Art Journal Pages: Loose Leaf

Sure, I have spiral art journals, bound art journals, handmade art journals. I’ve been avoiding loose leaf art journals–there is something about a binding that makes you plan and think before you commit. And keep track of your pages over time, in that time-narrative way we like.

After spending 20 minutes flipping through journals to find the color swatches I’d made (in three journals) I realized that it would be practical to have all color swatches in one journal.

Nothing against books that are stuffed with ephemera, but if you are going to work on a series of pages with pockets, fold-outs and attachments, a loose-leaf book has advantages:

  • Pockets, fold outs and cut-outs are easier to work on if you can rotate the page while working.
  • You can create several different backgrounds, and choose the one that matches your mood or plans for the page.
  • You have the whole page to work on, without wondering what to do with the gutter.
  • Want to use an iron? No problem, the page is flat.
  • You can work on different page sizes.
  • Love to invent bindings? You can do that with loose pages, too.

A partial set of Biblical Matriarch cards--love the black-and-white illustrations and the not-always flattering stories. A pocket holds the cards while I decide what to do with them.

And yes, perfectionists can learn to love loose leaf pages, too. Make a page you hate? No one will know if you don’t include it. I’m working on some alternatives to punching holes, but so far, the idea of finding lists, collections, and color swatches in one place works for me.

The three-ring binder has chipboard dividers, so you can divide your pages by date, by size, by content, by location.

chipboard binders and tabs--or you can make your own.

I found this binder (about 6 x 9 closed) ready for painting. You can also find great cook-book binders, home-repair binders and other pre-printed binders you can re-purpose at thrift stores like Goodwill.

Quinn McDonald is working on loose-leaf pages for a number of binders in progress.

7 thoughts on “Art Journal Pages: Loose Leaf

  1. Quinn, for my recipe binders (and you might apply this to any ‘finished’ pages), I use slip-in acrylic page protectors. Good for those pages you don’t anticipate fussing with further (i.e., color sample pages). Also protects the work from ‘accidents’. Down side = they make the binder considerably more heavy, and they do add to the cost.

  2. Such an easy solution to a problem I’ve had of wanting to keep track of things like colour swatches! It’s brilliant. Thank you. And I’m definitely a repurposer too.

  3. Love this? Obviously, I want a source – particularly for the dividers (I am a divider FREAK!). I also am in LOVE with the Daniel Smith Luminescent Acrylics – such depth and gorgeousness!! You are a rock star!!

    • Daniel Smith Luninescents are wonderful mixed. I’m not a big fan of pink, but mixing either one of the pinks with the gray/silver gives really good results. And the two greens–swoon! Mixed with Payne’s Gray or with the Silver Gray also gives excellent new colors. The binder? I got it at a local independent craft store. It’s NOT a Tim Holz product. Frankly, I get a much bigger thrill from repurposed binders from a thrift store. But that’s me.

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