You don’t need to be an artist to keep an art journal

art journal page
A rose is a rose

An art journal is a collection of thoughts and images. It is a playground or a backyard where anyone can come and experiment with any medium that suits their own personality.

Make a mark on a page-

Glue down a photograph or a piece taken out of a magazine-

Write a sentence or a poem-

Draw a stick figure and give it a name-

Paint the pages with color-

The thing about an art journal is that no one is going to judge you. This is your own personal playground. Fling your thoughts onto a page. Your journal will reflect the colors of your life. Picasso’s blue period was the product of depression. Let your journal reflect how you are feeling about life.

If you are wanting to start an art journal but don’t know where to start, the first thing you need to decide is what kind of medium you favor most.

Will you be doing mostly writing with a few drawings thrown in? Then a sketch book might do for you.

Maybe you will want to paste in pictures and memorabilia along with writing. If so, you will want something with at least 80lb card stock for your pages.

A good middle weight journal of 98lb mixed media paper will work well for most journal work were you want the versatility of mediums like pasting photos or painting pages.

If you like to color and plan to use alcohol markers, then they make journals with paper especially for that medium.

If you plan to use watercolor or any medium that contains a lot of water, then you will want to go with the thicker papers of 190lb to 300lb journals.

Type in “art journal” on Pinterest or YouTube and see all the fabulous ideas that come up.

This is also a good place to start if you don’t know what you really want to do with your journal.

Once you have your journal picked out, then it’s time to get started.

You don’t need much to get started. Add more supplies as you go along.

Start with what you have at home already. Dig out whatever markers or paint sets (Crayola) you already have and get started. Do color swatches if you can’t think of anything to draw. Write a poem in seven different colors. Sharpen that #2 pencil and write your name. Now doodle circles or hearts around the letters.

Once you have painted, pasted, used markers or crayons, tested pencils and pastels, then you will have a better idea of what you really like to use and will use going forward, then you can go for those professional grade items that are so expensive, but look so fabulous! When you know what you REALLY LIKE, then go for the good stuff.

Some of the fun supplies to have are watercolors or gouache, acrylic craft paint, stickers, markers, alcohol markers, washi tape, glue sticks, glitter glue, india ink, stencils, modeling paste, book pages, stamps, misc. ephemera.

Don’t compare yourself to someone who has been practicing their art for a long time. The fun is in the doing, over and over again.

Don’t get bogged down in the “but it doesn’t look like the one in the video” scenario’s. Why does it have to look like someone else’s work? Do your own thing. You will find your style, even if you can’t decide which medium you like best and use them all, (that’s called mixed media, by the way).

We can make an art journal from things around the house.

Gathering things we might need.

Gather items that can be used to make your own journal like cereal boxes and some kind of paper. In this example I used a Welches fruit snack box and some Canson XL watercolor paper.

Cut the fruit snack box so that you are using one panel of the box. You can save the rest of the box for future projects if you want to. Then fold the panel in half.

Cut two pieces of watercolor paper the same size as the cardboard panel and fold both in half. Now you have two pages to sew onto your cover to make a mini art journal.

Mini art journal cover

After you sew your pages onto the cover you can decorate the cover. Choose just a few colors and stick with them through out the journal for a cohesive look.

Supplies for an art journaling experience

Swirl some paint onto your pages using a brush or your fingers for a marbled background. Stick to your chosen colors. Pick out some things from old magazines to glue onto your page. In this example I will use a magazine photo of a beautiful woman and also some pressed and dried flowers from my garden.

Staying with my chosen color pallet, I loosely use the magazine photo as a guide. I don’t have to draw the figure myself.

art journal page
A rose is a rose

The important thing to remember when starting an art journal is to have fun and just start.


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