How To Easily Create A Background For An Art Journal

I know that sometimes it can be difficult to get started with making an art journal, but I think the easiest way is by making a tag shaped one!

I have created a very simple tag art journal so I can show you exactly how I made it step by step, and it’s a lot easier than you might think.

easy backgrounds for art  journals

I am a member of a lot of art and craft groups, and art journals are very popular, but one thing keeps being mentioned over and over again, and that is how to create backgrounds.

Usually, the background is the first place to start, but many people worry about getting it wrong and spoiling their lovely new art journal.

Which is where the beauty of using tags come into play, although this method works just as well in an art journal or any other surface you want create your background on

By first creating a batch of large tag shapes and punching the holes for the ring binders to be placed and one at the top for the trim, you have an instant art journal page, but it’s not attached to any sort of journal, so it takes away any pressure of messing up.

If you decide that you really don’t like one of the art tags you’ve created, then you can leave it out… No having to tear out a page or gesso over it.

How To Create Easy Backgrounds For Your Art Journal

A point to remember when creating any type of background, is that it’s usually built up in a series of layers.

Really, anything can be used to create layers, such as paint, ink, markers, crayons, scrap paper, stickers… Just think of what you already have, and how it can be used.

However, for these backgrounds I have used acrylic paint as my first layer.

I typically only use 2 colors for a background, 3 at the most, because I don’t want lots of colors taking over the page.

One of the important things to remember, or perhaps the most important, is to not mix warm and cool colors. when blending, if you do mix warm and cool together, that is when you are likely to get a very muddy color.

What Are The Warm And Cool Colors?

Warm Colours:

  • Red-Violet
  • Red
  • Red-Orange
  • Orange
  • Yellow-Orange
  • Yellow

Cool Colors:

  • Yellow-Green
  • Green
  • Blue-Green
  • Blue
  • Blue-Violet
  • Violet

It’s really useful to have a simple color wheel on hand to refer to if you’re unsure.

Practice Color Mixing

I keep any offcuts of card and use them to test out color combinations I’m thinking of using.

This is a great way to get used to which colors work the best together.

color test cards for backgrounds

Video Tutorial For Creating An Art Journal Background

I think the easiest way to explain how I create my art journal backgrounds, is to record a video, so that is just what I have done.

Just click on the video below, or watch it on Youtube along with my other videos here

Click to watch the video

Here is a list of some of the supplies I used to make these art journal backgrounds

Adding More Layers To The Background

Once I have my first layer of paint down, my next step is to use the two colors I’ve already used to add some stencilling.

I usually use a couple of different stencils and sponge the paint over the stencil very lightly.

Next I use some craft stamps and Archival ink to add some more detail.

Each of these layers adds a little more depth to the finished background as it builds up.

If you want to see how I created an art journal tag book with these backgrounds you can see the finished book here

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