So. Being new to the whole art journaling thing I thought I would share some things I've learned so far and show you how I set up my pages!
Blank white paper kind of freaks me out. It's just there. All perfect and staring at you. It's almost impossible to put pen to white paper for me. It's just. I don't wanna ruin it!!! Also for me it causes a total BLANK on what I would like the page to end up looking like... Colors represent mood and a hint of color down on a page first is like a fresh breath of air! So in my journal I have gotten into the habit of pre coloring some pages in advance so when I feel the urge to have some fun I have already avoided that blank white page freak out.
First. Most of the Field Notes notebooks I use have thin-ish paper. These notebooks were designed for jotting notes and not necessarily ink and paint. So far I haven't had many problems that I couldn't work around. Also, I think mistakes and experiments and slightly warped pages just add another layer of charm and personalization to your journal!
So to begin with I like to put a layer down to sort of bulk the page up and resist bleed through. I like to put down a layer of white gesso first. (Gesso is basically a white acrylic that is a little more heavily bodied and toothy? Basically it can be used as a barrier to protect the paper, as a whiteout to cover a mistake and start over, or in thicker layers it can be used to add awesome texture!) This really helps to make sure that no matter how wet you get the paper in between layers you will resist ripping it easily. You could also use just white acrylic paint or any colored acrylic or skip it all together and go to the next step! But I like to add a layer of Gesso juuuuust to make sure I can have lots of inky, wet fun without worry.
After that I like to put a thin layer of colored acrylic paint. (You can use any brand you like. The less expensive works just as good as the more costly. The only difference I have noticed is that the cheaper acrylic tends to be thinner which can be great for a lightly color washed look. They also seem to dry to a more chalky feel which holds nicely to your next layer. The more expensive ones are usually thicker in consistency and dry to a softer feel. I use both!!!) back to adding paint. I do this by just putting a few drops down and then taking a wippie, yes, a diaper wipe and I smear the colors around. Sooometime I also use a paintbrush, and often I just use my fingers!!! All methods work great for either the initial setup of your page or covering up something you didn't like and starting again!
That's it!!! My page is now ready for whatever else I want to put on top! Ink. Markers. Water colors! More acrylic. Then in the light colored spaces that are left after I've added some junk journal ephemera or photos I do my actual journaling and documenting. Easy peasy!!!
If slightly wrinkled and warped pages bother you then for your adventures in journaling I would probably use a sketch journal of some sort. But me? I like that texture. I like that my pages look and feel worked on.
Have fun!!! Cheers!