Gesso is your art journaling friend. Why? Because it's all about freedom!
Freedom to make mistakes (hey, who decides if it is a mistake? only you!). Freedom to change your mind, freedom to hide stuff, freedom to veil stuff, freedom to change bits on the page.
Gesso covers up stuff. It seems kind of like paint, but is thinner and more matt. It is a good primer to paint over the top of. You can use it on a lot of different surfaces so they will take paint better.
You don't have to gesso your journal pages. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. Just depends on what I feel like.
Gesso can make pages a bit stronger if you want to collage bits.
Click here if you want Wikipedia detail and historical info.
In the picture are two kinds of white gesso and black gesso. The container on the left is good gesso, rather expensive gesso ( A$16 - that's in aussie dollars) I use for preparing my wood before painting. I like it. The middle one is cheap gesso. I bought it because I read that cheap gesso can actually work better in a journal. IMHO it is crap. Crap gesso.
It stinks. It takes two coats to cover what my good gesso covers in one. It doesn't have the matt feeling of the good gesso. True, it is half the price of the first gesso - but what good does that do me when I have to use two coats instead of one?
I am sorry I bought you, crap gesso.
The black gesso was not expensive (I think it was A$8.00) and I like it. Maybe I will try cheap white gesso again if it is Mont Marte. But I doubt it.
Black gesso is fun. It is like painting on a chalk board. Gives you a very different look. Here is a post where I used some black gesso. I am going to experiment with it more.