their work and words, interviews, blogs, images, hints, tips, websites
and more...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Personalizing Journal Covers

Recently we were talking about ways to personalize journal covers...specifically, commercial journals.  This is an old Pelikan journal I used to use almost exclusively before I started binding my own...I had a whole stack of plain blue books with the deep black cloth spine, but they all looked just the same. 

I decided to make them not only my own, but more useful...I chose some of my favorite images from each book, scanned them, and made a photomontage in Photoshop.  Then, as you can see, I collaged it to the front of the book along with other elements, like ribbon and such, and added color and a bit of text, protecting all with a layer of acrylic floor wax (works great and is non-sticky!)

I added the date as well, so I know at a glance what time period each journal covers.  

I don't like journals that are too thick and chunky, handsome though they may be, so this works great for me.  It opens easily and flat, and doesn't have anything to break off or get in the way.  All the journals slide easily into my bookcase without anything to hang up, too...

Soooo...what do YOU like to do?  If you'd like to share an image, send it to me at kate.cathyjohnson (at) gmail.com and I'll do a composite post soon!


  1. Very cool, Kate! I'm going to have to try that idea with the floor wax. Any particular brand?

    I usually do the same thing you with a collage of sketches, but rather than do them on the computer (so smart!), I've actually painted the collage. (I'll send you an image of NOLA.) I've also started painting the front cover with Daniel Smith's new watercolor ground and painting an image on top of that. Because it's on the outside of the book, I have sealed it with acrylic spray, but it's nice to know what's in the journal!

  2. I LOVE your montage idea -- so useful as well as beautiful! But it would require buying (and learning) photoshop, so I probably won't . . . .

    I especially love the wee beagle trotting off to new adventures while the cat just "is". So true!

  3. Thank you all! Laure, I'll look forward to seeing your journal cover--and I use Future, I think. It's great stuff...it seldom gets on my floor, but it seals polymer jewelry, miniatures, and journals just fine!

    Vicky, mine is actually an early version of Photoshop Elements, pretty inexpensive on Amazon! It is a LOT easier than Photoshop for Big Girls...

  4. This is great Kate, I have a question for you. I've been trying to absorb as much as possible, and enjoying the books and cd I ordered. You mention in your books about creating your custom journals, and I was wondering if you have a blog post or any other info where you discuss making your own journal or how to go about this? I would be very interested in your process or direction as to a good source for help.

  5. Hi Jeanne! I have a Flickr set that shows a lot of that here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cathy-johnson/sets/72157603223781597/ and a CD that shows how to do quick and easy, no-sew bookbinding in my catalog, here: http://www.cathyjohnson.info/cds.html plus in the sidebar at right are some wonderful links to get you started. Scroll down to "bookbinding and lettering resources)!

  6. Thank you Cathy - I will check them out~

  7. love this-I've never made a cover for my journals. But I love the idea.

  8. Thanks for the ideas, Cathy ! Beautiful cover. Could you please tell me the way to make a photomontage with Photoshop ? I've already asked my son but ... whether i'm too "dummy" to understand, or he lacks patience :))

  9. Thanks all! Clem, it probably depends on what version you have, but here's a recap...I just make a blank file with a white background in the size I want, then open several scanned images of line drawings. I drag them onto the blank file and choose "multiply" from the little drop down menu above the layers palette ("normal" is what usually shows there.) "Multiply" removes the background and makes them look like they were drawn right on the blank file. You can use the move tool to resize and position them wherever you want--it's at the top of the tools at upper left, on my version. Then "flatten" the image so you don't have all those layers, and you're done.

    Hope that helps!

  10. Thank you very much Kate ! I'm discovering your answer right now, but will try as soon as possible ! Your explanations are very clear, should work, even for me :) Thanks again.


We'd love your feedback...please share your thoughts!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...