When I saw this napkin with Paris and the date of 1878, I wondered why that might have some significance. So I Googled it and found that there was a world exposition or world's fair held in Paris in 1878. In France the event was called the "Exposition Universelle." From there, I decided to create a fictitious story about a young lady of 16 and her older sister and father's trip to The Paris Exposition Universelle of 1878. (Notice the aged look. This is done primarily with tea or coffee. I used tea and stamp ink.
Note on using images (or text)
for your journals.
If you are creating a journal (or any kind of art work) and using it just for your own enjoyment and it's only going to be seen by yourself and/or your friends and family, I'd say; don't even worry about using anything licensed or copyrighted. Licensing and copyrights don't have much meaning in those circumstances. For instance, you see some fabulous artwork in a magazine and want to use it in your journal or you really like the Coca-Cola logo and want to use that. No one is going to say anything. Again, for private viewing of friends and family, no one cares.
If, on the other hand, you ever intend on displaying your work publicly, as in a magazine or website or art show or you want to sell your creation, you will need to be aware of copyrights and licensed images and 1) make attribution of the artist or commercial owner or 2) pay for the image as stated on the website or 3) get the permission of the artist or business that owns the image(s).
There is also something called the "Angel" policy." This is where the owner of the image is OK with your free use of the image as long as you give them credit and follow their guidelines. But you must read their policy to make sure you're abiding by their rules. Not all "Angel" policies are alike.
Just be sure to respect the sources of the images you're using along with copyrights and licenses. At the very least, even with free or non-licensed art work, make an effort to give the artists credit for their work. If you cannot find the owner or artist, acknowledge that, (and at least state where you found it) especially where you have used a lot of an image that is RECOGNIZABLE and dominates your creation.
Is there anything that's uncomplicated or free to use?
The Public Domain: There are lots of images out there on the web and even in old books that are so old that any copyright, if there ever was one, has expired and you can generally use these images and texts freely. Below is an authoritative definition of Public Domain from TeachingCopyright.org
How old does an image have to be to be in the public domain?
In general, works published after 1977 will not fall into the public domain until 70 years after the death of author, or, for corporate works, anonymous works, or works for hire, 95 years from the date of publication or 120 years from the date of creation, whichever expires first.
For more information, go to the TeachingCopyright.org site:
What about collage...using small pieces cut out of magazines or other publications?
Since so far, I haven't been able to find an "official" word on using others art for collage work, I share my opinion for now, which is: in collage, you usually use small portions and strips of an image to create your work. So in many cases, the strips and pieces are all so unrecognizable that no copyright or license would apply. I am certain there are exceptions, but for now, I rely on the principle of whether something is "recognizable" or not. More on this soon.
These photos below are of what I've come to think of as my "junk journal. It has no theme but is a mish-mash of examples of free-flowing ideas and various techniques. I have used die cuts, magazine clips, personal art, digital art (licensed and non-licensed) stamps, ink, coloring work, embossing, color pencils, clay, markers, acrylic paint, etc.
Remember, an art journal; your journal, can be about anything you like and use a wide range of media and techniques.
Below is the journal cover that I decoupaged with several layers of Mod Podge. I completed the journal cover before I did the napkin decoupaging. Sometimes I think the napkin decoupage page should have been the cover. Oh well.
Below is an example of work by collage artist Deborah Shapiro. Many strips and pieces of paper taken from magazines were used to create this piece. I took this screen print from Shapiro's YouTube channel.
This first art journaling inspiration came from a napkin that I saw as I was shopping at Tuesday Morning.
My Art Journaling Process
I'm not sure what came first, the napkin at Tuesday Morning or the how-to video on YouTube about decoupaging with decorative napkins. But no matter.
The process of separating the three layers that a napkin is made of in order to decoupage (glue) the top printed layer on your project is kind of tedious, but it can be done and the results are beautiful. (You can also use tissue paper.) And if you tear the very thin tissue to shreds, you have more napkins to try with again (if you purchased a pack.) So don't worry. For this page, I used a rice glue that worked very well.
I used Nori Rice Paste, mostly. It works really well on paper (smells good too) and delicate tissue. I would not recommend it for heavy paper or cardboard or other thick materials. The links for Nori and the others below are from Amazon but locally Plaza Art sells lots of different adhesives too (couldn't find it on their website,) and it may be a bit cheaper there. And of course, Michaels, Joann & AC Moore sell lots of adhesives and may have the YES brand. YES is a popular rice-based glue that gets good reviews. My last adhesive that I just purchased but haven't used yet is PVA adhesive. It is highly recommended for all sorts of paper and favored for bookbinding.
I actually used 2 or 3 napkin layers to cover the page because the page was bigger than the napkin. It's hard to tell where the seams are.