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DecoArt Mixed Media Blog

Playful Art Journaling

by: Kate Crane
March 6, 2018

Playful Art Journaling

As a passionate art journaler I just love playing in my art journal. This is when I begin with a blank page and have absolutely no idea where I’m going, but just allow myself to follow my instincts, experiment, and play. I think it is when and where the real learning takes place. I wanted to play a bit more with the DecoArt Americana Premium Acrylics as these are still relatively new to me and the more you use your paints the more you get to really know them. I adore the bright colours!

The following steps may seem a little haphazard because they are! But the steps can really be done in any order, and you can always add more layers.

Items needed :

  • Americana Premium Acrylics - Primary Magenta
  • Americana Premium Acrylics - Primary Yellow
  • Americana Premium Acrylics - Cobalt Teal Hue
  • Americana Premium Acrylics - Vermillion Hue
  • Americana Premium Acrylics - Titanium White
  • Americana Premium Acrylics - Carbon Black
  • DecoArt Media Mediums and Specialty Products - Gesso - White
  • DecoArt Media Mediums and Specialty Products - Gesso - Black
  • DecoArt Media Mediums and Specialty Products - Clear Matte Medium
  • Flat paintbrush
  • Stencils
  • A selection of background stamps
  • A selection of background stamps
  • Ink pads
  • Crayons/pastels
  • Pencil
  • White gel pen
  • Fine black journaling pen

Instructions :

Cover a journal page completely with white gesso, and when dry add patches of black gesso.  Take a small amount of Primary Magenta and also a small amount of Titanium White and brush patches of pink onto the page. When the paint is wet scribble or doodle into it with the tip of a pencil.

Add some patches of Primary Yellow and some areas of Titanium White. The translucency of the paints allows you to overlap the colours a little. Scribble into the wet paint as before. Use your finger to add some polka dots of colour, and then use a white gel pen to add tiny dots. Take a fine black journaling pen and loosely journal in a light area of the page.

Add patches of Cobalt Teal Hue mixed with a little Titanium White to add some opacity. To strengthen the depth of colour, allow this layer to dry and then dry brush a little of the Cobalt Teal Hue over the top. Also add some finger dots as before, and then begin to add a little doodling with a white gel pen as you go along. I find simple marks such as dots, circles and dotted lines work well.

Add some touches of Vermillion Hue; it looks great over the yellow but also really pops when you add it over the pink. Sticking to the same colours, sponge contrasting colours through a stencil, and also add some colour to the areas of remaining black. Add some more doodling as you go along.

Introduce a little stamping where you feel there are gaps. I used some tone-on-tone stamping with the blue, but also added some stamping in black.

Continue to allow the page to build by sponging through a different stencil for a little variety. Also add some marks by ‘printing’ with a paintbrush, bottle lids and old credit cards. You can also splat some watered-down paint in black (if you’re feeling brave!)

Add some collage images; three is often a good number as it is balanced without being too symmetrical or even. Add any more touches of doodling or journaling, and as a final step, add intensity to the colours with crayons or oil pastels.

Be sure to visit The Kathryn Wheel for more projects and to learn more about Kate Crane.


Thanks for the step by step Kate. I really need to let myself go with bright colours more instead of always playing safe. Stef x

Stef Adams

March 6, 2018

So bright and uplifting on such a grey day. Great inspiration Kate, thanks. X

Hazel Agnew

March 6, 2018

Boooooooooootiful Kate....

Pat Crossland

March 6, 2018

You are the Queen of VIBRANT Kate. You always make our DecoArt colors looks so FABULOUS and that's because they ARE fabulous!!! This is just LOVELY - reminds me of SPRING! Xj.


March 6, 2018

A brilliant, easy to follow build up of layers Kate. I really enjoyed reading through your process. I love all the different marks! I learn so much from you!

Chris Cresswell

March 6, 2018

Fabulous instructions. Fabulous piece. I love how clear the instructions are, this is totally something I can follow and do. Thank you! Such a beautiful piece!!! Kate, you are a great teacher!!!!


March 6, 2018

Great tutorial and I love the colors! You have inspired me to do more Journal play! Xx Kim

Kim Collister

March 6, 2018

A bold and incredibly beautiful piece of art !

Anne R

March 6, 2018

Kate, so fun to see your progression. Love your colors.

Coleen Franks

March 6, 2018

I love your art journal play, Kate! I love this kind of playing with layers, paints and mark making too. The slight translucency of the premium paints adds perfectly to the look of your page! Love love love! Claudia x


March 7, 2018

Love seeing the process to your beautiful piece. Lovely depth and Color!


March 7, 2018

Beautiful colors, great instructions - love the journal page!


March 8, 2018

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