scissors which endlessly inspires me to think outside of the box, and use my art supplies in new ways. I mention them because I had borrowed a stack of Craft Paper Scissors magazines from the library, and many of them had ideas for mixed media art. Mixed media is a great avenue for exploring various art supplies, and this particular project uses everything from decoupage glue to gelatos. In short, it’s a lot of fun!
So, let’s get started.
Mixed Media Sun Journal
You will need:
A variety of painted papers in your color scheme
Decoupage glue (I used DecoArt’s)
Gel matte medium
Orange Fluid acrylic
Teal Fluid acrylic
Yellow Fluid acrylic
Titantium white acrylic paint
Different brushes for glue and paint
Black and white gel pens
Gelatos in various pinks (I use the Faber Castel brand—they’re like drawing with lipstick. :))
Brush markers (I used the SAI brand)
For this mixed media sun journal, I started by painting the entire journal with two coats of gesso. You could probably also use titanium white for this. After two coats, I could still slightly see the composition book design underneath but I knew I was going to paint more as well as collage over it, so it didn’t matter. When the gesso was dry, I mixed gel medium separately with the orange, yellow, and teal fluid acrylics since they were very vivid colors and painted three large stripes across the journal. I let that completely dry before moving on.
I decided to pull out some of the papers I made for my junk mail project and use them for the sun. You can make your own by painting paper with watercolors, gouache, and/or acrylic and letting them dry. You can also paint texture on as a first layer by using different mediums or gesso. Really, your imagination’s the only limit here. If you want to make a sun, you can use reds, oranges, and pinks like I did or you can go for it and use a completely different color scheme.
I drew a loose circle on the back of one of the sheets and cut it out and then cut out several triangle shapes to be the rays.
Then I used the decoupage glue to affix the sun pieces onto the journal. I painted the back of the sun pieces and pressed them down firmly and then painted over them as well. I also painted the entire journal because I like the matte look the decoupage glue gives to a piece.
At this point, I decided I wanted to add a bit of dimension to the sun, so I mixed the orange fluid paint with titanium white and added some loose definition.
I let this completely dry and then took a deep breath. I’ll admit I always get a bit nervous before adding the details to a project because it feels so final. I originally was going to type out a quote, print it, and then decoupage on the pieces of paper but decided instead to draw out a sentiment. Being faithful in the little things has been my focus this year (probably will be for the rest of my life, if I’m honest. ;)) I used my black and white gel pens for this.
Then I took a Sharpie and drew a loose circle around the circle shape and loose triangles around the perimeter. I held my pen at the very end so I had less control. I like how the lines turn out when I do this. They’re shaky and more sketchy, less perfect and yet perfect in my opinion. 🙂 I added more detail with the black and white gel pens.
At this point, I decided to pull out the gelatos and add bits of color here and there. I used a gold gelato to add smears of color on the cover and the pink ones to add pink cheeks to the sun and to add more color to the rays.I smeared these with my finger rather than adding water to them, though they do look lovely when they’re used as paint.
I also pulled out my SAI brush markers and added bits of color and shading to the sun itself. They are very vivid colors in themselves, and I love the depth they added.
This project was seriously so much fun to make, and it’s only the front cover. Now to dream about what I should do with the back. I love the opportunity to put these art supplies to work in new ways (for me) because it spurs so many different ideas of how I can use them in the future.