Monday, June 22, 2015

Abstract Photo-backgrounds for Journal Pages

I love papers of all kind, and recently decided to create my own unique papers from my photographs to use in my journals. I am drawn to old textured walls and have discovered that these make great journal backgrounds! When I use these photographs as my backgrounds I have no fear of the blank page as I already have color and shape laid down to inform my next step. If you do a lot of writing on your journal pages, having your own photograph behind your handwriting can be more meaningful than a piece of store-bought paper.

Journal page backgrounds can be found in the most unexpected places.

The above images were found on an old noticeboard in the port town of Fiumicino, Italy. I spent a night there before an early morning flight home after teaching Slow Photography: Seeing with Your Senses and Your Soul in Orvieto. I found the noticeboard while taking a walk to the port from my hotel. The textures, colors and shapes called to me - much to the amusement of the local people who couldn't see anything worth photographing.

I often take my texture images into the Snapseed app and play with contrast and color until I find something I like better than the original. I did that with this texture photo of a wall in Mexico. You can make lots of different looking backgrounds by enhancing a photo in different ways.

When wandering in your neighborhood or a travel destination, keep your eyes open for the followingif you'd like to create your own journal page backgrounds:
  • Look out for texture and pattern.
  • Let colors and shapes speak to you. 
  • Zoom in closer.
I print my photos on the ordinary copy paper that I use for everyday printing. It is thin and can easily be pasted into my journal. Remember you don't have to use the whole page as a background. You can tear different pages and collage them together, or use torn strips as embellishments on your pages.

If you are new to journaling, you might like to try Lisa Sonora's 30 Day Journal Project for prompts to get you writing.  For even more inspiration, consider the Spectrum Holistic Creativity workshops with journaling ideas from 25 different teachers.

Another idea on how to use your photographs in your journaling practice, can be found in this article on using personal photographs in your visual journals.

Your images are worth using! They are how you see the world.


  1. Thank you Catherine for this useful and inspiring post. Walking slowly in the world and walking slowly in our journals pages means we see more. Thank you for this! xoS

  2. These are wonderful, thank you!