Puzzling Free Lesson: The Edge

When we’re putting together a jigsaw puzzle, it often helps to start with the edge or a foundation of sorts. For some of us, myself included, that means putting together all the actual edge pieces, and creating a frame. For others, this looks more like finding a focal point in the image and pulling out those pieces to work from first. Whichever way it’s approached, there’s something both comforting and freeing about putting down a framework to begin working from, and that’s no different when journaling than when doing a jigsaw. In this lesson, we will begin with the biggest part of the edge, the choosing of a journal, and move into working on the edges of the individual spreads or pages. While the fear of a fresh page and where to begin is real, the freedom of setting down a base made of the bigger bits first is joyous. We will look at a number of different completed pages to identify what the edges were, then create a few of our own.

I’ve been using a square watercolor journal, but anything from a hand bound book, to a traveler’s notebook, or even a basic composition book will work for this journal.

Beginning with the bigger pieces creates a framework within which you can play, and it also takes the first step in getting over the perfect new page paralysis.

Big, bold words are a great way to begin a page. What words have been knocking at your head and heart?

Use a color that’s been calling to fill a portion of a page to get you started.


Action Steps


Choose a journal, keeping these questions in mind:

What mediums will I use that might need special paper or binding?

  • watercolor or other wetter paints
  • lots of layers that might need a binding that can hold a chunkier journal
  • heavy ink that might bleed through

What size will be best for you?

  • do you want to be able to travel with your journal?
  • are you more comfortable working small, or do you need more space?

Begin big:

  • Pull out a few larger pieces from what you’ve saved
  • Choose a large word or two you want to write/stamp/sticker
  • Select a color or medium (paint, fabric, etc.) that speaks to you

Put your big beginnings on the page, setting aside the fears of a blank page, and create an “edge” or base within which you’ll be able to work later.

Want more?

These free lessons are a taster of the type of art we’re making. Has it sparked something? Turn that flame into more art. We’d love for you to join the full class.


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