Watercolor Art Journal by Jen Osborn
I cannot tell you how excited I am to be guest designing for one of my absolute favorite pen companies! I use PITT ® Artist Pens almost every day in my journaling, and it’s a true dream come true to be here today to share this simple, yet amazing journal project with you. this is one of those projects that looks much more involved than it really is, so please stick with me to the end and I promise you’ll be holding something you love in your hands by the end of our journey together. Here’s what you’ll need to get started:
- PITT ® Artist Pens - brush
- •pale geranium lake 121
- •pink carmine127
- •cobalt turqoise 153
- •light cobalt turqoise 154
- •cobalt green 156
- •leaf green 112
- •light green 171
- •black - S
- Uniball Signo gel pen - white - broad
- Bookrings - 2 inch diameter
- Thick/handmade paper - 5 x 7
- Watercolor/Drawing paper
- Hole punch
- Decorative rub-ons
- Antique book pages
- Washi tape
- Tags & Tickets
- Ephemera & do-hickies
- Sewing machine or needle & thread
- Double stick tape
I used a spare children’s book page I had lying around to make my journal cover. I chose one that had an image on it as well as text to give me something to draw on top of. I simply sewed it horizontally to a piece of 5 x 7 handmade paper using the straight stitch, and going around the outside edge three times. You want to set your stitch width to 4 or something on the large end or you will end up perforating your papers instead of sewing them together. Then I folded the paper in half the long way to create a 3 x 5 cover piece that is double sided. Do not sew or glue them together at this point so you can attach things to both sides without having to worry about covering up. I created my watercolor journal with only a front page, but if you want an end page simply repeat this process over again for the back.
Next you will punch two holes through your cover for the book rings. I made mine at 1 inch in from the side and 1/2 inch down from the top. Tear or cut your watercolor/drawing paper down to 3 x 5 inch pieces. Use the cover as a guide to make spots on all your pages so all you have to do is assembly line punch them all at once. This is a lot easier than trying to line it up right every time. Once you have them all punched, put them on your book rings and set aside until you are ready to add the cover.
Now you get to do a fun bit of drawing with your black PITT ® journal pen. I usually keep to the S one, but you can use the M to get thicker lines. I like to draw mine thicker with the S so I can get uneven lines, but I tend to go for the homemade look, so bear with me if mine looks a little untidy at times. You’ll remember that I choose a bookpage that already had an image printed on it in monochrome. This is a really great way to practice drawing, and you can easily make it pop simply by adding a black outline and then coloring it in. So mine has this blockprint image of a boy in a stream on one side, and a house on the other. All I had to do was use my pen to outline all the details, and I instantly had something fabulous.
I like to do all my black drawing at once so it all has a chance to dry before I move on to the next step and help avoid schmears. One of the things I really enjoy is adding little details like tags with quotes, and words that have special meaning to me. Think geometric shapes when you draw freehand: circles, squares, ovals, triangles, and rectangles are pretty much all you need to draw anything. I really love to doodle too, so you’ll see that I added little hearts and messy scallops to give my bookpage more character. Once your drawing has dried, you can fill in some of the spaces with the white Signo gel pen, and layer rub-ons like the bird and birdcage I added to the bus ticket here:
You want to open up your cover page now, and sew, glue, or paste on fun little accents like the ribbons and washi tape. It can really add a lot of character when you use them to fill in some of the negative space like the Little Red Riding Hood ribbon I ran along the bottom of the front. I cut it down to match the shape of the details, and then used a lighter to melt the edges of the ribbon so it wouldn’t unravel. Something as simple as drawing the moon and a few stars is all it takes to make it look like it belongs there. Try to imagine you are telling a story with your art if that helps.
Once you have all the detail work finished on your front page, it’s time to close it up along the fold and sew or glue it together. I used my sewing machine because it’s always handy, but you could just as easily sew it together by hand using the blanket stitch all around the outside. If you are worried about covering up or ruining some of the things you added, you can just close up the open edges with double stick tape. I know that sounds chinsy, but I cannot tell you the amount of times over the last 10 years I have done just that. Just make sure that you don’t buy the removable kind, and you will find it sticks together just fine for life!
So, here’s the front and back of my cover all stitched closed. I had this funky felt poppy left over from another project, and I just couldn’t decide if It cluttered up my cover too much or if I really liked it. In the end I just went with it, and I find myself touching it every time I go to draw in my journal. It helps remind me that there really isn’t any wrong way when you’re creating art; sometimes you just have to GO FOR IT!
If you find that you inadvertently covered up your holes, all you have to do is re-punch them. Now comes the last little bit of fun - coloring everything in with your PITT ® Artist Pens. I want to take a quick minute and thank Naoko for filling in the gaps of my colors, and all the inspiration they provided for this project!
Tap into your inner five year old, and have some fun. I didn’t color everything in, but I came pretty darn close. I really like using the PITT ® Artist Pens because they don’t run or bleed. You can also layer the colors to add shadow or deepen the hues. I really like to use dark to light shades of a certain color right next to each other. For example, I used a lighter blue to color in the head of my bluebird, and then went with a darker shade for the body. On the wings and tail I used three different shades for each part.
Now you’re ready to add your altered front cover to the rings with your paper already on them. Here’s a closer look at how mine turned out:
I strung the small yellow tag onto the ties for the manilla one, and tied the ends into a knot. That way all I had to do was open the book rings up, and slide it on and it will move around as I turn the pages. I like the book rings because they will allow you to open your journal flat so you can draw on both sides without a spine in the way. I also tied a little snippet of vintage lace I had lefterover from a sewing project onto one of the book rings to add a bit of silly whimsy. I just roll that way. Here’s how the back of my front cover turned out:
I told you towards the beginning of this post that I decided not to create a back cover this time. I don’t know why, it’s just how I made it (remember no right or wrong way). I did journal the last page however, with a message to keep me journaling:
If you have any questions about how I did something, please feel free to ask in the comments section, and I’ll do my best to answer and clarify. I tend to create off the cuff, so I don’t always have a reason for why I did something a certain way ... I just did. I would really love to see what how your journals turn out, so please post a link to a picture or blog post about yours here and I’ll hop over for a peek. Thank you again to Faber-Castell Design Memory Craft ®, Christa Trivisonno, and Naoko Ohno for this amazing opportunity. You’ll be seeing much more of me and their incredible products very soon!
NOW GO MAKE ART!
Jen Osborn is an artist, writer, and stitcher who lives in the heart of rural Michigan. She has an enormous imagination, and loves nothing more than giving you a peek inside her noodle. She creates artwork that’s as wonderful to touch as it is to look at, and has a knack for blending quirky vintage items with a uniquely modern twist. Jen is a mixed media artist at heart, and loves crafting collage on canvas or anything else she can get my mitts on. She's currently branching out into licensing her whimsical drawings for use as rubber stamps, illustrations, and embroidery patterns. Her first solo book “Mixed and Stitched: fabric inspiration for the mixed media artist” is on bookshelves now, and she has a new column, Happy Home Goods, debuting in the pages of Stitch Craft Create January 2013.