Wednesday, December 4, 2013

AJ Wednesday–Gathering Images

By now I am hoping that you are starting to feel better and less intimidated by the whole art journaling process. Just get a journal, gather up some supplies, tackle those (could be) frightening blank pages, and next...

Now what to do?

In my way 2013-12-04 11.30.17of doing things, this is when I begin adding collage elements and images to my pages. Where do I get most of my images? Let’s see...

  • cut from magazines and periodicals,
  • copies of my own journal pages,
  • old calendars,
  • copies of my own photographs or family photos (sometimes the actual photos themselves find their way into my journals,)
  • occasionally I find images online that I love and will print those out but when I do that, I make sure to fully change up the actual image,
  • there are groups, blogs, web sites and Etsy shops that offer images/collage sheets for free or for a nominal fee (I’ve never paid, just saying).
  • my own drawings
  • cut up scrapbook papers (mostly for borders or focal point add-ons like wings or hats or dresses, those type of things)
  • junk mail and direct mail fliers
  • general found fodder like clothing tags, thrifted old pictures, stamps, restaurant placemats or coasters, old book or dictionary pages, business cards, post cards, greeting cards, etc.

The list could go on and on but I am going to stop there. I think these give you a place to start from as you begin to build your image stockpile, however large or small you want it to be.

Storing images can also be a challenge. You want to be able to find your images quickly and easily so they need to be in a convenient spot. I have a three drawer plastic organizer (like this one –>) that I keep right on my table top within arms reach. I have found the system that works for me but it took a while, certainly not overnight, and it tends to change at times because, well, so do I.

Here’s my way (at the moment):

  1. The top drawer is where I keep focal images such as people or larger faces, larger flowers, Buddha images, photos I want to keep intact, any larger interesting element I might be able to use as the focal point, anchor image, or main basis of a journal page.
  2. The middle drawer is for smaller images that I use in a secondary way. Flowers, birds, skulls, hands, stars, hearts, crosses, or any other images I come across to add interest around a focal image. These are more of the little bits I find here and there...stamps, facial features like eyes or mouths I’ve cut from faces, receipts, movie tickets, product labels, and just anything I find interesting enough to keep.
  3. The bottom drawer is where I keep border images I find/cut from various places as well as background type images (landscape pics are pretty big for me here as well as abstract images, too.)

That is just my way of doing it; just what works for me. How you organize your images is totally up to you, your preferences, your available space, your budget can even be a factor, I know.

At one point I put my images in file folders I taped the sides closed and decorated them and I just added all the images I was saving. Nothing wrong with doing that way. You can always use a box or basket (another way I’ve done it along the way,) Ziplock baggies, or there are tons of ways that you could come up with.

Above all, do what makes it easiest for you to find images as you work,and begin collecting images now. Add to it whenever you come across things that appeal to you.

Next up we will cover adding those newfound images and collage fodder to your pages. I am going to have a video for y’all (no promises cause I am not very video savvy, but I will try) showing how to start adding collage fodder and pictures to your pages so gather some images now.

**Note: If you are not wanting to use collage or images in your art journaling, you might still consider adding borders or frames to your pages.(<-This is one way I use mine.) One of the art lessons that has stuck with me for years is that “everything looks better when framed.” Whether it’s with color, clippings, drawn doodles, or whatever designs you come up with, consider giving your pages a frame or border for a more finished look.

Coming up next, adding collage/images to your pages.

Back soon with more of the good stuff.

peace & love,


  1. I'm really enjoying this series, thank you for doing it! My son and I are sharing an art journal space in the basement. We like to work on stuff while watching tv or a movie. He really likes how his book is turning out.

  2. Great starting List, thanks :)


Thank you so much for taking the time to drop by. I am open to any comments, questions, suggestions, critiques, etc, so lay it on me...
Peace & Love,

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