How to Start an Art Journal (Step-by-Step Art Journal Ideas)

Are you intrigued by the idea of starting an art journal but not sure where to begin? Do you already have an art journal but feel stuck and don't know what to do next? Either way, this step-by-step guide is for you! In today's post, we'll share with you some simple tips and tricks on how to start an art journal, a few art journaling ideas to help you figure out what to include in your pages, and some answers to your burning questions about everything art journaling related. So, if you're ready to dive into the world of creative journaling, keep on reading!

art journal page with embossing paste and palette knife set

 

What is art journaling?

Art journaling is a form of self-expression involving various components such as images, colors, patterns, and handwritten notes or journaling. It is, essentially, a visual diary. This creative process helps you document thoughts, memories, and emotions, just like you do in a journal or diary, but incorporates different elements of art. It is an excellent way to express personal thoughts and unleash creativity at the same time.

Art journal pages typically have a few or all of the following elements:

  • Drawing
  • Writing or journaling
  • Images (either printed out, drawn, or cut out of magazines)
  • Collage
  • Sketching
  • Color - lots of colors!
  • Doodling
  • Painting
  • Mixed media
  • Stamping
  • Words and phrases

Floral art journal page idea

Floral art journal page idea

 

What is the point of an art journal?

The point of an art journal is to express yourself in your own way - without overthinking the outcome or how it looks. Your journal is a personal space for you to create anything you want and use any material you have at your disposal. The best thing about it is - there are no rules! You don’t even need to have an artistic bone in your body. The point of an art journal is to let your creativity and imagination flow onto your pages by combining a plethora of mediums and techniques. 

easy art journal idea using stamps and inks

easy art journal idea using stamps and inks

How to start an art journal?

How do you start an art journal? There are no specific steps to follow here - you just start! There are no special rules or guidelines to follow when creating art journal pages. There is no wrong or right way to do it too. It doesn’t need to be perfect! Remember, it is your outlet for self-expression, so anything goes! Focus on the creative process and enjoy it!

A few crafting supplies might be handy to have on hand before you get started on those art journal ideas.

Did You Know? There is another form of journaling called “junk journal.” A Junk Journal is a handmade book of recycled and found materials and ephemera. The pages can be used to write, draw, paint or record memories, thoughts, ideas, and inspiration. (Source)

How do I decorate my art journal?

You can decorate your art journal pages any way you want. Add fussy cut shapes, newspaper clippings, old subway tickets, die-cut images, thread, googly eyes, sequins, and even strips of scrap paper. There are no limits on how to decorate your pages! Challenge yourself and find new ways to use whatever materials you have in your arsenal. Most art journal ideas incorporate mixed media art and techniques since both allow creative freedom and self-expression. That’s why you will often find mixed media art journal page ideas all over Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube.

mixed media art journal page

mixed media art journal page

Our Mixed Media Design Team member Tania shared this about doing mixed media. 

Mixed media is when I feel the freest in my work. I always come away from the process having learned something new as the results vary depending on the mediums used! Mixed media for beginners can be quite daunting. With practice and confidence, you can open your creativity to a whole new world of techniques!”

Art Journal Ideas

If you have been dabbling in art journaling but still need fresh ideas to jumpstart your creativity, then you’re in the right place! We’ve got 9 art journal page ideas for you to try!

Retro art journal page idea

Retro art journal page idea

1. Retro Themed Art Journal Page - Tania gave a fresh twist to some 60s and 70s-inspired images using contemporary colors in her colorful and fun art journal.

Tip from Tania: To give the page a fresh feel, keep the stamping to a minimum and leave negative space. Allow the images to overlap a little. Add shaded areas by building up the ink if desired.

 easy art journal idea with coloring stencil set

easy art journal idea with coloring stencil set

2. Floral Art Journal Page - This is one of the easiest ways to create art journal pages! All you’ll need is a layering stencil, some inks, and ink blending tools. Tania added a title using alphabet dies, but you can leave that part out or put your own spin to it.

tropical mixed media art journal idea

tropical mixed media art journal idea

3. Hawaii-Themed Art Journal Page - If you suddenly find yourself in need of tropical-themed art journal page ideas, then you’re in luck! Our guest designer Kari showcased different mixed media techniques to create this vibrant and stunning page that will surely make you say “aloha!”

Colorful patterns on an art journal page

Colorful patterns on an art journal page

4. Colorful Dot Patterns on an Art Journal Page - The bright and bold colors in Zinia's art journal will genuinely make your day! Here, she combined the whimsical floral images from our Simple Flowers Stamp Set and a few of her own watercolored dots.

metallic mixed media art journal

metallic mixed media art journal

5. Metallic Galaxy Art Journal Page - Don’t be afraid of working with dark-colored paper or cardstock! Tania’s metallic galaxy page incorporated various mixed media techniques such as stenciling, watercoloring, wet embossing, and heat embossing. The result is simply stunning!

white floral art journal page

white floral art journal page

6. Elegant Monochromatic Art Journal Page - This is probably one of the best art journal page ideas ever! Simple yet sophisticated! Tania did some ink blending and die-cutting, and voila!

black art journal page idea

black art journal page idea

7. Simple Mixed Media Art on Black Cardstock - You can express your creativity with just a stencil and some ink sprays! Check out this charming mixed media art by Zinia.

Tip from Zinia: I always enjoy experimenting on different surfaces. Ink sprays are shimmery and very pigmented, so they show up beautifully on dark backgrounds.

8. Textured Art Journal Page - Embossing paste is such a handy medium for creating textured looks and adding dimension to your art journal pages. In her page, Nathalie made a colorful, textural background and added dimension to the embossed leaves.

Watch the video tutorial below to see how Nathalie created her page:

PRO TIP! Avoid the hassle of uneven and patchy application of embossing paste! Using a palette knife will allow a smooth paste application on any surface.

9. Mixed Media Art Journal Page - Ink sprays are great for adding color to your embossing paste. Tania’s tip: do not overmix the inks prays for a variegated look to the finished result! 

simple floral art journal with stenciled background

simple floral art journal with stenciled background

Ready to start your own art journaling journey? 

We hope these art journal tips and tricks have inspired you to start. Art journaling is a great way to explore your creativity, relax after a long day, and simply have fun. It’s also a fantastic way to document your life and track your progress as a crafter over time. So what are you waiting for? Pick up a sketchbook and some pens or paints, and get creative! And if you need more inspiration, be sure to check out our library of paper crafting ideas HERE. Happy journaling!