What Is an Art Journal?

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.

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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.

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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:

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So let’s get you started! I’ve got a ton of tutorials and materials to share with you, and you can also scroll to the bottom of the page to join my free art journaling and creativity class: The Guide to Creative Self-Care.

Art Journaling Tutorials:

Art Journaling Videos and Supplies

Join my free art journaling class: The Creative Self-Care E-Course