An art journal is the same as a written journal, except that it incorporates colors, images, patterns, and other materials. Some art journals have a lot of writing, while others are purely filled with images. It’s a form of creative self-care.
What Kind of Art Goes in an Art Journal?
The beauty of an art journal is that anything goes. It’s a no holds barred space where I can express and explore my feelings through images, writing, and just playful mark making. It’s a healthy, expressive outlet at the end of the day and one of my best coping skills.
Regardless of whether or not you have any art “talent” or training, all you need to art journal is some simple art materials and a willingness to play with the art materials. It’s the play that’s healing!
This is what I love about art journaling. My pages frequently go through several stages and layers. Often I will just spill out my feelings on the page in writing, or “scribble” a bit with a paintbrush. I don’t worry at all what it looks like, I just allow myself to “let it all hang out” and that feels good. It often helps me de-stress, get things off my chest, or figure out exactly what is bothering me about a particular situation.
The next stage (which might happen that day, or a different day) I would layer over the page with a stamp pattern, finger paint, gel pen scribbles, gesso, or collage. I love watching my confused, stressed out, annoyed, worried page turn into something new – and often – something imperfectly beautiful. It’s a great metaphor for life – being willing to stay with my feelings, try some healthy ways of airing them out and understanding them, and watching them transform.
Here’s some samples of the types of art you might make in an art journal:
Art Journaling Techniques You Might Enjoy:
- Making collages from pictures in magazines
- Painting with watercolors or acrylic paints
- Creating lists – i.e. wish lists, coping strategies, self-care ideas
- Quotes – making art out of your favorite quote
- Sketching what you see everyday – trees, people, food, etc.
- Sewing fabric, paper, or beads onto journal pages
- Printing and stamping – you can even make your own!
- Bookbinding and making your own journals by hand
- Cutting windows and doors into your journal pages
- Writing out your feelings (and then covering it with paint if you wish!)
- Focusing on a theme: such as gratitude, mindful drawing, or the things you love
More Resources for Art Journaling
- You can find lots more tutorials on my YouTube Channel or my Art Tutorials Page
- You can find my favorite art journaling supplies here to help you get started.
- Follow me on Instagram to see what I’m creating daily.
- Follow me on Pinterest to see the inspiration I’m gathering from the web.
Grab my free e-course: The Free Guide to Creative Self-Care
In this e-course, you will:
- Assess your current self-care habits – YES! I promise you already have some. 🙂
- Overcome self-defeating thoughts about self-care.
- Doodle to de-stress at the end of the day.
- Make an art space in your home, even if you think you have no space.
- De-stress and find joy in expressive art making.
If you’d like some more guidance about how to start an art journal or how to use your art for personal growth and insight, you might like: