I was playing around with paints and made a small ATC sized art journal sample piece. I am new to all this so I really was just having a play. I just used a couple of colours, and some white, and a plasterers texture scraper – it’s a bit like a credit card on one edge but the other has some saw-tooth like notches. The thing is, my craft mat was a bit messy and the scrapper, which I use a lot, had some residual ink and other muck on it, so scraping it across the sample left bits of other colours, of black ink, of all kinds of stuff. This is what it looks like in its natural state:
And just a bit closer so maybe you can see the texture of it:
I was looking at it and really, really liked it. But I know from experience there was no way I was ever going to be able to duplicate it, or even get close. Sure, I might make another one, but it may not be as nice – it could be better, but chances are it won’t be, ’cause life’s like that. So I thought how might I capture it to make good use of it? It’s only 2.5 x 3.5 so nt a lot that can be done with it in that small size. I thought about the printables that I make and thought what if I use my own sample to create something that uses the sample as the colour, rather than a flat colour fill?
I first scanned my small sample at 300 dpi. I opened that in PSE, as well as a blank file. Then I set about creating a number of border-y things – rows of triangles, scallops, banners (mostly by tiling the Shape Tool images to fit across the page) in black. I dragged in my sample then did the Create Clipping Mask thing to fill the black with my sample. Cool.
I also did the more simple Select>Paste for some plain circles.
I love the look of the checkerboard edges (I love them on my scrapbook pages too, and have lots of that sort of paper collected) so I also made a strip of solid black and solid white squares. I aligned the squares. selected just the black, then just the white, doing a Merge Visible on each group. Then I filled the white ones with black too, and added the Texturizer on them, just so they didn’t look quite so flat. Did the same clipping mask command to fill one set with my sample then staggered the two strips (one black, one with my sample) to create a checkerboard.
Here’s what they look like printed!
I can now print them and cut them out to use them on anything I like. I did take the further step to copy over the two black box strips to another file and saved it as CHECKERBOARD. That way I can drag over anything else I want, to create that pattern with ease. I did the one, then duplicated it so I had three of them, but in future I think I would make different ones so the coloured areas aren’t the same on all three – the idea was to be able to create a longer strip, and I can still alter them a bit by copying over the strips and flipping them or overlapping bits so they a double-length strip isn’t just the same “pattern” side-by-side, but it would be easier to create different strips for more variety.
So from a small 2.5 x 3.5 sample. I now have a full sheet of collage clips – and one that I can mess about with, doing colour variations, for example, to create even more fun stuff.
It only took about an hour to do so no reason I wouldn’t do this for any sample that I make that I really like. And I expect I will play about a bit more with the tools and techniques before I decide if the whole art journal thing is for me. I am feeling too splintered at the moment, with scrapbooking, making printables, art journaling, even making cards and ATCs all fighting for dominance in my head space. Something has to give, but in my heart of hearts I know scrapbooking is likely to win out.
It’s interesting. I wonder if the art journaling thing is a more honest expression of who some of us scrapbookers are as (dare I say it? Yep.) artists? MOST scrappers I know say they make their pages for their kids, for their family, as a record of their lives. But as time goes on, some of them have also said to me, almost as if it is sacrilegious, that they really scrapbook for themselves, as an artistic expression that happens to use family photos.
Maybe it’s almost as an excuse for making time for art, as if they need to justify it with the higher purpose of doing it “for the kids.” Now I am IN NO WAY saying that is true for every scrapbooker, but I do wonder if the progression of some scrappers from layouts to art journals (which tend to be by, for, about, the creator – I mean if there is an art journaler out there who is journaling someone ELSES life, I’ve yet to stumble across them!) is because the kids grow up, move out, move on, and all of a sudden there is this gap where the reams of photos each month dwindle to a handful, the grandparents have enough mini-books to keep them happy, and there you are. A scrapper with few photos to scrap (unless you are happy to live in the past and catch up on all the unscrapped photos from years back) and all this creative energy with no outlet.
It’s hard (at least it is for me) to make the shift to scrapping stuff I care about, or aspects of my life. I am in awe of Shimelle because she does it so easily. Is it because she started out scrapping her own life? Is it harder to go back and adjust your focus, and is art journaling easier because you are beginning fresh, with a new purpose? I am just FULL of questions today! But that is enough. I’m clearly in an introspective mood and maybe THAT has to do with considering art journaling as well! I’ll leave it, but if you have thoughts on this, comment and let me know.