February 21, 2024

Unleash Your Creativity with Art Journals

Art Journals and Creative Healing

Like a personal diary, an art journal can be used to express emotions and creativity without judgment. It can also be used to test art materials, make doodles and patterns, document current fav colors or practice layering techniques.

To get started with your own art journal, you’ll need a few basic supplies. Look for something that can withstand wet mediums and glue.

Getting Started

An art journal is the perfect place to play with a wide variety of art mediums and techniques. It’s also a great way to document your current favorite color palette, practice layering techniques, or test how watercolors and acrylic paints work together.

The best part about creating art in your journal is that it is open-ended and completely personal. It’s your artistic therapy and you can do whatever you want to in it! This includes everything from making scribbles, practicing drawing faces, illustrating landscapes, painting a scene of nature, or even constructing collages.

To get started, grab a journal and some of your favorite art supplies. If you’re not sure where to start, try a warm up exercise: draw a squiggly pattern with each hand, then overlap and intersect the lines to create an abstract design or find shapes within the squiggles. Then, add in a few color splashes or patterns with your pencils or markers.

Basic Supplies

One of the best things about an art journal is that it can be made from almost anything. You can use an old book that you’ve already started or find a cheap used one at a thrift store. The book needs to be sturdy enough for all that you’ll put in it, though.

You’ll need paints for your pages — whether watercolors for soft, delicate washes or acrylics for bold colors and textures. It’s important to have some kind of sealant for your pages, too. This will keep water soluble media from seeping through the page and onto the next when you flip over your journal.

You’ll also need pencils and pens, including a set of colored pencils for drawing and watercolor pencils for adding color to your pages. White ink pens and markers are also popular for creating text and simple lines. Carved stamps are also a fun way to add patterned backgrounds, focal points and repetition.

Supplies for Mixed Media

Unlike a journal where your words are the only thing you write in, mixed media art journals take full advantage of the variety of textures, opacity and saturation that different types of paints and supplies offer. They can include drawings made with markers or fine tip pens, water color paintings that fill entire pages and even collages of paper, glitter, washi tape and calligraphy hand-carved stamps.

A good quality sketchbook (like the Strathmore multi-media ones) is a great start. It lays flat so it’s easy to work in and is a sturdy hard cover, which makes it less likely to tear or wrinkle.

Artist crayons are fun to use and come in a wide range of colors. Try Caran d’Ache Neocolor II crayons, Dina Wakley Media Scribble sticks or Tim Holtz Distress crayons.

A palette knife is a versatile tool for spreading acrylic paint in your journal. It also helps you create interesting textures and allows you to mix and match colors without having to reach for your brushes.

Supplies for Collage

While collage may seem simple, there are many nuances to this art form that you can discover as you begin to work with it. I recommend starting with just a few supplies, like satin gel medium (it can be used as glue, mixed with acrylic paints for extended color, and as a finish to seal the pages of your journal).

Some people also prefer to use gesso or modeling clay to add texture to their journals. Other supplies to consider are a variety of papers (the sky’s the limit here – ripped or torn paper from magazines, postcards, and old books are common, as are cut out pieces of wood or metal), a few different size scissors, and some kind of paint markers.

I recommend getting a set of acrylic paint markers. They are much easier to use than regular markers and dry with a nice sheen. They will also not smear when wet media like paints and gesso are applied over them.

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