A blank page can be intimidating. Hundreds of blank pages bound lovingly into a journal can be even more so!
This weekend I’m presenting 30-minute workshops on how to get started with Art Journaling. It’ll be a crash course, without much hands-on time, so I’ll mostly be sharing resources and tools. Here are some:
Tools to get started:
- Journal or paper (I personally love when the pages ripple and warp with paint, but not everyone does. The heavier the paper weight, the less it’ll ripple.) Canson makes a great sketchbook, perfect for art journaling. My ABSOLUTE FAVORITE are the Refillable Leather Journal Refillable Travelers Notebooks. They have refillable inserts, look beautiful, and are easy to carry with you at all times. They are a bit smaller in page size, which might be a great start if you do find a blank page intimidating. My other favorite is a daily/weekly/monthly desk calendar. I use the “Our Country Diary” every year, or the Barnes & Noble Desk Diary. The paper weight is a bit thin, though, so if you really want to do a lot of gluing and painting, it might not be the best fit.
- A travel set of Watercolor Paints.
- Watercolor Brush Pens. These are great, because you don’t have to worry about traveling with a cup for water.
- Washi Tape! Lots and lots of washi tape. (Careful, this stuff is addicting)
- Glue Sticks and a variety of writing utensils. Colored pencils, regular pencils, Micron pens, crayons, etc. Whatever you have lying around is completely fine.
- Scraps of “ephemera.” This can be pre-purchased, or collected over time. I like a mix of both. Vintage stamps, wrapping paper, chocolate wrappers, playing cards, notes from high school your mom gave back to you when you last visited her, your kiddos’ drawings, etc. etc. Everything is valuable! If you have a hoarding problem, this is a great hobby…or really bad for you…
- A pouch to hold it all together. I LOVE these Blue Q Bags Jumbo pouches made of recycled plastic bags.
I always suggest you start with writing yourself a letter. This journal is as private as you want it to be, so you can tape in an envelope and stick the letter inside, or write directly on the page. Pretend you are writing to yourself as a secret admirer. What makes you special? What are you good at? Why do you like you so much to send yourself a letter? Focus on your amazing and wonderful traits. It’ll help you set the tone for gratitude and exploration.
In my own personal journals, I write down fragments of my dreams every day. I also use it as a place to collect ideas for bigger projects, through collage. I insert pages to practice illustration, make monthly mood boards, and record every book I’ve read. Each morning I spend anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour with it. Some examples below.
Are you still stuck? You’re in luck! I’ve started adding digital prompts on my Etsy shop, so that you have a few tucked away for those intimidating days. Each prompt gives you a starting point and theme, to get you thinking. Then an activity, with a follow-up exercise. Then I list a few extra sources of inspiration, like a song to listen to, or a book to read. You can find them HERE on my Etsy shop.
And if you’re like me, you might want to flip through other people’s journals for inspiration and ideas. Here are some of my pages:
One week, every day I drew a skyline of a city that was important to me, and then on the corresponding page wrote about that city.
Great Buddha Study. Watercolor & micron pen on paper. 2.5″ x 7″
Each month I insert a piece of watercolor paper and draw out 4 playing-card sized rectangles. Each week I then do a miniature illustration to practice realism and watercolor, both of which I lack in skill and patience.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE sending and receiving mail. Anytime I get a postcard or letter in the mail, in it goes to the journal. It’s a great way to keep those floating pieces of paper and still have easy access to them.
After a particularly wonderful tarot reading, I created a collage-inspired interpretation and wrote the highlights of what I was supposed to remember.
I hope these are some great starting points for you! Remember, if you start embarking on this wonderful journey of art journaling, I would LOVE to see some of the work you are comfortable with sharing. I have a private Facebook group set up, or you can tag any photo #wooyourcreativity on Instagram.
Thanks for stopping by! Feel free to comment or message me, too.