Art Journal Cover Page Tutorial

Sharing my Art Journal Cover Page Tutorial with you today! I am so excited to get into this journal and really try it out. It is a 300GSM Mixed Media journal, called Magnolia, from My Mellow Days. I’ve had this journal sitting around for a while now (I ordered 2 to make shipping more worthwhile), and finally have the inspiration to get going in it. These videos are a part of my new Art Journal Chat series, where I will be chatting about life and stuff in general, and my blog post will have the full tutorial. I will also be sharing a printable template for you to use, either as a card, or your own layout, where it be in an art journal, or a bullet journal. For episode one, I am sharing a brief history about who I am (in a nutshell). I will be expanding on a lot of my experiences throughout this series so check it out if you’re curious. But, let’s get into the tutorial.

Art Journal Cover Page Tutorial Color Palette

Art Journal Cover Page Supplies

I do want to address one thing quickly. Believe it or not, I do try and limit my supplies when it comes to my bullet journal. For my art journal, however, I’m using what I want and how I want. Sometimes this will be 4 or 5 supplies; sometimes it will be whatever I want to use, as in today’s art journal cover page tutorial. I want to be VERY clear, you do not need to go out and buy all of this. I have collected my supplies over MANY years! My die cutting machine is over 13 years old and this is the first time I am using it in probably 10 years. So take a look, see what you like, see if you can recreate it in a different way (I will provide suggestions), and if it’s something you think you’d really love, go for it! Not that I’m telling you what to do, or not do, with your money. I just wanted to be crystal clear in my intentions.

Art Journal Tutorial Supplies

Cover Page Tutorial steps

1. Building a Background

This is probably the most enjoyable part for me. It sets the ton for the rest of the page but there is also no pressure and you just get to put color down on the page.

Background Building Art Journal
  • Start with a watercolor wash. This is where you add lots of water and some watercolor to fill a big space. I didn’t want to use too much water since I am in a journal, and I like brighter colors, so I painted stripes down the page (I used Art Philosophy Tropicals Watercolor Paint and The Pigeon Letters Filbert Brush)
  • Once dry, take you stencil and ink pad (TCW Hole Punch stencil and Spiced Marmalade Distress Oxide), then using a blending tool or sponge, start adding ink over the stencil. This should dry pretty quickly.
  • The final touch was adding a stamped image to contrast the circles from the stencil. Using the Dylusions Four by Four stamp set and Chipped Sapphire Distress Oxide, I stamped 2 images randomly on the page.
2. Gathering Elements
a.) Die Cut Pieces (Optional)

I used die cuts to create my flowers and file folder elements. Die cuts weren’t a necessity at all, just something fun I was playing and experimenting with. I used pieces of a magazine thinking the words showing would be interesting. But you can also use other paper, or just white paper. But I want to share alternatives to using the cutting dies

  • For the flowers:
  • Cut flowers from a magazine or pictures online
  • Draw or stamp flowers on a different sheet of paper
  • To create texture, only glue down a portion of the flower and gently fold parts of the flower
Die Cut Setup
  • For the files:
  • The file die cuts are really cool but also overwhelming – there are A LOT of pieces
  • You can measure and cut a file folder yourself
  • For the black pieces, make them flat squares instead

Once my file folder element was done, I made it look a little more roughed up by using the Walnut Stain Distress Oxide ink pad, and just dragging the edges of the file through the pad. I learned this technique ages ago in my card making days and I still love to find a reason to use it!

b.) Stamp the Floral Design/list
  • Using the Dylusions Everything’s Rosy stamp set, I stamp a flower and stalk onto a piece of cardstock – using pigment ink
    • Pigment ink won’t run and bleed when adding watercolor overtop
  • Once dry, I use the Art Philosophy Tropicals Palette and The Pigeon Letters Studio Round Brush in Size 6 to add some color
  • Leave to dry and cut out once dry
    Watercolor flowers
    c.) Background for the “ART” letters
    • I felt the white letters on the black folders were too much of a contrast so I created a brown background
    • This brown background ties in to my file folder from the die cutting
    • I add Brown watercolor paint just roughly to fit the general look of the layout
    • Leave to dry
      3. Piecing Everything Together
      Art Journal Layout Ideas
      • Taking all of your elements so far, start moving them around the page and getting an idea of how you want to glue everything down
      • This part is truly trial and error and you just have to go with what looks and feels right to you
      • You can use some design theory principles but this is just for fun so enjoy it
      • I scatter and overlap my black card files along the top of the page
      • My file folder will be glued down toward the bottom of the page
      • I want the colorful flower on the file so that the file doesn’t stick out and looks cohesive
      • The die cut flowers will be used to fill up space between the black ART files and the brown file

      Art Journal Cover Page Tutorial – Final Touches

      Once you are happy with your placement, you can start to glue everything down. I only glue parts of my pieces down to give the page more texture. I also overlap a lot of the elements too for the same reason and for visual interest. Once I glue down my alphabet stickers, I stamp journal onto the file folder so that the title makes sense. I also stamp some random images onto the file folder to make the page look more cohesive. Even though that cohesion is stemmed fro chaos, lol, everything looks like it fits without unbalanced white spaces here and there. You can definitely add and use white space but this is my favorite way to journal.

      I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. If you have any further questions or comments, please do not hesitate to reach out. If you would like to know more about me, you can check out my video. My ideal plan has be sharing one of these once a month. I already have a couple filmed but editing and writing apparently aren’t my forte any more. But I am working on it! If you recreate this piece, I would love to see it! You can tag me on Instagram @natashamillerletters or @natashamillerdesigns.

      Thank you so much for your time today!

      Art Journal Cover Page Tutorial

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