Crafty Living, Ideas

Art Journal Ideas – Where to Start

As promised, I am starting a weekly art journal challenge! However, before I get started, I thought I’d show you some tool of the trade and give you some art journal ideas to get you started. My challenges are going to be structured like this: I will offer a word or phrase for inspiration, show you what tools I am using that week, and then reveal to you my finished page for the week.

Where to get supplies

You can find supplies everywhere. I like browsing around at Michael’s and JoAnne Fabrics for art supplies. In my neighborhood they are conveniently located across the parking lot from each other. I also buy a lot of things online. For the most part this means Amazon! I buy nearly everything on Amazon except groceries!

Here is a list of supplies to get started:

  • A journal, of course! There are a lot of choices out there. I prefer to use paper that is for mixed media or watercolor. The reason for this is that, depending on what medium I am using, it tends to have less bleed through to the back of the page. Just take a look at all the choices Amazon has to offer! You don’t have to get the biggest, or most expensive journal, either! Anything that strikes you as being something you will want to use is a good choice!
  • Colored Pencils. I used watercolor pencils so I can blend away to my little heart’s content. You can also use crayons or markers – anything to add color to your page.
  • A black pen to write with. I have a favorite brand that I have to buy a lot because I will run them dry! It is Sukura Pigma brand. The ink is archival, and they are really smooth when writing so I don’t have a lot of skips. I always get the variety pack so I have a selection of thicknesses to work with.
  • Colored Paper or Magazines. I like to do multimedia. Sometimes I will find an interesting pattern, an image that inspires me, or a paper with a really cool texture. I use these in my art journal for idea boards or wish lists.
  • Scissors. Any size that you are comfortable using. I prefer little embroidery scissors for cutting fine details.
  • Glue or glue sticks. Any archival glue will do! One of my other many hobbies is book binding, so I have a supply of PVA glue. You can also use Elmers, or just a glue stick.
  • Any art supplies that you might be partial to. I tend to use acrylic and watercolor paints a lot in my art journal. You might be more inclined to add glitter. I don’t like glitter in general because it tends to multiply and spread in my house!

What Is An Art Journal?

An art journal is whatever you want it to be. It can be a traditional journal where you incorporate art into your entries. It can also be just a source of information for bigger projects. I have a blend of these in my art journal. One day I might do a page full of patterns for example, with no words. In a week I might go back and paint over part of the pattern and add a memory or thought to the page. For me, personally, an art journal is a living, ever changing book that is full of tiny bits of my inspiration.

Best Art Journal Practices

Starting an art journal (or any journal!) is a tiny commitment that you make to yourself. It is your “you” time. I incorporate art journaling into my Succulent Living plan because it is important to take a little bit of time away from the pressures of work, away from the responsibilities of parenting, and definitely away from housework.

Those things can wait so you can give yourself 10 to 15 minutes to just be. (Obviously, if there is an emergency, take care of it and come back to it later). I think that is the cornerstone of Living Succulently: just being. It’s a little like meditation, a little like taking a deep breath and saying “ahhhhhhh, live is going okay”.

Try to surround yourself with things that you find inspiration in when you are journaling. Turn off the television, shut off the computer, put your phone on “mute” and just unplug with a cup of coffee or your beverage of choice and just be yourself for a few minutes. You won’t believe the difference it makes in your attitude!

Closing Thoughts

Even though I am structuring this in my blog with dates and “deadlines”, honestly, you can start any time. If you are coming into this and there is already a year of challenges, do not feel pressured to start at the beginning! Jump right in wherever we are or, better yet, find a challenge that really speaks to you and start there.

There is no right or wrong, there is only the journey!

One last thing, I’d love to see your work! I get so much inspiration from seeing what others do! So, if what you are journaling isn’t too personal, feel free ALWAYS to share!

Next week starts the first challenge! See you there!




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4 thoughts on “Art Journal Ideas – Where to Start

  1. Hello Misha!
    Great article on art work journals. i have a niece that is great at art and has a passion for it. However she is young and her focus is just not there.
    Do you think this type of journal could help to get her focus on her art? I think she could have a great future with art, if I could just get her to zone in on it.
    Also what would be a great way to get her started? I do plan to show her your article, but any further suggestions would be great!

    1. I think art journals are a great way to help kids focus on creating art! It’s fun and they can make it however they like. A lot of my upcoming art prompts are easy enough for even young artists to follow along with. To get her started, take her shopping for a sketchbook that she really likes. It should be something manageable in size but big enough for her to really be free with whatever she wants to create. If it has a blank cover, all the better! She can have fun decorating it with stickers, inspirational saying, glitter, or whatever else she really likes. Thank you for being such a great support for your niece!

  2. wow! would never have though of an art journal. This could change things for me as i always complain about not getting enough time to sit and draw but using a journal i could make this work. Thanks for the idea think i am going to put this into practice from tomorrow.

    1. Even if you just doodle in the margins of a traditional planner, you can make it unique and all your own! Next week I will have the first prompt and an example page with the theme of “The Road to Happiness”! I hope you’ll check in and show us what you have created!

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