Puzzles ~ Art Journaling Tutorial

I recently did a poll on the blog asking what tutorials people would like to see and the majority by a long way was art journals. I’ve wanted to do some journaling for ages but with work, life and my other projects going on I never seemed to get the time. So thinking of a tutorial was a good way to get back into it.

I had the idea for a while of doing a page with puzzle pieces and got a 1000 piece puzzle from a charity shop. One thing I love about art journaling is how free form and personal it is and that it is about expression and enjoying using different materials. Here are a list of materials I used but it is entirely up to you:

  • Dylusions A4 Art Journal
  • Dylusions Sprays
  • Modge Podge
  • Puzzle Pieces
  • Posca Paint Pens
  • random card pieces, stamps, paper
  • Tim Holtz Distress Stickles
  • Claudine Hellmuth Studio Black Gesso

I even forgot I had a brand new Dylusions Journal to play with! First things first:


Once you have all your materials, lay your page out and place paper underneath each page. I used old newspaper. Then I sprayed my page with water from a spray bottle to get the paper damp before randomly spraying my inks. Do whatever comes naturally.


I then used a stencil to create some visual interest

3 Stencil

The inks react with water so you can draw out some interesting colour contrasts. Next I took a few puzzle pieces and painted them with black gesso. I liked having the shape to work with in my page.

4 Puzzles

Using the Modge Podge I placed these on one side of the page in a scattered way, although you may want to use a stronger glue to fix something thicker like chipboard (I had run out of glue!). I then picked out some images from the pack of pieces I had and stuck them down.

5 glued

Now My favourite part comes ~ time to doodle! You can use a pencil if you’re not that confident but I think the whole process of art journaling is to draw freely and if you think something doesn’t look right, come in a bit later and change it. Don’t think about the end piece.I drew a silver swirl across the page using one of my Posca Paint Pens, then used a black pen to work from the swirl. I added some text that I thought was interesting to the theme of puzzles and I also like to do swirly writing.

6 drawing

I added different colours as I went and outlined some of the puzzle pieces. I have quite and organic style so I did do quite a few flowers and plant like things.

7 embellishing

Lastly I like to add some embellishments and used the Tim Holtz Stickles for a bit of glitter. I sometimes glue in sequins or beads so it’s really up to you want you add to your piece.

8 stickles

And here is my finished page.

10 fin

I’m going to be doing more art journal pages in the next few months, hope this was useful for everyone interested in learning some art journaling techniques. I’m also planning to make some more videos and put them up on my YouTube channel. Let me know if you have any questions or comments šŸ™‚

12 thoughts on “Puzzles ~ Art Journaling Tutorial

  1. That page looks amazing! Thank you for such a detailed post, I really liked the way you used jigsaw puzzle pieces… I do have a question though, what are the key differences between an art journal and a standard sketchbook? Keep up the good work! šŸ˜€

    1. Hey, thanks for your comment. I would say generally that a sketchbook is for making observational drawings and sketches for later projects whereas an art journal is more free and expressive with a mixture of mediums. You could argue that the an art journal is also a sketchbook, but I personally have a separate sketchbook for sketching ideas. Hope that is a useful answer!

      1. Wow, thanks for the swift response! That does help, so would you say that art journaling is more of an emotional / spiritual outlet (as well as a creative adventure) than more “conventional” art? I might try to keep a little journal for a week and see what comes out of it…

      2. Yeah an art journal is more a focus on the process of making, you don’t need to really be at any ‘artistic’ level just enjoy expressing yourself with the materials. It is very therapeutic and meditative. A sketchbook would be more about sketching a concept and working towards a project, which is what I use when designing my sculptures for example. Don’t try to force yourself to make it ‘perfect’ just enjoy the freedom of making a mess!

      3. I like the sound of a meditative mess! Do I need to use a certain size of book? I’m not sure I have the same materials to hand as you, but I’ll have a go and e-mail you the results if you don’t mind? I’m excited now! šŸ˜€

      4. You can use whatever journal you like! I love Ranger Dylusions art journals because the paper is thick and can take a lot of abuse! You can paint it, spray it, wet it, and it won’t disintegrate. By all means email me the results or send them to any of my social media, I love to get people inspired to create things.

  2. I absolutely love the journal page. The colors, the techniques, the embellishments all work so well together. I’m really looking forward to your future pages.

  3. I love art journaling! I’ve never thought to use puzzle pieces though. It looks great. It’s such a wonderful way to escape life for a minute. Keep them coming…

  4. Beautiful! Looks like there was some yellow dylusions spray too? Down at bottom in the middle.Like how all your colors blended so beautifully.

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