8 Tips for Creating Your Own Art Journal


Pablo Picasso said, “Painting is another way of keeping a diary”. Keeping a journal is a great way to capture the daily events, feelings and activities that are important to you. Using art as a way to journal is not only fun, it will also develop your artistic abilities.

There are a lot of different ways to use your art journal. You can have an everyday journal that you use to save random thoughts, drawings, collages, etc. If you are getting ready to travel – or have just returned – you can create a travel journal to capture your trip.

Your art journal also gives you a way to experiment with different techniques. For example, you could collage some pages, use watercolor on others, and use some pages for found objects and embellishments. Add your own thoughts and words.

Children of all ages can benefit from their own art journal. It can be used as a way to remember cool events, work through a sad day, and keep the creative juices flowing.

Almost anything can be used as your art journal supplies. You can start with a pencil to do drawings. Add some watercolors or paints. Find pictures in magazines that speak to you for collage. Add some tissue paper or found objects. Perhaps a ticket from recent event can stimulate a fun page about the experience. Colorful markers can be used to create visuals that you can add your own words to.

Here are some tips on getting started:

Tip 1 – Choose a journal or sketchbook or make one. You can use a standard sketchbook that can be found at the art store, or an inexpensive composition book.

  • Keep it simple and inexpensive – particularly if you are just starting to draw or if you are helping a child create their journal.

  • Select the paper size that works best for you

  • Make sure the book will stay open and flat while you are drawing.

Tip 2 –Own your journal by making it personal. Write your name on it! Decorate the cover or put found objects on the front.

Tip 3 – Get started! Don’t worry about being perfect or what to put in it. Sometimes just sketching a picture or doodling can get you started

Tip 4 – Try new things. Experiment with new techniques you have learned about. If you are helping a child with their journal, encourage them to try new things and then talk to them about what they like about the technique.

Tip 5 – Use the journal to think about what has made you happy or sad during the day. Use words, pictures, and drawings to express your emotions. This is a great exercise for children to do on a regular basis.

Tip 6 – Remember good enough is good enough. Turn off that inner critic. Have fun trying new things and experimenting. This is your journal and seeing what works and what doesn’t is all part of the fun, creative journey.

Tip 7 – Put your ideas down right away. If you have a thought or an experience that you want to express, grab your journal as soon as you can.

Tip 8 – Ways to make your journal even better:

  • If you use paint or watercolors, make sure that you let it dry completely before closing the book.

  • If you are using charcoal or pastels, you can use aerosol fixative.

  • Date your entries.

  • Think about a theme – this is great for children too – perhaps dogs, cats, travel, flowers.

  • Think about ways to use found objects to add to the page.

  • Add stamping to your pages.

Creating an art journal is a wonderful creative exercise for children and adults alike. Don’t get caught up on what is “right”. Explore, create and have fun.

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