Dawn DeVries Sokol
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A Little Supply Advice

I recently received this email from a reader:

Hi there! I have been so unhappy with all of my black pens...when I journal over the paint in my journals, the pens dry up so fast, which is weird, because I'm journaling over acrylic. I was just wondering what black pens you use, because your journaling looks so clean and opaque. :) Thanks for any words of wisdom!...Cathy

First of all, Cathy, thanks for the sweet words!

I’ve used MANY different kinds of pens in the last few years, but have found Microns to be the best for me. I think everyone is different. My best advice is to try every pen you can. I have a lot of different kinds of pens in my arsenal because I have tried every pen I can get my hands on. I’ve recently been using regular Sharpies more. I only use them on painted pages, though, as they tend to bleed through unpainted paper. I also LOVE Sharpie Paint pens. Make sure they are the water-based, though, not the oil-based.

Some people say the craft paints are chalky and make their pens dry up or stop up, but I haven’t had that problem. I like the surface they create. I’ve tried Golden paints, but don’t like them as much because they are more glossy. Some have asked me if I put a layer of matte medium on my pages before I write and doodle. NO! I don’t like this method because it causes my pages to stick together.

I think there is a real experimental phase to art journaling. You have to find what works for YOU. I’ve followed the advice of many art journalists in the past. Some of their methods and supply preferences worked for me, some didn’t. But I went through a period of a couple two, three years where I kept sampling all kinds of combinations of supplies. It’s only been about the last year or so that I feel like I’ve found what I like.

Just because it works for others, doesn’t mean it will for you and vice-versa. Try different paints. Try different pens. Try different ways to paste, etc. When you find something that works for you, you’ll know it!