U is for Underpapers: The Alphabet of Visual Journaling

alphabet of art journaling

Today’s alphabet of visual journaling features one of my favorite things: underpapers. Underpaper is the paper that you put on your workspace to protect it from paint drippings or to wipe off brushes and brayers. It often ends up making the most divine collage papers for use in visual journaling, junk journals and book making.

I am in Colorado visiting my Mom this week and we love making art together. Yesterday I introduced her to gel printing (I will share more about this when I get to the letter G.) We had so much fun and created quite a few gorgeous pages.

gel printing

Some of the most beautiful pages we created were the on the newsprint we laid down to protect her granite kitchen counter or the extra pages we used to clean off our brayer in between colors.

The alphabet of visual journaling is also about the unexpected

One of the things I love about my underpapers is how unexpected they are. I’m not paying attention or worrying about outcomes at all. I’m absent-mindedly wiping off brushes, rolling off brayers or even using the underpaper as a palette. It becomes a catch all for paint, glue, collage bits and pen marks.

art journaling

What others might consider trash is an visual journaler’s treasure

These photos are from the work Mom and I did yesterday in a couple of hours of playing and painting. I can’t wait to use them in my visual journal to create some collaged backgrounds or to draw and create right on top of.

using underpapers for collage
This is the newsprint I was using to clean off my brayer.

Have you ever stopped to look at your underpapers? Or let them stay on your table for week’s on end and keep adding layer upon layer of paint to them? I encourage you to give it a try. It really is magical!

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  1. Janet Miles on November 9, 2021 at 9:14 am

    I love the newsprint. I haven’t tried gel printing yet but it looks like fun. Thanks!

    • minette on November 11, 2021 at 11:13 am

      It is so much fun! Very addictive – fair warning 🙂

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