Drop Shadow Tips for Digital Art Journaling

In today's post I wanted to talk about shadowing for Art Journal pages because it can be very different to the shadowing you might have been used too when creating a scrapbook page.

In a traditional art journal, the kinds of mediums and elements that you'll find are typically paints, inks, paper ephemera and collage. A traditional art journal grows in size and can't close due to all of the art mediums used and how they thicken and wrinkle the paper as opposed to lots of layering and clustering with flowers and other such elements that you'd typically find on a scrapbook page.

When shadowing Digital Art Journal Pages the aim would be to mimic a traditional journal as much as possible. So if we take paper for instance, let's look at some common ways they could be adhered to an art journal page . . stapled, glued, collaged or transferred. Some of these methods would need none or very minimal shadowing, if thin pieces of paper were to be glued and collaged into an art journal page the finished result would be very very flat, unless they were very thick pieces of cardstock or watercolour paper, or cardboard, but even then, shadowing would be fairly minimal. With staples, I'd suggest it would be the staple itself that would have more shadowing than the actual paper seeing as it's something that would catch and reflect light more.

Paper that is transferred or rubbed onto art journals is first glued to the page, and then burnished with a bone or something similar, then part of the paper ripped off, leaving a thin transfer of paper behind. This wouldn't require any shadowing at all, and you could achieve this look well by clipping paper to semi-transparent brushes in your stash.

Sometimes dimensional elements are added to a journal, and if you're a scrapper that's experimenting with art journaling you may still like to include some scrapbook type elements on your pages, there really are no rules when it comes to your pages or your style! So for things like the occasional flowers, buttons and ribbons that you might choose to use, shadows can be applied as you would normally and can really make the underlying art page 'pop' and add great contrast. 

I really advise against shadowing paint, I know that some scrappers like to apply a very minimal shadow to paint to lift it off the page etc. but personally, I prefer the look of the paint really nestling into the texture of the paper. Instead of shadowing digital paint, consider other ways to make it look more realistic. There are other ways to work with paint and I'll cover these in another post real soon!

Here are some examples from my own pages that have realistic art journal shadowing for examples:

I Give Myself Permission The only elements on this page that needed shadowing were my machine stitching and the little jewels, all of the other textures are blended into each other and are pretty much watercolours or doodles.

Digital Art Journal Page by Captivated Visions

A Story of Life
This page has a real art journal feel to it, but in keeping with the theme of the Kit I decided to a little more scrappy here and added some more dimensional elements, the netting, the starfish, paper confetti, jewels and flower and stitching. These pieces were carefully shadowed to add realism but not take away from the beautiful painted background.

Digital Art Journal page by Captivated Visions

Nobody will dull my sparkle A heavily textured art journal page, with a collage style crown, some jewel scatters, paper bunting and one flower and leaves. On this page I went a little heavier with the shadowing on the crown as I really wanted the look of it to be glue at the bottom but for it to be slightly lifted off the page with a little warped shadow. A nice and subtle but defined shadow on the flower and leaves and a very subtle shadow on the bunting. A tad heavy on the jewels, but cut glass or jewels will be raised of the page and will catch and reflect light.

Digital Art Journal Page by Captivated Visions

I also like to think about the order of layering paper and other objects, when layering elements, put heavier more dimensional elements on the top, after all it would be hard to layer paper over flowers and other thick elements and get it to stay put right? Add bulkier items on top, and give them bulkier shadowing for contrast and realism. This video shows what I mean in a little bit more detail.

Let me know if you have any more questions about shadowing!