Friday, May 15th, 2015

The Art of Art Journaling: Backgrounds


Art by Stephanie Smith

Over the years, I’ve been fortunate for the ability to test, review and play with a wide variety of Exaclair products, including this “Verge de France” laid finish card stock.

While I’m guessing these cards are typically used for invitations and the like, I’ve recently been drawing on them with colored pencils and I really like them for two reasons: the first is how the laid lines add texture to the piece. Secondly, I simply like using the color of the card stock as the background color.

(The technique of painting over top of a colored “ground” or background, is known as “Imprimatura”  – Italian for “first layer or more commonly, an underpainting.) 

Open stock G-Lalo stationery like this, and other hard to find Exaclair items can be purchases from Paper Bistro, Exaclair’s e-commerce site for consumers. (Some items may be limited to stock on hand) 

Prismacolor Premier colored pencils on G Lalo stationery. Art by Stephanie Smith

Many people will add background color to the pages of their journals because it makes it fun to write or sketch in them. Not up for writing or drawing today? Just make backgrounds!

111809 014
Art by Stephanie Smith

This is one of the early Webnotebooks which had the Rhodia name printed in the lower right corner of each page. For the background, I used fountain pen inks applied with a sponge brush and then drew over top of them with a white gel ink pen. (Here’s a few more pieces with inky backgrounds) 

021311 042
Manifestation Mandala by Stephanie Smith

This is also a Webnotebook, and for the black background, I covered the page with acrylic black gesso, then drew on it with a white gel pen. (Black gesso in my journals led me to paint almost exclusively over a black background. Examples can be found here.)

Art by Stephanie Smith

In this smaller Webbie, I used PanPastels to create this colored background. Marker and I believe, colored pencil was added over top.

Need more inspiration for creating colored backgrounds in your journals or art journals?

Art Journaling 101 – Background Techniques

Creating Backgrounds from Mixed Media Techniques for Art Journaling

How to quickly paint pages in your art journal that you can easily write and draw on

Fearless Art Journaling, Part 3: Backgrounds

Background Techniques

6 thoughts on “The Art of Art Journaling: Backgrounds

  1. @StoneZebra – I personally don’t think that would be a good idea because the pastel dust could clog up the pen or be harsh on the nib. Maybe try a calligraphy dip nib instead?

  2. Hey Stephanie,

    Just wondering if it’s okay to use a fountain pen on top of pan pastels? I’ve always worried it would damage the nib.

Leave a Comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


A modern notebook since 1934

Buy Rhodia