Journaling is a personal decision. Some people prefer to keep a daily journal, while others like gratitude or goal-setting journals. However, if you are turning to journaling as an outlet for your creativity, you may enjoy starting and maintaining an art journal. Here are some tips on how to get started with your first one!
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Art journals are a great way to express creativity, relieve stress, and process emotions through art. They are very open-ended and can be anything you want them to be. You don’t have to be an “artist” to have one. You can find inspiration in photos, objects, or paintings. You can use art to express your emotions through colours, shading, or symbols. You can create a collage from magazines, photographs, or postcards. You can experiment with mixed media by adding clays, paints, or fabrics. The possibilities are endless!
Here are some tips on how to get started with your first art journal.
Use a Sketchbook
The most important thing to remember is that this isn't like a regular journal. You are using mostly art supplies for your pages, which means you need paper that can withstand chalk, acrylic paint, watercolours and more. Find a sketchbook where multi-media arts will work best - watercolour takes up lots of space in particular, so get a watercolour sketchbook if you're using mainly watercolour paints.
Alternatively, you can also use a regular sketchbook and just make sure you're using thick paper. The best paper for an art journal is usually between 120g and 200g paper thickness. This is important because the thinner paper will cause your markers and pens ink to bleed through the pages. You don’t want that happening because it messes up the next page! You can also find sketchbooks with various types of paper. It all depends on what you like to create with the most.
Create with Multi-Media
Art journals are an open canvas for your creativity. For many people, it becomes about the process of experimenting with different media and learning new things. What does this mean? You may use ink or watercolour in one journal entry; and then switch to acrylics or even gouache on another page!
Experimenting with different types of paints or inks allows you to create a variety of different textures and styles in your artwork. Switching between different materials can also benefit your creativity and mental health because they allow you to change your routine and explore new things.
Paint or Color Your Letters
When adding letters to the pages, consider using paint or coloured pencils for them instead of just writing in pen. It makes it so much fun and channels your inner creativity! Find different ways to write out your word, design them, and add colour or patterns to block letters- there is a lot more you can do with this technique.
You can also paint around the letters if you are trying to go for a more artistic look. You can also draw pictures around the letter, such as hearts around an 'A' or some flowers around an 'R'. To make your entries look more creative, you can practice first and find inspiration on social media sites like Instagram to help you with your drawing skills.
Include Printed Photographs in your art journals
While many art journals use pictures or photographs you create yourself by drawing or painting them, some people also print pictures off the internet that captures their mood and design.
This is a great way for beginners to start an art journal, especially if they aren’t comfortable drawing or painting. Just find a picture that inspires you and start writing about what you see. You can add drawings or other artwork around the picture to personalise your art journal even more.
Be in a Mindful Headspace
Art journaling is a therapeutic process. Before you start, try to be mindful of what's happening in your life and how that may impact the art journal pages. Art journals are an excellent way to express yourself visually so by being aware before creation; you can explore these feelings/thoughts on paper.
As with any art form, there are no rules. Art journaling is an art form in itself. It doesn't have to look like anyone else's art journal pages. Be yourself, be creative, and let your ideas flow. Remember that it's your journal and you can do whatever you want with it!