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Art Journal: Doodle Over Background

Hello Friend,

Perhaps one of my favorite things to do in my journal is doodle. You do not need to be a great artist to doodle. Personally, I think doodling is more relaxing than coloring any day. So I would like to show you my simple background and how to go about doodling.

The Supplies

Mixed media or watercolor paper
White crayon
Distress spray inks (I used Jim Holtz Distress Spray Stain)
Water spritzer and water
Fine point Sharpie
08 Micron Pen

The Background

1. Start by drawing a design on your paper with your white crayon. The ink/stain will resist these areas leaving a design. Just do the best you can. It will be hard to see exactly what you are doing. I drew some vines going into my flower in the center and drew a few more in different directions. No rules, just draw. You can even do squiggly lines, circles, or fun shapes. This step just adds an extra dimension.

2. I wipe the surface off to get any stay bits off crayon off. Protect your work area with paper towels or and old towel. I sprayed my watercolor paper with 3 differently colored stains. 

3. Next I sprayed the ink with my water mister. This activates and moves the stain. You will see how the stain "resists" the crayon design. You can do a few things here. 

*Use a paper towel and wipe the stain in one direction. This creates a smooth, soft surface of color.

*Dab up some stain leaving funky designs.

*Tilt your paper and let it run. It will run around the crayons and make neat designs.

*Let it dry as is.

I chose to wipe in one direction, spray some more and tilt and run. (See photo above)

Now just let it dry. It may take 30 minutes to one hour. You can use a heat tool or hair dryer to speed up the process.


Now you get to doodle whatever your heart desires. I always go for flowers but you can do weird shapes and fill them in. (See below) For the most part, you are repeating lines and shapes. Repetition will help you become a better drawer. 

Start with a focal point. Maybe a circle or flower in the center. Or work up from a corner. Think of ways to fill in a shape. Lines and dots are simple add-ins. 

Here is a simple little tutorial on how to doodle a flower

In the picture above, I show you how to draw one of my favorite doodle flowers. Try using different sized pens and see how it changes the flower. Using different thicknesses adds depth and makes the drawing more interesting. 

Once your surface is mostly covered with designs, you may wish to add some more detail. I gave you a few samples above of little, filler designs. I use seeds and dots a lot to fill in a page.

I hope this gets you off to a good start. If you do a journal page you really love, just tag me in Instagram @fourthavepenandink. I'd love to see what you did!


DIY Thrifty Journal

Fourth Ave. Pen & Ink - Here is an easy journal to make with paper and Mod Podge

Dear Friend,

I am having a serious pile-up of sticky notes around here so it was high-time to make a little journal to write tidbits in. If you know me at all, I try to do everything very frugally. This is not for an art journal as I don't think the paper inside would hold up to that. But the lined paper inside is great for lists, notes, or maybe even a little prayer journal. You may already have much of the supplies around your house.


Journal - I got this at WalMart. I think they also had green and pink ribbons.
Mod Podge - I got this at the Dollar Store
Paper - I printed off my own paper. Use what you have around the house or use this set of free paper. I printed this on regular computer paper as the cover is fairly sturdy.
Sharpie marker - I already had this.
Acrylic paint is optional. I ended up not using it.

Let's Begin

1. Start by organizing your supplies and find a work area that can get messy. 

2. This journal measures 5 1/2 inches long. It is just under 4 1/2 inches across as I wrapped the paper just over the back binding. (See below)  Cut some strips of paper with these dimensions in mind. I ended up cutting some shorter to piece in.

3. Starting at the bottom: I painted the paper with a thin coat of Mod Podge. Make sure to get out to the edges to avoid problems later on. Start on the bottom. Place you paper (see above) just over the back binder and wrap across the front of the cover. A 4 1/2 inch piece should fit all the way across. Now, piece by piece, add more paper in different directions and layers. 

*Hint* Let each layer dry before the next to avoid bubbles and wrinkles. Don't ask me how I know this. 😏

You could just stop here and apply a final coat of Mod Podge and have a cool looking journal. 

4. Or you can jazz it up with paint and markers and whatever you fancy. I like to draw simple shapes and make marks. I used circles, dashes and seed shapes.

5. To finish, apply a final coat of Mod Podge. I applied it medium thick and made sure that the binder and edges where sealed really well. I trimmed any edges of paper that were sticking out.

6. (Optional) I used some washi tape to make tabs and I knotted some thread in a paper clip to make a book mark. I just used what I had around the house. 

So that's it! Using different types of paper can really change it up. Changing the marker colors and mark styles can make a difference too. I hope you are able to make this fun little journal! If you do, take a photo and tag me in Instagram @Fourthavepenandink.  I'd love to see what you made.

*Remember...let it dry a little in between coats. 😉

Sharing at: Sugar Bee Crafts

All the best,

Fourth Ave. Pen & Ink - Here is a fun little journal to make. You probably have most of the supplies and the rest is very inexpensive

Christmas in July Sale


I am very excited to participate in Etsy's Christmas in July sale! From July 1 through July 10th, take advantage of 30% off everything in the shop.

Here a peak at what I have to offer for your creativity:

Digital Paper - Watercolor

I made a line of papers that are perfect for your art journal projects. They are fun and funky and full of color. Best part is, they are only $1! Check them out HERE.

There are also 12" x 12" watercolor papers that are good for scrapbooks, journals, collage, cards, tags and blogs. They come in coordinating color combos. See them HERE.

I have a line of paper designed around metallic gold. I love this and used it for a project HERE. View the papers HERE.

Black and white watercolor papers are my best seller. No wonder. Black and white is so versatile. They add interest in art journaling and mixed media and are fun to add into scrapbook pages. Now is the time to save on them HERE.

Coloring Pages

Coloring pages are included in the sale too. See them HERE.


Last but not least, clipart! Check them out HERE!

To take part in savings, just make a purchase during July 1 - July 10th and use code:


Which stands for Esty Christmas In July 2017! 


PS. If you would like to be notified of special promotions, receive freebies, and get caught up on the blog...

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10 Art Journal Prompt to Help You Break A Page

Fourth Ave. Pen & Ink - Here are some prompts to help you get started

Hello Friend,

Are you thinking of starting a journal? I think the most daunting part of journaling is what to do with that blank page. There are so many options it is hard to decide which way to go. Or maybe you are just getting started and don't have many supplies. That's okay. The how-to videos are awesome but can be overwhelming if you don't have all the tools that they are using.

Keep it simple. Use what you have and just start. Try a sharpie pen, your child's paints, you can download my free paper HERE for some paper, and a small bottle of Mod Podge or gel medium. You can build your supplies from there. Here are some other ideas of items you may have around the house.

Pages from old books
Magazine pages
Fabric scraps
Colored pencils
Coloring Pages

Here are some prompts to help you break that page
Right click to download

About the 10 Prompts

1. Try to use all geometric shapes on your page. Here is an example of a page I used with cut up triangles, rectangles and circles. The petals on the flower are the same shape as a design on the paper.

2. Pick a favorite color and only use that color in your piece. Think of different textures here. Use paper, fabric, paint, etc... to use that one color.

3. Compliment colors are opposite of each other on the color wheel. 

4. Use a coloring page. Use part of an adult coloring page or any black and white drawing. It can be colored or not, but make it part of your design. 

5. Use your own lettering. This is a hard one for me. Don't worry about perfection. Put your personality into a word or phrase. Use pen, paint, ink - whatever.

6. Use only paper. Look for paper around the house. Envelopes, scraps, scrapbook paper and magazines.

7. No paint. I always incorporate paint onto my page so not using it will be a challenge. I haven't done this yet.

8. Get a mirror or use your memory. Don't worry about the details. Capture the essence of you. Sometimes you can focus on one feature such a eyes or hair.

9. This can be from a magazine or one printed off of your computer. It can be anything - tree, chair, pet...

10. Use fabric from around your house if possible. It can be ribbon, thread or even yarn. 

So there you have it. Hopefully, having a focus will get your brain moving and help you to put something on a page. Honestly, there are times when I love what I make and sometimes I don't like it at all. The great thing about a journal is that you can start over or just learn from what you don't like. No one will see it anyway!

All The Best,

Why I started an Art Journal and Love it

Fourth Ave Pen & Ink - I need to learn to loosen up and get messy

Hello Friend,

Do you have an art journal? I must admit that I am very new to this craft. I am very comfortable with photography. I love to create digital papers and the entire process that goes with it. But I never had an art journal.

The reason I never started one was fear of failure. What an abysmal reason to not try something. But, I got a grip and forged ahead with only some simple supplies.

There are two reasons I decided to give it a go. Number one is that I have to market my digital paper and discovered there is a whole new way of using paper beyond digital scrapbooking. I stumbled upon art journaling and mixed media as a way to incorporate paper into art. Whoa! There are so many creative ways to use it, that I had to give it a try.

The second reason relates to my fear of failure, or perfectionism. I shutter at the idea of having a journal and flipping through the pages and not having work that looks like other people's work. Can you relate to the comparison trap?

But I knew that I had to get over that fear and make mistakes in order to learn and develop my own style. I purchased a mixed media journal and started with the basic supplies that I already had. I don't believe in going into debt and I am not going to compare myself to others.

So I started and made mistakes. I have ugly pages that no one will see. But I did learn. In the learning process I am slowly starting to see two styles emerging. I think that giving yourself permission to mess up is a good thing and I highly recommend it. Aside from developing your own unique style;

  • I can express thoughts and emotions freely
  • it is relaxing
  • I am learning to use new mediums and products
  • I have discovered many other amazing artists
  • I really do like using my own papers

If you are considering starting a journal I would highly encourage you to do so. There are so many amazing artists to teach and help you along the way. I am almost finished with this journal, and plan to invest in something a little nicer next time.

Here's to letting go of perfection and finding your style!


PS. If you would like some free paper to use in your next project, HERE are five free papers.

Art Journal Prompts

Fourth Ave. Pen & Ink - Need a spark? Here are some ideas for your art journal

Hello Friend,

Sometimes I find it very easy to put something in my journal and sometimes I don't. There seems to be a cycle of creativity where I have so many thoughts and ideas it is hard to keep up. Sometimes...nothin'. So I made a list for myself and I thought I'd share it. Even if you only find a few things on here that spark something - then awesome! My goal was to chose words on the positive spectrum. We aren't always happy and I think it is quite okay to journal negative thoughts too. Today, I was in the mood for:

1. Beauty
2. Light
3. Dance
4. Butterfly
5. Freedom
6. Joy
7. Being Mom
8. What makes me smile
9. Serene
10. Favorite Bible verse
11. Favorite song
12. Favorite flower
13. Favorite color
14. What brings peace
15. Soft
16. Spring
17. Summer
18. List of something
19. How to
20. Poem
21. Flower petal
22. Leaves
23. My house
24. My pet
25. My wish

Does any one of these pop out at you? If so, why? Happy journaling. 😊

Also, I have some free digital papers HERE.



Free Black and White Clipart

Hello Friend,

I have a fun little freebie for you. I love the look of plain black and white on any type of media. I think it adds a cute punch to scrapbooks and a quirky dimension to mixed media.

Free BW clipart

Each clip is about 5" long and 300 PNG. Use them digitally as seen above or print and use for mixed media projects. I hope you enjoy them!

Free BW clipart

DOWNLOAD - Please see terms of use in my footer.



Please share this on Pinterest.

Free black and white clipart