Tips & Techniques

Here’s what I call Imitation Sketching!

I start out with a painted page.  A stark white page doesn’t let me experiment.  (I smear paint, using a credit card, over many pages in my journal.)

  1.  Pick magazine pictures.  Newspaper pictures work too.  Sometimes I will photo copy an image I’ve used in another page to use again.
Left side - photo copied from another journal page. Right Side magazine pictures

Left side – photo copied from another journal page. Right Side magazine pictures

2.  Paste pictures down.  You can use glue sticks, Mod Podge matt, gel medium.


Gesso smeared over page with a make-up sponge (upper right corner)

3.  Using a make-up sponge (or your fingers) spread gesso or white acrylic paint (water-based) over the top of the pictures.  You want to obscure the images yet be able to make out what they are.  The sponge is easy to use because you can wet it and lift off some of the gesso/paint if there is too much on parts of the pictures.

4.  Finishing your page. The next steps are mix ‘n match and can be done in any order.  I usually got back and forth between the media and work the page until I’m satisfied.  I started here with the imitation sketching so you can see it clearly.

It is important to emphasize the parts you want with VERY sketchy, even scribbly lines, so it looks like it’s drawn not just outlined:


Left side – Charcoal pencil creates a dark line and can be smudged to soften


Right side – Soft graphite pencil.  Sketchy lines

Soft graphite pencil/charcoal/FINE LINED permanent marker (your choice) Sketch in some of the lines that delineate/outline/emphasize various parts of the pictures.


Acrylic Paint:  (I use the cheapest craft paint I can find for my journal.) Using a make-up sponge and/or your fingers (you can use a brush but I find that with a brush I get too fussy and it’s not as much fun).  Since my pages already had paint on them (before I pasted the pictures down) I only covered the white areas, smeared a bit on the images and original colors.


Chalk pastels: Added orange, yellow and black

Chalk pastels:  Color in parts of the pictures and background, smearing the color with your fingers or a rag to soften.  If you use chalk pastels you need to spray with a fixative when you are done.

I added more white and black smeared some of it on the page and images, added squiggly lines . . . 

Proverbs 11:16

Finished (unless I decide to “play” some more . . .)!!!!

Journal page, Proverbs 11:16

A gracious woman attains honor, and ruthless men attain riches.

I do NOT try to create beautiful, perfect pages – just expressive.  

Click here to see another example of Immitation Sketching and

Proverbs 31:20-21