Strathmore Softcover Mixed Media Journal – Art Journal Reviews

Strathmore Softcover  Mixed Media Journal

It is not a secret that I love art journals and can never have enough. So in this series I am reviewing all the art journals that I have used over the years. Some are firm favourites that I buy again and again, some have their quirks and some are straight up don’t-buys. Keep reading to find out more about:

Strathmore Softcover Mixed Media Journal

I heard about Strathmore journals a lot in the mixed media scene (I think I first heard Donna Downey mention it in one of her videos), but they’re not available in the UK. Then I realised that I could easily order one from amazon.com and the shipping wasn’t too bad! I’ve only had this one a few weeks but it’s already become my absolute favourite journal I own! Keep reading to find out why.

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Look & Feel

It has a soft floppy cover that feels very nice to touch. It got a bit damaged in transport; it has some grooves pressed into the cover material. I’ve heard other people mention something similar happened to theirs but it doesn’t affect its use at all. It’s 7.75×9.75″ and it feels like an ideal size to me (not so small to be fiddly, but not so big to be intimidating).

Binding

The binding is sewn and then glued. This means the pages don’t lie flat when you open it. That’s not ideal, but it’s something I’ve been able to learn to work with. One of the major advantages of this type of binding is that there is no bleeding! So to me it’s pretty much a direct tradeoff (lie flat vs no bleeding).

Strathmore Mixed Media Journal Review | iris-impressions.com

Paper Quality

The paper is only 90lb/190gsm which sounds ridiculously thin. I normally wouldn’t touch anything that thin, thinking it would definitely not stand up to heavy and wet mixed media use. Surprisingly.. this is some of the best paper I’ve used. It can take quite a bit of abuse before it starts pilling and the pages don’t show any sign of buckling or rolling when you use wet media. The paper feels quite porous and velvety (when you use watercolours they feel like they kind of soak in and fan out a bit) which is a quality I really like.

Strathmore Mixed Media Journal Review | iris-impressions.com

Availability

This is a US journal and easily available over there both online and in stores. I don’t know any shops that stock it in the UK, but as mentioned the international shipping on amazon is very reasonably priced (just select the slowest shipping option & have patience!).

Price

This journal costs around $16. Including shipping to the UK it cost me around £16. Not exactly a bargain, but absolutely worth it for the quality. There are no other journals that I’ve used at this price point that tick so many boxes.

The Verdict

Strathmore do a specific line of paper for mixed media, which is what is used in these mixed media journals. It’s absolutely spot on and this journal is a joy to work in. I’ve dubbed it The Magical Journal! Everything I do in it I enjoy and I love all the paintings I’ve made in it! My only criticism is that the pages don’t lie flat. Next time I will try the hard cover version in the mixed media journal range, as that one does lie flat.

Strathmore Mixed Media Journal Review | iris-impressions.com

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have reviewed.

If you’ve used Strathmore mixed media journals yourself and would like to share your opinion please do leave a comment below!

Start To Finish – Blood Elf Mage Fan Art – Art Journal Page Walkthrough

Start To Finish is an ongoing series in which I share the progress on a painting from start to finish and I tell you what I did in each step. Please drop me a line or a comment if you decide to follow along and don’t mind sharing, as I’d love to see! Click here to view all posts in this series.

You might not know this about me but for years I was an avid World of Warcraft player (and a Warcraft player before that.. I actually started with the original Wacraft back in the 90s). These days I don’t play anymore due to time constraints. I do miss it a lot though so I content myself with listening to the soundtracks and doing a bit of fan art.

I mostly used to play Alliance although when blood elves became available to play I did level both a priest and a paladin. This painting is of a blood elf mage, inspired by one of the TCG cards.

Blood Elf Mage World of Warcraft Fan Art | Mixed Media Painting Stage 1 | iris-impressions.com

I’m working in my Strathmore mixed media journal which is fast becoming my favourite at the moment. I started by brayering two different colours blue over the spread. I then added some black to the edges and spots of pink in certain places. I’m using a combination of Golden heavy body and Americana craft paint. My cat decided that she needed to get in on the action here.

Blood Elf Mage World of Warcraft Fan Art | Mixed Media Painting Stage 2 | iris-impressions.com

I used a white Stabilo All pencil for the initial sketch. When working on top of acrylics the white pencil can be worked into the painting, or you can erase it or activate with some water and wipe off. This makes it very forgiving and flexible to work with.

I went in with an initial layer of colour on the skin in tones of blue. I used a dark blue and white gesso. I always planned to add a skintone later but I actually really liked this effect! I might do a painting at another point that uses shading in blues. Working in a monochromatic colour scheme is actually really helpful to practice shading and see whether you’re getting it right.

Blood Elf Mage World of Warcraft Fan Art | Mixed Media Painting Stage 3 | iris-impressions.com

Using the blue tones on the skin as a guide I started putting in skintones with acrylic paint. It was important to me to pay close attention to the shading and make it look semi realistic.

Blood Elf Mage World of Warcraft Fan Art | Mixed Media Painting Stage 4 | iris-impressions.com

Eek, hands! Hands are difficult, but I allowed myself to just keep it simple and not obsess over them. Simple shading gives you the idea that they are hands, but the attention is drawn to the face & dress.

For the dress I started out with a first layer of blue and then I mixed several dark purples on top. It’s a good idea to use subtly different colours and work with highlights and shading on clothes as well as the face to give that sense of depth and interest.

When you’re in the final finishing steps of a painting it can be really helpful to take a picture. Sometimes certain mistakes are really obvious on a picture while you don’t see them when you look at the original.