How to use Text Elements as backdrops for collage

This is part II of III on how to use text in different ways in your art journal.

In post I (of III) I was looking at how you can add hand written journaling to a visual page, emphasizing how important text is in your Art Journal. You are working in book form after all, and one of the best things about books is that you can read them. I think you can “read” (interpret) everything in an Art Journals. The visuals can be read too, if you take the time to look close enough and keep an open mind. You will read it differently from how I will read it, and isn’t that cooL?

Like with all art, you need to view it with sincerity and an open heart. I often take one of my Art Journals with me to bed, and look through the pages slowly, slowly. Taking it all in, one element at a time.

Today we will look at how you can use text as a background for collage. Text can be seen as a visual elements without actually having anything to “say”. Although I find that the words that do come through and stay readable often say way more to the artist than one would expect. Like hidden messages they glimpse through the layers…

Text details
Sällsynta skådespel (Unusual sights).

I’m a book reader, a word collector, a journalist, a blogger, a poet and a writer so it’s natural for me to find words everywhere. And often times these beautiful, poetic words jumps at me. Their constellation can be fascinating. In a way I am a word collector.

I am a detective for words in my own Art Journal.

So let’s look at some examples with text as backgrounds now. Yay!

Imelda’s gift the Zweedsch-Nederlandsch Woordenboek has these wonderful fragile (easy to tear) but sturdy (easy to glue) pages with Swedish words and some strange language translations (hehe) that looks funny and exotic to me! I’ve used pages from this book many times now but still, it looks full and will be used for many yeas to come. This is water soluble oil pastels smeared out on a page from my Woordenboek:

Collage with text blocks in Art Journal (from Woordenboek) by iHanna
I created a rainbow effect on top of the words.

The Woordenboek paper is perfect for tearing into long stripes. I glue those strips into my journal, in places where I need more color. I always need more colors of course. Blue is nice too:

Text details (Copyright Hanna Andersson)I like colored magazine pages with text. They are much cheaper than store bought “pretty papers”! I tear them out, wrinkle them and keep the bits I like. This blue text page makes a nice background for the collage focal point to the right.

If you want the text on your page to be interesting and smart, but can’t figure out anything profound to say? There are ways, though I think what you write yourself is way more important than any “found quote”, but hey, it’s your journal! Sometimes you want journaling, sometimes not so much. You can do anything in your own book. For example, you do have a folder of article quotations that speaks to you in some way, right? If not, make one today! You can save quotes, headlines, interesting clippings, words, fun messages…

This is a magazine quote I cut out because I so agree with what it says:

Visst ?r det en slags neuros - text quote (Copyright Hanna Andersson)
Quote from a magazine article; Sure, it’s kind of a neurosis, probably I didn’t get enough attention as a kid. But when you’ve discovered that you can play as a grown up – then you just can’t stop doing it!

True, right? And another favorite is “word poetry”, cut out line by line or even word by word sometimes:

Text details (Copyright Hanna Andersson)
Word clipping poetry is created with a few cut out words from a magazine or used book that you’re not interested in reading or saving. Look for whole phrases that you find interesting or that speaks to you and save them. Cut them up or use as they are. You can create whole poems this way, but also add visual interest with a few words.

It does look like I have a whole book in me on this subject, doesn’t it? I hope you’ve learned something that inspired you or that will be useful in your own Art Journaling adventure!

Texts in Art Journaling

Also check out previous part I on How to add Journaling to your Art Journal and part III on how to Find the Right Spot to add your text.

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5 Responses to How to use Text Elements as backdrops for collage

  1. Shell says:

    Loved this post. This is so me.. I adore putting tear up words around my journal pages.

  2. another great post hanna! thanks for sharing with the team. LOVE text as background, especially *found* words. i also like toner-transferring typed text so it gets blurry and unreadable….the backward words just filling the space. so interesting how swedish looks on your page, definitely exotic – fab!!

  3. Eveline says:

    When I first started keeping Art Journals I was more focused on the ‘art’ side of them, not so much the ‘journal’ side. I’ve kept a written journal since I was little and for some reason I thought it best to keep those two separate. Lately I’ve been adding more text to my pages, or even journaling about my day. It seems to make more sense now, and my Art Journal is what it says on the bottle: a journal with art in it. ;)

  4. Kim Mailhot says:

    so cool, Hanna! I love your pre-colored word pages! Brilliant idea.I just inherited a beautiful but beat up French LaRousse dictionary that would be perfect for this. Time to grab my pastels and create my own rainbow paper !
    Thanks for all the inspiration, as always, Crusader !
    Cheers !

  5. Misty says:

    Your posts about text/words in art journaling have inspired me to get started on my own. I’ve kept a written journal for years but never an art journal. I was so excited by the first of these three posts, that I immediately pulled a blank notebook off of my shelf and got started. Because I tend to be a very linear thinker, one of my goals for my art journal was that I would make pages as the mood struck me and then write on them later as I was inspired by the page(s). This is going to result in something that isn’t in any sort of chronological order. Normally that would bug me but I’m really excited by the prospect for this book.

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