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customize your sketchbook into an art journal

Customizing your sketchbook into an Art Journal

This is an excerpt from the Express Yourself – Creative Well Being Online class , this class can be purchased by itself or as a bundle with the Art supplies box.

It is very easy to do and much more inspiring than the plain cover!

customize your sketchbook

This is the sketchbook I am going to use.

transform your sketchbook into an art journal

This is the sketchbook, once we painted it.

Here is how you can customize your sketchbook.

open the wire binding

You can see the opening of the wire binding under the last page of your sketchbook.

customize your sketchbook express yourself online art class

Gently pull apart both sides just enough so the back cover can go through.

take off the back cover

Take off the back cover

take off the front cover

The take off the front cover

paint over your sketchbook cover with white acrylic paint

Work on a surface that is protected by paper or plastic. Here I am applying a first layer of regular bodied white acrylic. You might need a few layers if you want a totally white background, but as we are going to draw and paint on top, I thought one layer was enough in my case.

paint sketchbook cover

Spread the paint evenly , don’t forget the side with the holes.

make an art journal

Once the paint has dried, you can if you want add a layer of fluid acrylic to make the brushstrokes less visible.

paint book cover

Just use the squeeze bottle to add a bit of paint on the cover.

customize your sketchbook

Then spread it with a brush. You can add a bit of water to make the paint easier to spread. Let it dry completely.

clean the sides with a cutter

Once dry, you might get some extra paint along the sides. Clean them with a cuter.

clean the cover holes

You can clean up the holes with the handle of a brush.

draw on your sketchbook cover

The first step is to draw designs with your Sakura Pigma micron marker.

smudge on your sakura pigma micron drawings

This marker is water resistant once dried  but can smudge if your hand goes over it before it had time to dry. This is what happened here, I don’t mind it too much as my style is not about being perfect, on the contrary 🙂

design your own sketchbook

Depending on your design, you can extend it right up to the sides of the cover.

paint on your sketchbook with acrylic

I mixed a blue-green-grey color with the Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Yellow medium and White fluid acrylics Opus fluid Acrylic paints.

make your own sketchbook cover

Don’t forget to mix the paint with your brush every time you dip it in the paint as colors will tend to separate.

painting around the designs

Then you can apply the paint, in this case I left the designs white.

paint your book cover

I like it but want to make the background a bit more even so I am painting another layer of paint once this one had time to dry.

mixing yellow paint

For the next layer I just added a bit more yellow in my mix.

layering acrylic colors

protect sketchbook cover with acrylic medium

Once your cover had time to dry, it can be a good idea to add a layer of medium on top to protect the paint.

draw with sharpie on sketchbook cover

I also went over some of the stems with the thicker marker so they would be more obvious. You could use a sharpie to do that.

applying medium so marker won't smudge

The Sakura Pigma micron pen can smudge with medium, but it won’t smudge if you apply the medium very quickly in one layer.

medium paint smudge

The trick is to not go over the same area twice when the medium is still wet. Once you have painted one layer of medium, you can paint the subsequent layers freely, as the paint and markers won’t smudge any more.

Let the cover dry well.

replace sketchbook cover

Replace the cover on the sketchbook.

replace sketchbook back cover

Then the back cover.

replace binding wires

Gently replace the wires as they were initially, so the cover can’t go through anymore.

customized personal art journal

Et Voila! Your personal Art Journal is customized!