How to Use Watercolors in a Journal
Watercolors can bring a journal to life, and it’s an excellent new method if you’ve been journaling for a long time and want to try something different. Don’t let the fear of not having experience stop you; watercolors are a very forgiving medium and really make the pages of your journal come to life. Watercolors are beautiful and expressive, even if it doesn’t come out perfectly.
Start with Doodling
If you’re unsure where to start, doodling is a good place. Give yourself the freedom to doodle patterns and shapes. Use a permanent, waterproof pen that won’t smear or bleed when applying watercolors. Once you have your doodles completed, gently begin applying watercolors. Experiment with various colors, brushes, and techniques. Be sure to change consistency so you’ll get layers and varying degrees of transparency. You can also pay attention to how the strength of your grip and the way you stroke your brush affect how the watercolors look.
There are a few things to consider when using watercolors in your journal. One, be sure you select a journal that can withstand water. Two, be mindful of the amount of water you use and avoid oversaturating the page with too many heavy layers. That doesn’t mean you can’t layer; it just means you need to learn all journals are different and water control is essential. Another important component of water coloring is to let your paper dry completely in between layers. Allowing your journal pages to dry prevents bleeding and keeps the integrity of your design. You can use a heat tool to expedite the drying process.
Overthinking works against the flow of using watercolors. Watercolors are a free-spirited art medium. They are the flip-flops in a room full of dress shoes. Watercolors are not stiff or fussy; they are casual, and therefore your approach when using them needs to be relaxed. You can make up your own rules once you get the basics down. Be experimental and allow yourself the freedom to let loose!
Use tape & weight
Using peel-able tape such as Washi tape is a great way to keep a contoured page. Apply removable tape to the edge of your journal pages before you begin. This allows you to frame your page, create a border and keep the edges clean. You can customize your border by adjusting the width of your tape. It’s also a great way to prevent watercolors from running off or seeping to the back page. If you don’t want a border, skip the tape. Watercolors can cause your pages to warp or wrinkle. To prevent this, weigh your pages down. You can use an actual weight or stack something heavy enough to compress your pages. Using this weighting technique helps pages lay flat when your journal is open.
Hopefully, these tips have given you confidence and will motivate you to try watercolors. Even if they’re not your preferred medium, they are a great way to shake things up, especially if you feel uninspired. Watercolors are perfect for when you want to enjoy making art free from constraints. There are only a few essential tips to follow, you don’t need to overthink, and your imagination can have fun. Be expressive and adventurous and step outside the box with this playful medium.