How to Start an Art Journal

How to Start an Art Journal

Inspired eCourse (available here) is an art journal/jewelry making class.  Since many of you make jewelry and may not be as familiar with art journals, I wanted to give a little introduction to art journaling.

What is an art journal?

If you spend any amount of time on Pinterest, you could be overwhelmed by all the beautiful art journal pages you find there. In fact, it may stop you from even starting because you think there’s no way that you can make something that beautiful.

But that’s not really what art journaling is about.

Well…it can be.  And I’m not going to stop you from making gorgeous pages, obviously.

But for me art journaling is more about experimentation. It’s about trying out things. Trying out things in different ways. Making a mess and finding one thing to love about it and then trying that one thing in a different way.

It’s about recording my observations and inspirations.

It’s about expressing myself, my creativity and my feelings.

You can share your art journal or you can keep it completely private.  You’ll find me sharing my art journal pages here on this blog, but I don’t share every page.

What do you need to get started?

Journal or Paper

You can use any kind.  I have used all kinds of art journals and I actually have several going at one time.  (Don’t feel like you need to, though.)

You can start with just a piece of paper.  You make a bunch of pages on loose paper and then bind them together.  Sometimes it’s easier to start with just a piece of paper because you don’t have that block you get from using a new journal.

You can make your own journal.

Basically anything will do, but you need to consider the kinds of things you’ll be doing in your journal and the thickness of the paper.  If you’re going to be doing a lot of wet things in your art journal, find the thickest paper you can.

(Hint:  When I get a new journal I often don’t want to use it right away because I’m afraid of “ruining” it or I don’t know what to put on the first page.  So instead of worrying about that first page, I simply skip the first page and start on the next page.  You can go back to the first page later after you have other pages done and feel more confident.  Often I don’t ever even go back and use the first page.)


You’ll need a pen to use in your art journal.  I most often use an ultra fine point sharpie most often.  I buy them in bulk and keep them on hand all the time.

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Okay, so seriously at this point you’re ready to art journal.  You can do so much with just those two things.  You can draw, doodle, and write.  But if you want to do more with your art journal, read on . . .

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How to Start an Art Journal

Artsy Supplies

Paint (acrylic or watercolor), markers, color pencils, crayons, etc.

If you’re new to this, I highly recommend trying out one of the artsy supplies and not overwhelming yourself right away with every possible supply.  If I had to choose only one for my art journal, I would choose watercolors. It’s also a lot of fun to play with crayons or color pencils.

(Hint:  See this tip for finding out what colors you like to use!)

How to Start an Art Journal


I love adding little bits of a paper to my art journal pages.  Most often, this is stuff I’ve picked up through the day like receipts or wrappers from products.  I also like to use old magazines, junk mail, stamps, scraps of scrapbooking paper, old sheet music and anything else I find.

(Hint:  You can often find old magazines at the library for free!)


To cut up the ephemera!

How to Start an Art Journal


Don’t get too hung up with this.  A simple glue stick is a great place to start.  I use tape runners most often (you can find them with the scrapbook supplies in craft stores or really any place that sells office supplies.)

I also use Mod Podge, matte medium or a wet scrapbooking glue.

What to art journal about?

You can find examples my art journal pages here to help you get started. (I often give prompts with the pages.)

And, of course, I have to mention my Inspired eCourse that has art journal prompts and creativity boosters.

Just experiment and play in your art journal and see what happens.

Inspired eCourse

Love art journaling and jewelry making or want to explore them more?

Inspired eCourse gives you creativity activities and art journal prompts then I show you how to take the inspiration out of your art journal pages to design your own beautiful jewelry.

Learn more about Inspired eCourse here.

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