Using Digital Files in Art Journaling

I have admired art journalers for a long time.  Last year I began obsessively watching Jane Davenport, and then discovered Let’s Get Inkie, followed by a recent binge of Ali Brown (thanks Illustrated Faith!).  I loved seeing the creativity spilling onto these ladies’ fabulous pages, but felt like it was far out of my reach.  I’ve never really been somebody who could draw.  This was often highlighted by the fact that I grew up with an incredibly gifted sister and mother.  They are both wonderful artists, and my skills were in other areas.  But, I felt the pull to begin art journaling, so decided to jump in this year with both feet.

Something I have quickly discovered is that you don’t have to be able to draw to express yourself in art.  Not all of us are blessed with the same skills, and THAT IS OKAY!  I’ve been turning to printable files, ephemera pieces, and other techniques to capture the feel I am looking for without having to draw the images on my own.  Is it cheating?  I don’t think so, but I suppose others may.  The truth is, I don’t really care.  I am enjoying this dive into art journaling, and I feel like whatever makes art accessible to more people is the away to go.  We were all created to create, and the stigma of “doing it wrong” needs to go.  Do what you love! (If you are looking for more ways to incorporate ephemera and printables into journaling, check out THIS POST)


My inspiration for today’s page came from two different sources.  First off, were these beautiful “Better Days” girls from A Pile of Ashes.  I love the look of the girls, and the emotion they convey.  I also was inspired by a quote I saw on a friend’s Instagram account…

“I don’t know what it’s like to not have deep emotions, even when I feel nothing, I feel it completely.” -A.R. Asher

I completely identified with that sentiment, and wanted to capture it in my art journal!

img_2346I began with a pile of branding strips that I had recently trimmed off of a bunch of Felicity Jane papers that I am planning on using in my traveler’s notebook.  I lined up the scraps and chose the pieces that I thought related loosely to the colors in my “Better Days” girl.  I had a great time layering these pieces onto a piece of cardstock, mixing solids and patterns, and creating texture with overlapped pieces.  I also added a circle texture stamp from By the Well 4 God to pick up the circles that were on the girl’s sweater.  Hickory Smoke Distress Oxide Ink gave the faded look I was going for.


After all the pieces were glued down, I loosely traced the reverse side of some Dina Wakely heart stamps.  I wish that I had some sort of punch or stencil with hearts, but no luck this time.  Tracing the back of a stamp is a good technique to use to get the most out of your stamp investment.  Cutting through the thick layers was not the easiest, but I was pleased with the ephemera pieces I ended up with.  I added some sketchy lines on the edges of the hearts and laid them out on the page to play with placement.


img_2356On first glance, I was afraid my girl would fade into the background, so I mounted her on another scrap of Felicity Jane paper I had lying around.  Tearing and inking the edges of the paper added a bit more dimension.  I grabbed some doilies that I recently picked up during a Valentine’s sale and used clear gesso to adhere them to the pages of the art journal.  To pick up some more of the teal color in the girl’s socks, I used the ink smooshing technique with Distress Oxide Peacock Feathers to add some splatters across the page.  Here’s a more in-depth tutorial on Ink Smooshing.  I also used the same Hickory Smoke Distress Oxide Ink to add some sketchy Dina Wakely hearts around the page.


img_2368I adhered all the pieces down with a Tombow Tape runner and decided to use script to add in the quote.  After I added a simple border around the edge, the page was done!  I love the juxtaposition of the bright colors with a bit of a darker quote and downturned expression from the girl.  So intriguing trying to think of what she might be thinking!

Are printables in art journaling cheating?  Well, if they are, call me a cheater.  This will most definitely not be the last time I use them!


Keep it creative!

-The Scrappy Wife

Supplies Used:

Published by Elisa

I'm a mom of 3 who loves all things creative! My current passion is bible journaling, a creative outlet that has really shaped my faith journey. I'm also excited about diving into some memory-keeping projects and dabbling in a bit of art journaling.

4 thoughts on “Using Digital Files in Art Journaling

  1. You create such beautiful art. Your work gives me great ideas for my TN journal. I too love Jane Davenport, and have a couple of her binders, stamps and pencils. I really enjoy your blog and always learn something new and creative!

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