Artistcellar Blog

Imagine. Create. Enjoy.

Hello friends! 

I've had this graph paper composition notebook laying around for a while. I use it for planning/drawing comics, making lists, and everything in between, I love sketching on graph paper! However, I never liked the weird, splotchy, black and white covers of composition notebooks. If you also want to add a personal touch to any boring sketchbooks of yours, here's how you can!

Supplies you’ll need:

I forgot to take pictures of the very beginning, but I started by sanding the cover of my book to make it easier for the paint to stick. I also wrapped the pages in paper towels so I wouldn’t get any paint on them. Then, I covered everything with a coat of white gesso.

I sanded this layer again with some really soft/fine sandpaper, then put on a second coat of gesso. After that was dry, I sanded it too.

I’m sanding between every layer to try to minimize brush strokes - while the heavy acrylics and gesso make it easy to cover up the dark pattern underneath in only a few coats, they also leave some pretty big brushstrokes and I want a smooth look. Make sure that your paint is dry all the way through before sanding or you might take little chunks off and make it even bumpier! It also helps to wipe off the dust after with a baby wipe or wet paper towel.

Now for the fun part- the color! I wanted a summery pink, so I mixed blushing, fuchsia, a bit of lemon, and white all right on the page and blended them together. Pretty! 

I wasn’t feeling it though, so I decided to mix them first and change it to a more even and lighter color. I also put a few layers of gold on the binding edge strip. Using tape to get a nice neat edge would have been a great idea (if only I had thought of it before tediously painting it by hand…)

Now for the stencils… I think I’m going to use my favorite quasi flowers (from the Quasicrystals series) with gold. I got some ideas for possible future covers while looking through stencils; I think that if I had a darker book, a silver base with celestial in dark blues and purples would look stunning, or turquoise greens with a coral stencil in a contrasting copper… 

Using a sponge and taping the edges down is the best way to get a neat edge! I dabbed on more magenta, white, yellow, and gold. The gold smells wonderfully pepperminty. The back, by the way, looks the same, but lighter and I used the infra dots instead.

And now we’re done! Almost. I put a coat of Decoart Media satin varnish over everything to seal it and keep my paint from scratching off or getting dust in it. I also gave it another quick and soft sand to make it a little matte-er after.

Nice. Spice up those journals!