Friday, March 4, 2016

ARTFUL WRITING: 12 Easy Ways to T-ART Up Your Boring Writing Pages

You don't have to have pages and pages of just writing in your journals.  Why should you?  I can't tell you how many years and journals I have filled with page after page of just plain old boring writing. And I love to write, but looking back, why didn't it ever occur to me to make those pages pretty?

After I started on my journey of mixed media and art journals a few years ago, I started applying some of this knowledge, in a more stripped-down kind of way, to my writing journals, just so they wouldn't be so boring.  Sure, many of us have and use our art journals for "some" journaling, but in a different way. I think our art journals are more "art" oriented, and less about the actual journaling of life's daily events, memories, self-truths and exploration.  I journal for these latter reasons, and I art journal for these same reasons, but in a far more visual and exploratory way.

So today, I wanted to give you all some tips and ideas of how you can tart up your writing journals to keep you interested in journaling every-single-day, and of course make them visually pleasing for you to go back through, next week or even next year.

1.  Use basic supplies like colored inks, pens, markers to create borders on your pages.  These pages I just used two different colors of markers, one with a solid line, one with squiggles; and I added some doodly lettering on Leap Day.

2.  Perhaps add decorative scrap papers around the edges.  On this page, this fancy border was around a picture I had cut out to use on another project. It was too pretty to throw out, and it was just laying on my desk.  This particular day I also used water soluble crayon (NeoColors) to create a quick colored border to go with the paper.

3.  How about adding some doodled or tangled bordersChange the color of your ink.

You can change the whole look of your day just by changing the color of ink you are writing with.  Adding doodled or tangled borders makes the page have a ton more interest, and will help you with your tangle practice, too!

4.  ADD MAGAZINE IMAGE(S) or FOUND WORDS you clipped and saved in that big pile you are "saving" for your art journals but aren't using.  Pick one to go with your "color theme" of the day. In this example, I did both.  This particular page precedes my actual "journaling" and combines numerous other elements, including a journaling card, doodles, a border, a quote, etc.

5.  WASHI TAPE.  You can use it quick and easy, down and dirty.  Tart up some pages while you're watching television.  Grab a few rolls and a pair of scissors.  Presto -- gorgeous!  This page uses skinny tape everywhere. I made a header at the top, down both sides, and across the bottom of the left page.  Note also the doodles, magazine images, use of colored pencils.  These type pages precede my actual journaling pages and often depict things I did during the day or want to record that day.  My days aren't very exciting so I can go a little bit crazy with the tarting up.

6.  ADD A FAVORITE QUOTE.  We all love quotes. We collect quotes.  Record them in your journal. Use a highlighter to make them stand out, or color them up!

7.  RECORD YOUR DAY'S APPOINTMENTS & ACTIVITIES using figural images (stick figures) or doodly images.  Representing your day in an ARTFUL way, might relieve some of the pressure some of you feel about "writing."  I usually make a block on my first page of my "to-do" items. Better than expressing it in a boring way, right?   Yes, I know some of us only  having mundane things to do like cleaning, laundry, taking care of the kids or grandkids.  But wouldn't a cute little sketch of a laundry basket look a lot more fun?  And, you are representing YOUR day, your activities in addition to all that soul searching and deep thinking.  You can find a ton of representational images on Pinterest using the search words: planner icons, stick figures, etc.

8.  SLAP SOME PAINT ON IT.  I have added paint to quite a few of my journaling pages, well, because I could, and I just wanted to do so.  I am currently writing in a Miguel Ruis medium graph journal right now, and the paper is fairly thin, so I have glued 2 pages together on most days just to support whatever I decide to throw at my journal.  Mind you, this is NOT my art journal.  This is my writing journal and also planner that i am doing in the Hobonichi style.  This particular page, I used Dylusions Acrylic and babywipes and had just gotten started working on it when I took this pic, so it was still a work in progress.  The writing surface was super smooth and I have prepped quite a few more for the days ahead.  Note this page also has washi tape, doodled borders and a magazine image on it already. Late night fun for me. LOL.  And here is the finished page.      


I don't add too many stickers to my journaling pages, although I have quite a stash of them.  Not sure why I don't.  Think about stickers that represent what you did that day, what you saw.  Use alpha stickers to add the date and day.  Go ahead, stick on those cute butterfly stickers you've been saving and saving.  Now is a good time! There are lots of options with so many variety of stickers available today.  I think I don't add them because I am really trying to work on my own drawing skills. Yes, that must be it.  But I get lazy, too, so I might start adding more.

10.  USE DECORATIVE RIBBONS, BRADS & OTHER EMPHEMERA.  Just the other day I added some decorative ribbon tape to my journal.  The texture of it was very nice.  I just ran it down both the far left and right margins of my writing pages.  Boom!  Color!

11.  ADD A COLORING PAGE (or part of one).  In this example, I cut up a page out of my "Color Me Calm" coloring book.  It was a mandala that I cut in half.  Half on the preceding planner part of my journal and half on my journaling pages. Big splash of color and it really works and was easy as pie.  (After it was colored, of course).  Going to do some more of these in this journal.  I enjoyed writing around all the work I had spent a few evenings coloring.  A fun way to enjoy it all again.

12.  USE THOSE RUBBER STAMPS!  Okay, I know you  have a big stash of rubber stamps just waiting on a reason to be used.  Add a super cutie to one of your writing pages.  Give it a quick color in with some colored pencils.  Voila!  I went crazy on this planner page part of my journal when that big blizzard hit the northeast.  The snowman, snowflakes, the banner.  I thought it turned out pretty cute considering I did absolutely nothing that day but stay in the house, hiding under my favorite quilt.

So there you go.  Twelve ways you can spice up your writing journals.  You can add visual interest that pleases you. You can do all of these things while you are being a slug on sofa. No big artistic skills required.  And if you are really organized, you can get several days to a week or more done ahead and ready to write (doodle, draw, stamp, color, collage, glue) your hearts out.  I know you guys are all uber-creative and can come up with dozens of more creative ways to make your journaling pages pretty and less boring!

As always, we're keeping it artful, and hope you are too.  Enjoy your journals!

~~Betty aka Arty Auntie

Melody, Lynn and Shana