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Art Journaling at Daniel Smith

by | Musings

I went to the free art journaling demo at Daniel Smith Art in Seattle on Saturday and it was a total blast. Liesel Lund lead the demo and she showed us how to make our own journal. Then she talked about some of her favorite products and showed us a few techniques for art journaling. She even shared some of her art journals — all of which were amazing. My favorite was an underwater-themed art journal with cut-away pages that reminded me of books I had when I was a kid. The kind with holes in the middle that slowly reveal more of the picture. Very cool.

I’m definitely signing up for the hands-on workshop in August that she’s teaching there – Intro to Art Journaling. It seems right up my alley since I’m pretty new to the format as an actual genre (though I’ve been collaging for a hundred years). Liesel also hosts workshops at her home in Phinney Ridge and several of them looks fabulous. Can’t wait to dig in.

So I was going to take photos of the event to share, but there was a big “NO PHOTOGRAPHY” sign at the front of the room when we arrived. Not sure why, but I didn’t want to get kicked out so I obeyed. (For the most part.) But the set-up reminded me of a cooking class, with Liesel at the front working at a big counter, with an enormous mirror overhead so we could watch her work.

She passed around sheets of paper demonstrating various media and how they behave on different surfaces. The sheets were super useful, and I’m going to make some of my own back at the ranch. They help you decide on the best tool for the job at hand. Some paints are easier to work with if you gesso the surface, and others provide the desired effect by seeping naturally into the paper. I’ve never been much of a painter, but I love to work with brush pens and watercolor pencils. She showed quite an array of both.

One of my favorite products she showed us was metallic gold gesso, which she used to finish the inside covers of the journal she made. It created such a gorgeous sparkly surface. She worked dark acrylic paint into the gessoed surface with a wet paper towel to add depth and variation. It was magical. I wanted to buy some of the colored gesso in silver, but they only had gold. I’m on the hunt.

I picked up a few other tools she demonstrated that looked like fun — a Lyra water-soluble graphite pencil, which has an addictive creamy texture and is easy to work with wet or dry. It reminds me of that one-in-a-million perfect kohl eyeliner. The pencil is great for writing on or embellishing a page. Since I’m not much of a brush-painter, I like the idea of working with a pencil.

I also got a giant jar of YES! craft paste which is fabulously tacky and flexible. I’ve been using rubber cement for decades, more out of “always have” than any other reason. So I’m excited to try a new adhesive medium.

There’s one more object of desire on my list that Daniel Smith did not carry but luckily the University of Washington Bookstore does. It’s a white Sharpie Paint Marker. Kerry and I are headed to the U Bookstore tomorrow so I’ll be able to pick one up. Sharpie can pretty much do no wrong, as far as I’m concerned. And I’ve got a blank art journal I’m starting that has black pages, so I’m searching for illuminated pens and paint to use. Liesel’s underwater-themed journal had many dark pages and the metallic blues and purples accented by white just looked toe-curlingly fabulous. I’m so inspired to try my hand at it. I’ll be sure to share the results!

I definitely recommend checking out the art supply stores in your area to see if they offer demos or workshops. If they don’t tell them to get on the ball or you’ll have to move to Seattle.

Yours in journaling,


hey, friend!

I’m Kristin. Welcome to Journaling Saves. If you’re new to the site, start here for the grand tour. Thanks for coming!