*What is gesso? 

Gesso is an important art supply to get a canvas ready for painting or to prepare other surfaces like paper, for receiving a wet or moist medium. Gesso is very similar to white acrylic paint, only thinner. It dries hard, making the surface stiffer




Blank journal - should be a heavy-duty wire binding; here is one type that's available @ Plaza Art and is designed for art journaling or you may bring your own.   http://www.plazaart.com/visual-journal-drawing-5-5x8.html  The journal can be as large as 8.5 x 11, but smaller is better.  These and other suitable journals are also available online @ Amazon.

The wire binding will allow for the extra space you may need for art that is dimensional (and you can remove unused pages if necessary.)  The paper quality should be heavy enough to take some moisture from ink, and other sprayed on or brushed on treatments.  Journal pages may or may not be applied with gesso* before applying any color.  Using gesso will offer some extra strength and prevent or impede bleeding of anything too wet. Some wrinkling will happen no matter.

Pens, color pencils, lead pencil (at least one), markers of any and all types. It is not necessary to purchase expensive pens and markers.  There are two types of inexpensive markers that I've used with nice results (see pic to right.)Crayola Super-Tips are excellent all-around markers (non-permanent/non-archival) and should be available at most arts/crafts stores and online.  (For proof of what is possible, see the bee post-card I colored to your right using Crayola Super-Tips.)  Faber-Castell, used in the strawberry postcard at right, also makes an excellent value-line or kids marker widely available at stores and online. 

Please note:  Blending/shading and overall performance with high-end markers such as Copic and Prismacolor Premier and many other quality alcohol marker brands, (the alcohol marker market has boomed) are superior to cheaper non-permanent markers, but if you don't want to or can't make the investment, try some of the lower-priced markers.  Sharpie and Bic Markit are both good mid-range quality markers.  One exception here is to buy a blending marker of some sort to use with alcohol markers. Blending markers are most often available with Prismacolor Premiere, Copic, Spectrum Noir and other high-quality alcohol markers -- even the store brands, so you may have to ask.  Blending markers have no color; only a clear alcohol-based solution that can help immensely with blending and correcting. I plan to offer some instruction on blending with markers, but there's a lot already on YouTube, so check it out.


Black liner pensstores, both online & off, have many to choose from. Sharpie also makes an ultra-fine point pen. (The big-box arts/crafts stores like Michaels, Joanns, etc.,  do not generally sell a large variety of high-quality ink pens made for fine art and drafting.)


Very sharp scissors.  Precision scissors are important and worth a little extra money.  Kiddie scissors will not work here.

Glue/Adhesive: Elmer's Glue or Glue-All (small bottle)or Glue Stick or any glue recommended for paper.  Small adhesive rollers are also good, but you'll go through them quickly if you have a lot of pages.  Stay away from the super-cheap glue sticks...they're only good for the kiddies gluing construction paper.

Eraser(s).  At least one white eraser (will not leave color behind.) If you do not have a white eraser, there are many to choose from.  A kneaded eraser is also suitable, but white is better.            


Inexpensive set of at least 6 colors of acrylic paint.  The Liquitex Basics set of 6 is good, but you can choose what you like.  Here is a link: http://www.plazaart.com/basics-acrylic-22ml-6-tube-set.html .  If you were doing acrylic paintings that you wanted to display or sell, then quality is an issue, but for journaling and casual creating, it doesn't make much difference.

Clipart, photos (non-licensed) and other ephemera (items of collectible memorabilia, typically written or printed ones,) that you would like to use in your journal.  Whatever you use, remember that it may accidentally get damaged, (spilled glue or paint) so if it is precious, please make copies to use in your journal. 


I have a premium account with Freepik https://www.freepik.com/ and The Graphics Fairy https://thegraphicsfairy.com/ .  With a premium membership, I can reproduce many of the images without attribution (i.e., this image was designed by....) and with no royalty charges.  Always do your best to check for copyright rules and guidelines before using artwork that's not your own. 

Many other elements can be used in mixed media.  Of course you'll want to use interesting paper to cut and paste in a collage-like way, but then you can use buttons, stencils, cheap but interesting broken jewelry and beads (flatter is better) fabric, string, wire, watch parts, small gear parts, foils, wood, molded clay (paper clay is best as it's lighter weight) and more. Get ready to be inspired and have some fun!

DIE-CUTTING (for cards or scrapbooking)

Here are descriptions and pictures of the die-cutting machines that I own:

WRMK (We Are Memory Keepers) Evolution Advanced - This is one great little machine and at a price that's more affordable than many others.  Its big selling point is the fact that rather than having to fiddle with different mats and platforms and shims, (the "sandwich") you can just adjust the dial to get the best pressure.  True.  However, I have still found myself doing a bit of shimming here and there which is sometimes easier than turning the dial to heavier or lighter. 

What has delighted me so much is that I can press a thin metal die through with ONE pass and all the detail will show.  With the Vagabond that I write about below, I would have to do a second pass with a different sandwich combination to get the detail. Step 1: Cut, Step 2: Emboss. However, if you use the correct recommended sandwich combos, the Vagabond will give you more consistent clean cuts and even and well-defined embossed designs.  Various weights and types of paper, will, of course, affect your outcome on any machine.

Other conveniences:

-The EA, when opened for use, will suction to your surface making it stable and preventing you from having to hold it stable.

-The EA is light and folds up.

-The EA can be used manually with the handle or you can purchase an additional motor.  This is great if you're traveling and not sure you'll have an outlet.

Vagabond by Sizzix (actually now it's "Vagabond 2,") designed by Tim Holtz. This is a super popular machine and has been out for some time.  I figure it's probably due for a makeover, especially in light of the competition of the Evolution Advanced.  At any rate, it is a very reliable and flexible machine, able to cut a wide variety of dies.  It is very well-made and is motorized.  Unlike the EA, there is no manual option.  So if you use it away from home, you should be sure of a nearby electrical outlet.  The Vagabond is very well-built and sturdy.  With that sturdiness, however, you get weight and it's much heavier than EA, so there is some consideration if weight and portability is an issue.  

The Vagabond is the more expensive machine and as noted, it is very well made.  It is designed to look like an old suitcase and comes with vintage looking travel stickers to place on the "suitcase."

Recommended Supplies

for crafting...(things I use + other good things)

​(this page will be added to regularly :-))

Colored with Faber-Castell DuoTip Washable

The Evolution Advanced

Colored with Crayola Super-Tips