Creating Watercolour Journal Pages | Helen Colebrook | Skillshare

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Creating Watercolour Journal Pages

teacher avatar Helen Colebrook, An avid journal keeper/creative

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

11 Lessons (45m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Tools & Supplies

    • 3. Drips & Splashes

    • 4. Let the Colours Play

    • 5. Writing Spots and Mark Making

    • 6. Create Washi Tape Style Strips

    • 7. Sponge Printing

    • 8. Journal Inspiration

    • 9. Lets Get Journaling

    • 10. Class Project

    • 11. Thank You

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About This Class

Welcome to my latest Skillshare class, which is all about using watercolour to create beautiful backgrounds on your journal pages. No skills or experience necessary! We will be:

  • creating drips and splashes
  • letting the colours play
  • mark-making
  • sponge printing
  • & lots more!

I will be giving you lots of tips and ideas to create really quick and easy, but beautiful journal pages. I do hope you will get your watercolour paints out and join me.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Helen Colebrook

An avid journal keeper/creative


I'm Helen and in case you haven't guessed, I have a bit of a thing about journals. I'm an author, product designer and online teacher. I've been lucky enough to work on great brand collaborations and feature in publications all over the globe. I currently have over 170K followers across my social media platforms, where I love sharing my journaling adventures.

I use journals to plan out my dream life, document special moments and keep a record of the day to day happenings in my life. Plus, I love to get creative and use lots of different techniques to decorate my pages. 



                         &nb... See full profile

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1. Introduction: And I'm Helen farm, a journalist purpose, and welcome to my latest skill share class. This class is all about using a watercolor in your journals to create some really beautiful backgrounds. You don't need any skills or creative knowledge at all to take this class. I think journaling is one of the most rewarding habits that you can pick up and use in your life and been able to add some fun creative elements to me is a really relaxing and part of that process. And I get asked lots of questions about using watercolor. I want to just give you some really quick and simple ways to create lovely backgrounds on your journal pages. So we're gonna be looking at things like creating drips and splashes, letting colors play together, creating some washy taped Star strips and doing sponge printing. And they all give such a lovely effect to your journals. We're also going to be talking about a class project later on. So I really hope that you'll feel inspired to get your journals out, get your paints out, and get creating. So let's get started. 2. Tools & Supplies: Before we get started on the lessons, I want you to talk through some of the supplies that you'll need for this class. Now firstly, you're going to need some watercolour paint and any kind of paint will be fine for this. It doesn't matter if you use the paint missing pants like these orange shapes. And you can go for any kind of range. These are the artists love brands, and I tend to use these for in-person workshops. Or I've got curry tacky paints here, right up to some beautiful hand-crafted watercolors. But as we're going to be mainly plane and letting the paint run together, you really don't need to worry about the qualities of Hayden. You've got any kind of watercolor will be absolutely fine. Next, you need some kind of paint brushes for watercolor. Minor firm is scaled and I've got a few different sizes here. I've got an 846 and another six. I would recommend probably for this lesson, using a larger paintbrush are probably working mainly with a size eight into a size four. You need some kind of cloth to be able to draw off your brushes. A mixing pilot or an old ceramic plate. You want a glass to put some freshwater in. I'm also going to be using a Makeup sponge. And if you want to speed the process up of the paint drying, some kind of heat tool or hairdryer will be really handy. But if you're feeling a bit more patient and happy to wait for your paint to dry, then it is absolutely essential. Next, we'll talk quickly about the sorts of journals are BY using RBA using two different sizes. One which is a standard size traveler's notebook, and one which is in a five. You can use any size journal you like. Our switch between both of these journals throughout the lessons. Just so you get a bit of a feel for the variety that you can create in your journals. I won't be using watercolor paper. This insert here has Tomoko river paper and it's playing white, is very thin and it wrinkles with watercolor. And I absolutely love that. I will also be using an A5 dotted journal. This one comes from London, fifties and he's got a really thick paper in a almost like card. Trial, a few different journals, perhaps play with your watercolor in the back. See whether it works well for you. And if you're happy with the effect, say nothing has to be perfect in this. And just try out a few different things. So we'll now get started with the lessons. 3. Drips & Splashes: In this lesson, we're going to have lots of fun. We are going to be creating drips of watercolour paint and splashes on your page. This is one of my favorite things to do with watercolor. It's so easy. And every time you do it, you're gonna get a slightly different result. And I think that's the magic of watercolor. If I'm ever looking to just add something a little bit special to my journal pages. This is something that I do all the time. So I really hope that you enjoy this lesson. We're going to start off with one of my absolute favorite ways to add watercolor to my journal pages. And that's going to be adding drips and splashes. And in this lesson, I'm going to be using my standard size traveler's notebook, insert with Tommy river paper. But any kind of journal that you're using should be absolutely fine for this. I like to do it to create a fun background to start working on. Also, sometimes when I've already added my journal decorations, then I will add some splashes and drips over the top of it. The first thing that you're going to need is pick the colors that you want to work with ongoing today with a kind of deep purpley color, a light purple and gray colors that again, to look nice next to each other. And I'm using my mixing palette to add some of that colour. And I'm also going to be adding lots of water. Becase. We're going to be creating drips though wetter your mixture is the battle as this will really encourage it to travel down the page. And you can pick as many different colors as you like for this. Now I'm going to use three. I find that that tends to work really well. As the paints may well run into each other is a dripped down your page. It's worth picking soma complimentary colors so that when they do mix it looks pleasing. Rather than giving you a muddy kind of effect. I like matching the colors that I'm using, either to my mood or just a color palette that I want to use, or very often the changing seasons. So have a look at your paints and pick some colors which feel just right for you at the moment. Now that we've got our paint mixed with lots of water, we're going to start off by adding some blobs of that paint along the top of the page. I'm going to be doing a double page journal spread for this. So we'll be going right across the top of both of the pages. And you want to work quite quickly so that whilst it's still wet, you can tip your journal pages up on I put a paper towel underneath them and gently tapping my journal page to encourage that paints to drip all the way down to the bottom. Now, the first color is done. We're going to do exactly the same thing with the next color. So I'm choosing to put this light purple next to the deeper shades that I originally used. And again, you want to add quite a lot at the top of the page and make sure that it's really nice and wet before tipping your journal pages up. If you do ever find that they're paints, not traveling as well as you'd like like I'm having here. You can just add some more paint in today's blobs that are at the top. And this will encourage it to travel. Or you could also just add some more water. I'm now going to move on to adding that final color. And already to me, these journal pages look far more inviting to write on and create on than just stays blank, white pages that you start with. And it's such a fun and easy affects. And each time you do it, your pages are gonna look completely different. Now. And we finished the drips. We're going to move on to the watercolor splashes. And I'm using exactly the same mix of painters before, because something that's quite wet with lots of water added will work best for this. I'm also adding some scrap pieces of paper onto my journal pages to make sure that none of the paint splashes onto the pages below. I'm simply dipping my paintbrush into the mixing palette and then flicking that paint. If you prefer final looking splashes, you could use a toothbrush for this. I hope this is showing you how quick and easy it is to use watercolour paint to create a really beautiful but effective background on your journal pages. We will be coming back later in the class to look at how we can add different creative elements. And of course, lots of lovely journal writing on top of this. 4. Let the Colours Play: In this lesson, we're going to be letting some colors run together. So we're gonna be working with a really wet wash of watercolors, adding lots of water to it. And then just seeing how these different colors interact with each other is a lovely way to get past that blank page if you feel slightly fearful of it in your journal. And to me it looks really inviting to write on. So let's get started. For this journal page. We're going to have lots of fun letting the different watercolor paints play and run into each other. And for this, I'm using my A5 dotted journal. And because we'll be adding lots of paint to this, you will want to think about the type of paper you're using and how crinkly you mind it getting. I love crinkly journal pages, but I know that it's not for everyone. I'm going to be using the same colors that I did on the last journal page. So I'm just adding some more paint and water to that makes again, you want to make sure it's really wet for this that I had plenty of water. As the pain will be covering nearly the entire page. One thing to think about in bear in mind when you're picking your colors, is that you don't want it to be too dark because you do want to be able to right over the top of this background. So I'm working quickly whilst the paint is still wet and just adding lots of different sections of the paint. And while sister wet, letting them run into each other. By working quickly, you asked the paint is still wet. You'll find that you get a lovely blended gradient effect rather than separate kind of standalone blocks of color. And that's one of the things I really like to do is to make sure that I drag some of each of the payments into the one that I've just used. And this helps it look more natural so that they can all then just run together and create their own effect. By playing around with the different colors you use, you'll be able to create a completely different look and feel to your journal pages. I really liked using mixtures of blues as well to give a kind of sky look to the back of your journal page. For me, this looks almost like a galaxy or sunset type scene, but they're also lovely, muted colors, severity, calming too. 5. Writing Spots and Mark Making: In this lesson, we're going to create some writing spokes. So that's space on your page where you're going to be writing over the top of the water color paints. But then around the outside of it we're going to be doing some mark making. So be using your watercolor brushes to create some really simple but effective marks on your page. For this channel page, I'm going to mask off some areas that I wanted to paint in it to create some writings spots. And for this, I'm using some really thin strips of washy tape. If you only have really quite sticky tape, I would advise gently tapping it against your T-shirt or trials is just to take some of that stickiness of and if he didn't have any tool, you could use either some masking fluid or just lightly draw out your boxes in pencil. And that will give you a guideline to work within the field watercolour paint. My areas are marked off. I'm going to start mixing my watercolor paints. And for this page, I'm only going to use two different colors. I'm starting off with a pale blue, and I'm also going to mix a turquoise color. And again, because these paints again to be playing together, I want to make sure that the colors that will really nice once they make sane. As with other lessons so far, you want to make sure you add lots of water to your mix. I'm starting off in this top rectangle by adding a base of the pale blue. And again, I'm working quite quickly because I want to make sure that that paint is still wet. When I add my second color, I'm taking the paint right up to the edges of the washy tape. And now I'm dropping in the turquoise ie blue, just adding some drops of that paint. And as you can see, it mixes and blends out beautifully without wet base layer. I'm now doing exactly the same for the second rectangle. And these areas of paint again to be my writing spots on my journal pages. So this kind of layout works really well if you want to do some journal writing, but don't have locks that you want to write about at that time. Once you are happy that the paint is completely dry, you can then carefully remove those strips of washy tape. And that will leave you with some really neat looking at rectangles on your journal pages. The next thing I'm going to do is move on to adding some mark making to my page. And for this, I'm using my smallest size for watercolor brush. And I'm simply dipping the end of the paint brush into the pale blue paint and adding some short lines. And I let the paint just fade out until it's almost disappeared, and then add some more paint. And this gives a really lovely, interesting look to your journal pages. And Ganges, that pale blue paint for the top half of the journal page. And then move on to the slightly darker turquoise color. Mark making is a great way to practice your brush control. And it also gives you a really lovely quick and simple effects. Whilst I'm adding lines to this page. You could swap that for really long lines or some circles or anything that you fancy. And we'll be coming back later on to share how I really make these journal pages stand out. I find this kind of repetitive mark making a really lovely way to relax and get my mindset ready for journaling. 6. Create Washi Tape Style Strips : In this lesson, we're going to be creating some what she taped Star strips on the edges of your journal pages. I love using what she taped, but of course it does run out. And that's one of the beauties of creating your area and you're right onto your pages, is that you can pick the exact colors that you want to represent your mood, or they're changing seasons in nature. So this one's a lot of fun. In this lesson, we're going to create some really fun at Wash. She taped Star strips on the edge of our journal pages. I think the possibilities are endless with this. So you can pick any different colors you want and pain, any kind of different designs. So I'm starting off by picking the colors that I want a mixing them in my palette. I am lucky enough to have lots of roles of washy tape in my stash. But for me, I do also love the freedom of being able to pick exactly the colors that I want to use. And it's just so much fun playing around with them in your journal. I'm starting off by adding one solid strip of that deep purple color. And I'm going to add that all the way along the left-hand side of my page. And I've added lots of paint and lots of water to this. So that when I move onto the next stage, both of the paints can run into each other really nicely. So now moving on to adding that gray paint on top. And I'm dipping my paintbrushes and to pick up lots of the paint, dropping it into that deep purple. And as you can see, they're running and mixing absolutely beautifully. And it's gonna give you a really lovely effect. While that first trip is still drying, I'm going to move on to the second page. And you could add exactly the same design. I'm going to do something a little bit different on this page, but still using the same colored paints. And for this, I'm using my smallest size for watercolor brush. So my decoration, I'm starting off by just adding some really simple triangles all facing in the same direction using that purple paint. And as with all of the lessons, you could pick which ever colors you want to use. And you can also swap the triangles, four circles, squares, or any other shapes that you like. To finish off the Design. I'm adding some dots in between each of the triangles using that pale gray paint. I love doing things like, I just feel like there's so many different fun and easy to signs II can create to Agile. Or she taped Star strip to the edge of your journal pages. 7. Sponge Printing: For this lesson, we are going to be doing some sponge brings doing. And these might be something you haven't done since you're at school, but it's so fun and you get a really lovely bubbly kind of effects by soaking your sponge. Do some of your watercolor paints. And if you pick some subtle colors, you can create such a lovely background with this method. For this final watercolor background, I'm going to be doing something really fun and easy, which is sponge painting. And because I want to be able to dip my sponges into the water column x, I'm going to use this ceramic plates that it's got a nice flat surface. And I'm picking it to different colors for this journal page, which is a deep green and a blue. Mixing, caught a lot of the paint up because I know that the sponges absorbent, so it's going to get through that paint quite quickly. And as with the others, I've also added lots of water to the mix. For the sponge printing aren't going to be using a Makeup sponge. I often buy big biographies because they are great for use with watercolor and also acrylic paints. And I'm starting off by dipping the square and of the sponge into the green paint and then just printing that in random places over my journal page. And then at turning the sponge over so that I get the triangle pattern. And I'm going to do the same again. Once I feel that I've added a enough of the green paint, I'll move on to using the blue. And I feel you can't go wrong with this type of journal background. It immediately takes away that starkness of the blank white page that staring up at you and gives you a really lovely, muted, but interesting background to work home. And as with all of the other watercolor backgrounds, I'll be coming back to you to share with you how I then turn these into completed journal pages. If you don't have a Makeup sponge, you could even try using something like paper towel or anything that's absorbing this gonna give you some really interesting patterns all over the back of your journal page. I really hope that you've enjoyed seeing the tutorials for how I create my different water color backgrounds. And we're now going to move onto the journaling elements itself. When we add lots of creative elements. 8. Journal Inspiration: Now that we've discovered lots of different ways to add water color to the background of our pages. I wanted to share with you how I've then it turn to some of those into completed journal pages. So that hopefully by the end of this class you've got lots of ideas for how you want to get creative and documenting your own life in your journals. In this lesson, I'm going to share with you how I've used these beautiful watercolor backgrounds and turn them into really lovely looking journal pages. I'll start with the one from a lesson which was called leapt for colors play. But we created that really lovely wash over the background. I've then used to floor stamps with some black permanent ink stumps them along the top and the bottom. And then I've used colored pencils over the top. And colored pencils work really well on watercolor. I then added a quote using brush lettering and added a tipping card that I decorated. And I've used what she taped strips on both sides so that I can turn it over and write a quote or positive message to myself on the back. I'd previously decorated this luggage tag by putting a coat of gesture on the front. And then put a watercolor wash on top of that with some stickers for some extra decoration. And one of the things I like to do when I'm writing in my journal is to find a quote that ties in with the kind of things I want to write about. And because I've been feeling a bit worried about few things I went with the query, stay positive for better days are on their way. And I wrote about some of the troubles that I'd been having and how I want to turn that around and have a more positive attitude towards those things moving forwards. This page was from the writing spots and make marketing lesson. And you can see what I've done on top of here is I've used a black pen to get around some of the marks that I've made at random. And I think that gives a really interesting effect and help some of that background to stand out a little bit more. I've then added dashed lines around both of those right in spot boxes. And I decided to use these to write down a few things. I want to do more off, which includes things like taken online classes and learning, having proper rest time, getting active and healthy eating, reading development books and creative fun projects. And under do less of taking on too much work, worrying about things I can't change. Going to bed too late, eating unhealthy feed in getting distracted. And these sorts of pages are really good if you don't have loads that you want to say, but still want a really pretty background and to get those thoughts onto paper. The last page in this journal was the one we created using the sponge dipped in water color. And these colors really made me think of nature and getting outside. So I've added a piece of patterned vellum paper on top. I've picked a quote that ties in really beautifully with nature, which is an every walk in nature, one receives far more than he segues by John Wood. And I found a stamp and some stickers that tied in with that. And then I write about things like the dog walks, I go on how I feel when I'm outside, how it comes my mind and enables me to switch off from everything else that's going on. I've got one last journal page to show you. And this is from the washy tape strips. Well, I've created then one double journal spread on top of here. And I've used some stumping with some purple ink saying, if you want to fly, give up everything that weighs you down. And this is why I started to think about what I want to do over the next 12 months and what kind of things are holding me back. And because I was thinking about that flying quote, I used a bird stamp, which I thought tied in really nicely. And underneath the bird stamp, I've glued down to different pieces of paper. And that's partly because I really love that effective sim, simple collage on my page. But also if you have inks which seep through your paper quite a lot, then adding them on top of a collage can help prevent that and work really well. I've then added some stickers along the bottom here and on the top. And then I've written about those things that I feel at the moment are holding me back and stopping me from focusing on the things that I want to do. Or I hope you've enjoyed seeing how I've used these watercolor backgrounds and turn them into journal pages. And in the next lesson, I'm going to show you the whole process from beginning to end of how I'm going to turn this into another journal spread. 9. Lets Get Journaling: In this lesson, we are going to pick one of those watercolor background journal pages and create a whole journal spread from scratch. So I'm going to talk you through some of my favorite ways of journaling, the kinds of different elements that I add. But please just feel free to use whatever you have. This is more for inspiration to show you how I then build up a whole completed journal page. The first thing that I'm going to do is add some scrap pieces of paper underneath my journal pages. And that's because I'm going to be adding some ink right along the edges. And it helped prevents any effect going onto the pages underneath. I'm going to be using a distressing in TDI. And again, to apply it using this ink blending tool. I really like mixing up a vintage style journal spread along with some bright, more modern colors. And I'm picking out just a little bit of that pale brown ink and rubbing it gently all the way around the outside of my journal pages. And that instantly gives a slightly different look to your journal pages and make them look a little bit aged and vintage. None of the steps I'm going through when creating this journal page are essential at all. I just wanted to make sure that I shared with you some of my personal favorite ways of adding extra decoration to my journal pages. But have a look through your stationary and art supplies. And I'd highly encourage you to use the things that you already have. One of the things I find really useful if you're using a journal with sinner pages is an underlay or pencil board. And that's because I tend to add lots of different elements that can make my journal a bit bumpy to write on. So adding that board underneath helps to give me a flat surface. And you could use something like a thick piece of cardboard for this. As I want these journal pages to have a vintage looked to them, I'm going to add a really simple collage using some old book pages. And I really liked how they've already got that natural, slightly brownish tinge to them. And it immediately gives you a really lovely vintage look. Some just roughly tearing up the pieces of paper that I want to use. And I'm going to play around with them to get them in a pattern that I like. I also have this old ticket role which will tie in beautifully. Again, you don't need to go with any kind of vintage style like I am. You could use any kinds of patterns, paper, scrapbooking, paper. Or even print off some vintage images. And to please him down on going to use some Pritt Stick. One of the things that I always try to balance on my journal pages is adding lots of lovely creative elements, but also making sure that I've got plenty of space to add my journal writing to. Lots of my journal pages have a simple collage on them. Because it's just one of those techniques that I really enjoy doing and I always loved the effect. The next thing you're going to do is add a B24 pressed flower to my page. These flowers were bought by also press my own flowers. And I think they're a really lovely decoration to add on your journal pages to make sure that the flower is secure or my page, I'm adding a little base of clear glue just on the head of the flower. And I'm going to turn it over and gently tap sat down onto my page. And I will then use a thin strip of washy tape along the stem. If you don't have pressed flowers, you could consider adding a drawing over the top of the collage paper or some stickers stamping all stem slaying. The next thing I'm going to do for an extra fancy touch is add a wax seal to my page. So I've got these bags here of wax stars. Again to put them inside the melting sperm are going to use a Deep Purple which ties in with the journal pages and a silver to match in with the gray. Again today and at Lloyds, the tea light candle and slowly melt that wax. This takes a little while to do, and I love that because it really forces me to slow down and just enjoy that moment of getting creative in my journal. Once the wax has fully melted, I'm going to gently pour that in a circular motion over the bottom of the stem of the pressed flower. And whilst the wax is still hot, I will press the wax seal writing to it. You have to leave the seal in the wax for a good few seconds to allow the wax to start to cool down and hardened off. Which means when you remove that seal, you're left with a really lovely shape on your page. I didn't walk feels is something I do quite a lot. And again, it really adds to that vintage style of journal pages. Now that the wax seal is done, I'm going to move on to adding a quote onto my page. And for this, I'm going to use a tomboy few Tennessee key brush pen with a firm nib. And the quote is that I'm going to add is, you will never regret being kind. I often like to add a quote or lyrics to my journal pages. It helps me because it sets a theme for the types of things I'm going to write about. I'm never short of ideas. I find that going through various quotes and I tend to save them on one of my boards on Pinterest. And when I scroll through them all often find something which feels just right. And I can then tie all of my journal writing for that spread into the quote. The next thing I'm going to do is add some more decorative elements to my journal pages and orders. A declaration really isn't essential. It's just something that I enjoy doing because it helps me to relax. So again, to add so much strips of what she taped to my pages. And I like to look through my supplies and find things which fit in really nicely with the colors that I've already used in the water color background. So for me, I'm going for a deep purple. Was she tape with a thin layer of a grey tape on top. One thing that I do try to do is creative journaling is to balance out my pages. So I've got a lot of quite heavy decoration on the right-hand page with the college and flour and walk Seal. I've then added my quote on the other page. And the washy tape again is added to both sides. I'm now going to add some stamping using a black ink pad. And again, you'll notice I add one in the bottom left-hand corner and one in the top right. And again, this isn't essential. It just for me gives a really pleasing look to the page if everything feels well-balanced. The final declaration that I'm going to add to my journal page is a postage stamp. They make a great decoration. So I had a quick look through my pile and found one that was pink, so tied in really nicely with the colors. And it's also a woman holding a child. And I thought that fitted in really nicely with the theme of kindness. I'm now moving on to the journal writing itself. And for this, I'm using a black MEG gel pen, but absolutely any kind of pen would work fine. And I'm writing about some difficult people that I've been dealing with recently. And how sometimes I'm not quite sure is the best way to approach the situation. But one thing I do know is that I'm never going to regret being kind. I might regret all kinds of other things I'd be tempted to say. But actually, if I'm coming from a place of kindness, I know I won't regret it. And I really like using my journals for these types of thoughts. So it's kind of Life Lessons me writing about things that I've been experiencing, what's worked well for me, and what hazards. So that when I read through them at a later day is a really good reminder for me of perhaps struggles that I faced and how I've been able to overcome them. When I move onto the opposite page of my journal writing, you'll notice that our turn my journal around. And for me again, this just adds another level of visual interest to my journal pages. I really hope that you've enjoyed seeing lots of different ways that you can use watercolor to create some beautiful backgrounds on your journal pages. And I hope inspires you and gives you the confidence to have a go yourself. And of course, all as a creative element, she can really just add anything that you have to hand and make some personal so they reflect yourself and the things that you're going through in life. So that's now that journal page completed. I really enjoyed putting all of that together. I hope you enjoyed watching. 10. Class Project: Now that we've completed all of the lessons, I would love you to share with me your class project. And that's really simple. It's just a photo of your completed journal pages. If you haven't got to the point of adding your writing on top, then please do share the background. I'd absolutely love to see it because I know we'll all be working with different paints and different colors and all of the effects will be amazing. So it would be lovely to see those and hopefully it'll inspire other students to get brave and creative with their watercolor paints too. I can't wait to see your completed journal pages. 11. Thank You: Thank you ever so much for taking this skill share class. I really hope that you've enjoyed it. And most of all, I hope that you feel inspired to get out some of your water color paints and have a play in your journals. I think journaling is just so rewarding and finding some lovely fun, quick and creative ways to add your own personal touches. Chill journals is just wonderful. I have lots of other skill share classes listed here too. So if you're interested in taking your gel into another level, then please do check those out. I would love it if you would leave the class or review. And also don't forget to share your project in the section that down below. Thank you again for taking my class.