Art Journaling: Basic Steps to Get Started

Art journaling is an incredibly rewarding activity – it allows you to explore your thoughts and feelings, express yourself in unique ways, and create something beautiful. Over the years, art journaling has become an increasingly popular form of artistic self-expression. It’s a great way to keep track of your creative ideas, as well as document your life experiences.

What is the difference between a sketchbook and an art journal?

Art journals are as vastly different as the people who create them. Each person also has a different idea or interpretation of what an art journal is. For me, an art journal focuses on self-expression. Using imagery as a way to express your inner thoughts and emotions. And yet, I have many art journals where I play with techniques and different media. I have journals that are focused on history and family stories.

The beautiful thing about art journaling is they are exactly what you need them to be and there is no wrong way to do them. Despite their name “art” journal, they are not just for artists. You don’t have to be a skilled artist to create art journals.

The possibilities are endless!

Art Journals are a Powerful Healing Tool

Art journaling is an incredible way to express yourself and reflect on your life. It can be an incredibly powerful tool to help you work through difficult emotions, document your successes and challenges, and foster self-awareness and personal growth.

One of the most powerful benefits of art journaling is its ability to provide a safe space to explore your thoughts and feelings. Artistic expression can be incredibly cathartic, allowing you to express yourself without judgment or fear of being misunderstood. By exploring your thoughts and feelings on paper, you can gain valuable insight into your own thoughts and feelings.

In addition to providing a safe space for self-exploration, art journaling can also help you set and achieve goals. By giving yourself a creative outlet, you can create a physical representation of the goals you’d like to achieve. This can help motivate you to take action, as well as help you stay focused and on track.

Finally, art journaling can help you develop greater self-awareness. By reflecting on your experiences, you can gain a better understanding of yourself and how you interact with the world around you. This can be incredibly helpful in developing healthier relationships and making better decisions in the future.

Basic Steps to Starting an Art Journal

Step 1: Choose a journal

The type and size of journal all depends on what you want to do with it. Mixed media paper is the most universal, but if you plan to add lots of paint, liquid inks, or glues…then watercolor paper may be better. Thicker paper is definitely better just because the page will need to bear the weight of all the layers you plan to add.

Here are a few of the types of art journals I use.

Hardback journal with sketchbook paper, handmade journal with watercolor paper, handmade journal with different paper thickness, composition notebook (pages glued together and coated with gesso), old books converted by added gesso to prep pages for paint.

Step 2: Gather your supplies

You will need supplies such as paints, markers, pens, pencils, glue, tape, and paper. You can also add in any other materials that you like to work with such as stickers, washi tape, and ephemera.

Step 3: Experiment with different mediums

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different mediums to find what works best for you. You can try out different paints, markers, and pens to see what you like best.

I have an art journal that I use to experiment with different supplies. It gives me permission to just play and not be afraid of making mistakes in my main art journal.

Step 4: Start small

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Start small and focus on having fun and giving yourself permission to play.

Start by picking a theme for your page. This can be anything from a particular emotion to a color or pattern you’d like to use. Once you have your theme, think about how you’d like to express it. Will you use drawing, painting, or collage? You can also combine multiple mediums to create a unique page.

When you start to create, don’t be afraid to experiment. Mistakes often lead to new ideas, so don’t be afraid to try something new. As you create, be sure to take your time and enjoy the process. Art journaling should be a fun and relaxing activity.

Step 5: Reflect and Write

Art journaling is not just about creating art. It’s also about reflecting and writing about your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. You can write down quotes, journal prompts, or just free write. Let the page you created inspire you. What does it bring up for you? Are there feelings that came up while you were creating it? Write about that.

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