The Ultimate Guide To Art Journaling

Art Journaling : The Ultimate Guide

A lot of people keep journals where they record interesting moments of their life, their thoughts, and feelings and cherish this in the future if they see them. But, you can move this to the next level and create an art journal. The good thing is that you don’t have to be an artist to create an art journal.

Just like other types of journaling, art journaling doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, art journaling will provide you with the simplest way to make art. This is because everything that you create will safely be stored in your journal. Since you are not obliged to share the contents of the journal it’s a space where you can explore and try out different shapes, colors, paintings and works all at once and just let loose.

Whether you are a beginner who is just starting out, or have been around the block for a while, this is a detailed guide that will teach how to go about art journaling.

Begin Art Journaling Today - A Step by Step Guide to Start Art Journaling.

What is Art Journaling?

 Art journaling can be described as the process of creating a journal with pictures or images. Starting with an image or your thoughts, you create the pages using simple artistic techniques. Since it resembles scrapbooking you don’t need to have any drawing or art experience. Art journals are, therefore, visual diaries that include several art-based probes with artistic colors and designs that expand and deepen the range at the same time.

To start out you can use a wide variety of supplies, techniques, and tips to help you. By using the journal to express your feelings and emotions you can, later on, refer to them and learn.  Plus, this can help you to explore different artistic styles as there are no set guidelines to follow. If you are a fan of art and passionate about writing, art journaling is one of the best ways to take your creativity to the next level.

Six Benefits of Art Journaling

1. Art Journaling gives you the freedom to learn

This is perhaps one of the best things about art journaling.  Since there are no boundaries you can use whatever medium or tool to express yourself.  Regardless of what you put in, your art journal will take it.

Just imagine what you’ll be able to create if you can create just anything. From gluing magazine photos on a paper to exploring spraying, painting and pencil drawing you can do virtually anything.

2. Art Journaling will inspire you to do more

 If you are looking for inspiration you don’t have to wait for something to happen. You just need to start and the inspiration will come along the way. This is the good thing about art journaling.

Once you start practicing it you’ll be inspired to learn and do even more. An art journal page will give you a chance to do something small and fun that will, in the end, sharpen your skills. If you lack the ideas then this is what you need to do to get those ideas flowing.

3. Through Art Journaling, you’ll become an artist

 The current world is so busy that people rarely get a chance to do the things that they love. Art journaling is a very easy way to become an artist. To start with, you don’t have to choose a particular book or style.

If you set aside an hour or a few minutes you can create something fast using your art journal. You can also carry your art journal wherever you go. Overall, art journaling is simple and easy.

4. Art Journaling can act as a therapy tool

 Art journaling is also a great way to work through your emotions and thoughts. For instance, if you fear that your art may not be good art journaling can let you know that after all there is something that you can do.

Through this therapy (i.e. art journaling), you can forget about any inhibitions that you are having and just do your thing. This will not only give you hope but also lead to personal growth so you can become a better person.

5. Art Journaling is your “own” thing

 Just like the normal journal you can also write, paint or draw your feelings this kind of journaling. This journal is personal hence you don’t have to expose it to anybody.

With art journaling, you express your feelings, emotions, and thoughts the way you want. The good thing is that in the process you’ll be honest with yourself, know yourself better and become a much better person. 

6. Art Journaling will give you a chance to play

One of the surest ways to learn is to play. In fact, that’s how most children learn.  When it comes to art journaling you can explore a page with different color mixes and see what comes out of that page.

You can also try out the brush that you’ve just bought and seen whether it works well or not. This will not only let you grow but you’ll also have a chance to challenge yourself in a safe manner.

Art Journal Techniques

Here are some of the most common art techniques that you need to know about:

1. Gluebooks

 If you are not keen on writing or drawing then gluebooking is perhaps the best art journal technique to use. While you need a collage to do this you might also paint or add some text.

But the most important thing is that it involves gluing things on the pages. For instance, if you want to keep an art journal about your life you may decide to glue things such as tickets, receipts, wrappers, flyers, and labels.

2. Mixed media

This type of art journaling involves combining different types of paints and inks to come out with something artistic. There are no guidelines or rules for doing this. Once you are done, you can even add some text. This is a good way to learn and know what resonates with you.

3. Use altered books

Just like the name suggest this involves repurposing a normal book into a journal. Whether you paint all the pages of the book or blackout all the words it’s a very good way to start.

One thing about going this route is that the book will work with you in creating your art. Since you are not using a blank page you can make some mistakes and learn along the way.

4. Pen and Ink Journals

While this art journaling involves pen and ink it’s not exclusively about this. As compared to other journaling that involves writing texts this method is planned, careful and deliberate. This allows you to capture your feelings slowly. If you make any mistakes you can white them out. This will help you create something that you want to keep for long.

Art Journaling Essential Supplies

Art journaling doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Once you get a few supplies you are set to go. Here are some of the things that you need:

  • Pencils. There is a variety of pencils you can try out including colored pencils or watercolor pencils.
  • Pens. You can use ballpoint pens, permanent ink pens, and gel pens.
  • Paints. Use watercolor paints or acrylic paints. 
  • ModePodge. This refers to decoupage glue that you need to use when you are using cardboard or fabric.
  • Other materials. Other supplies include sponges, stamps and stencils, candy wrappers, vegetable netting among others.

Note:  When you are just starting out you can also improvise a number of things.

Art Journaling Tips

  • Do what comes easily
  • Don’t compare yourself with others
  • Copy and improve yourself along the way
  • Gather everything you need and focus n the process
  • Experiment to see what works out for you
  • Be aware of your surroundings

5 Best-Selling Art Journals

Best Art Journals

1. Dylusions Art Journals

Ranger DYJ34100 Dylusions Dyan ( Journal, 11.375 By 8.25-Inch)
Product Highlights:
  • this journal is part of dyan reaveley's dylusions collection and is great for us with inks paints mediums water techniques and more (not included)
  • journal is 9x11-13/16x1 inch and features sixty-four 8-1/4x11-3/8 inch cardstock pages
  • also includes a folder on the inside cover to use for storage and an elastic band closure to keep all your work safe

 This art journal features multipage shape and size and is suitable for acrylics, inks, watercolor, and markers. Since they have features that artists love, if you buy them you’ll get tremendous value for your money.

Plus they are made of strong heavy duty paper that’s able to withstand inks, paint, water, and markers. Moreover, if you are looking for something portable it’s best to get this art journal.

2. Art Journal Courage

Art Journal Courage Fearless ( For Journaling Bravely)
Product Highlights:
  • dina wakley gives readers the pep talk they need to easily find the courage to start making art after she's dispelled fears of the unknown
  • more than twenty techniques give readers inspiration to create fearlessly
  • made in china
  • wakley, dina (author)
  • english (publication language)

If you are looking for one of the best art reference books then this one is worth trying out. This art journal encourages you along the journey as an art journalist by training you and showing you how to do it.

While the author relates to you how she does it, this book is not about her. This art journal can only be described as gorgeous, fun and awesome.

3. Moleskine Artist Plus Sketchbook

Moleskine Art Sketchbook Hard ( Plain/Blank, Black, 96 Pages)
Product Highlights:
  • moleskine art collection: from sketchbooks and sketchpads to watercolor notebooks with heavy paper, to music notebooks with plain and pentagram pages, to storyboard layout notebooks, moleskine's art collection of notebooks offer the quality you need.
  • durable cover & elastic closure: hold writing projects & notes in your moleskine notebook with an elastic closure band & inner storage folders. leather-like classic moleskine cover & thick, ivory paper pages are perfect for writing with fountain pens.
  • gift quality notebooks: moleskine planners, journals and notebooks come in hardcover or softcover and colors like black, red, blue, green and brown. the binding and cover have a durable finish, designed for daily journaling, writing and sketching.
  • deluxe quality pages: moleskine's thick, ivory paper pages in a hardcover moleskine notebook, softcover moleskine notebook, cahier or volant journal, or moleskine planner are perfectly textured for writing with a ballpoint pen, fountain pen, or pencil.
  • moleskine quality: we're dedicated to culture, travel, memory, imagination, & personal identity—both physical & digital. we bring this commitment to our notebooks, bags, apps & smart pens & notebooks.

From sketchbooks to sketchpads to storyboard layout notebooks, these collections of notebooks will provide you with the quality that you need. Constructed of top-quality paper, it’s suitable for sketches, on the go drawings and tempera colors.

Whether you are just starting out or you are a visual arts student you’ll love it. Also, if you prefer a sturdy sketchbook with thicker and larger page it’s the most preferable.

4. Journal Sparks

Journal Sparks Fire Up ( Writing, And Inventive Thinking)
Product Highlights:
  • storey publishing llc
  • language: english
  • book - journal sparks: fire up your creativity with spontaneous art, wild writing, and inventive thinking
  • neuburger, emily k. (author)
  • english (publication language)

Journal Sparks is not only visually adorable but also a lovely book that will definitely inspire you to do much more. With this book, you’ll be motivated and stay like that for long.

If you are just starting out, it’s a good roadmap that will help you out. Coming with thick colorful printed pages and textured paper, it’s quite appropriate for all ages. Just as the name suggests, it will instantly spark your imagination.

5. Strathmore Mixed Media Journal

Strathmore 5668 500 Series ( Journal, 8.5"x11" 32 Sheets)
Product Highlights:
  • mixed media journal
  • perfect for recording sketches, drawings, paintings, and more
  • 32 sheets per package
  • measures 8.5x11 inches
  • acid-free

If you’ve been looking for an affordable art journal book that can withstand water and oil paintings then this is perhaps the best one. This book will allow you to paint page by page while at the same time keeping all your paintings together.

Since the paper quality is quite good it will take watercolor without any issue. Available in three different sizes you can always choose the color that you want.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I start making art journal entries?

The simplest answer to this question is, just get started. This means you just need to grab your journal and do it. There is no good or bad way of art journaling and nobody is judging you so it’s quite easy to get started. There is absolutely no secret to doing it.

What does an art journal look like?

An art journal can practically be any book. In fact, you can even journal in old textbooks. Inside the books, you can use any supplies that you have. These may include watercolors, colored pens, and masking tape.

Why should I try art journaling?

Art journaling will allow you to access a new understanding and knowledge and understand your feelings and the type of person you are. Also doing this does not have to be complicated or even take much of your time. This means 1 hour a week or 15 minutes a day is just enough for you. So if you want to get inspired, empowered and strengthened, this is the way to go.

What should I do with a page that I don’t like?

 Although you feel that you need to be “good”, it takes a lot of time to perfect your art. The best thing to do is to keep that page and use it as a learning tool or springboard that can take you to the next level. Remember, there are no guidelines hence that “bad” page can actually be good to other people.

What materials do I need to start out?

The best thing about this type of journaling is that you don’t need a specific thing. In fact, you don’t even need to buy a journal. You can start out with what you have. Start with loose paper and then move from there.


Art journaling is more or less like an adventure – therefore, the more you do it the more you make mistakes and the more you learn. If you focus on being consistent, you will soon realize that the quality of your work is drastically improving. But if you are not sure about what to do, start with the readily available supplies and improvise some so you don’t spend a lot of money. Apart from the obvious benefits that you get, you’ll realize that art journaling is fun!

Latest posts by Harrison Smith (see all)