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Art Journals and Art Journaling

Updated on September 13, 2014

Art Journaling Is For Everyone

I have updated this page recently so it has the very latest in Art Journaling including a lot of my own art journal images. I have added many videos of artists journaling, including some of my own videos, I hope you enjoy them. I am hoping these videos will help and inspire you. I have also included my favorite books about Art Journaling. Some of them I own I have added little reviews of them. Others I want to buy soon !

Do you think you are creative enough to make an Art Journal?

It's amazing how many people say they don't have a creative bone in their body. Cracks me up really, as its just not true. Ok maybe the name is scary, so lets call them glue books or sketchbooks, or just journals. Don't show them to anyone until you are more confident, just keep them for yourself. Maybe that will help some people to get started.:-).

The Art Journal page on this introduction was created by me ( Di McDonald) and is copyrighted 2012-2014

"DREAM" Art Journal page by Di MCDonald

"DREAM" Art Journal page by Di MCDonald
"DREAM" Art Journal page by Di MCDonald

Everyone is born creative.

"Create Change" Art JOurnal Page by Di McDonald

"Create Change" Art JOurnal Page by Di McDonald
"Create Change" Art JOurnal Page by Di McDonald
Teesha Moore journal Page
Teesha Moore journal Page | Source

We Are All Born Creative!

The picture is an Art Journal page by me ( Di McDonald)

We create all the time in everyday life. We change a recipe around. We help our kids with their fancy dress costumes ,we work out ways to hide veges in our kids food. We choose our clothes and what will go with what.

These are all ways of being creative. We all have it, its just that some of us practice and get better at it and others don't.

Making an Art Journal is so easy, kids stuff really. If you enjoy cutting or ripping out pictures from a magazine and gluing them into a book. If you can write a sentence or two about how you are feeling, and if you can play with paint and draw abstract squiggles with a crayon or pastel then you can create a visual journal. This lens will give you lots of journal ideas.

First 3 Steps To Make A Visual Journal

Just Take Baby Steps!

1: Most of the time I buy cheap unlined journals with a heavier paper. They also have spirals and black front pages. I leave the covers till last, but there are no rules here and you can do what you like. This article is to give you ideas and get you started on one of the most enjoyable creative pursuits I know:-) If you are more inclined you can make your own journal or buy a handmade one. In the past I have found that I don't do a HUGE amount of writing in each page. I tend to use the pictures to convey to me what I am thinking about at the time and just make a statement of some type with writing or blocks of text.

2: The first thing I do is sit at a desk and colour about 10 pages. If you have the backgrounds already coloured it seems a lot easier to get going. There is something sort of scary about plain white pages. I adore the look that watercolours give, so mostly I use them for the backgrounds of the pages. Sometimes I use acrylic paints.I like to pre scribble on the pages with crayons or oil pastels which acts as a sort of a resist under the paint.

3: I then wet the whole page then swish watercolor paints all over. I tend to stop with two colors, maybe add more water and tip the pages so the paint runs together. I am always in a hurry so the heat gun is a wonderous tool to get the papers dried quickly. I use silicone paper between the pages until everything is really dry.

What Is Your Favorite Book About Visual Journaling?

Which Visual Journal Book Will You Buy First?

See results

Ok this is one I own, In fact I havnt had it that long. This book has very few words, so if you are looking for instructions it may not be for you. However I love it, because it is 320- pages of glossy colorful pictures of peoples journal pages. I like to look through it and see the details and decide what pages I love and get new perspectives on things. I find a lot of inspiration in these sorts of books and I love to see that lots of people journal in their own unique ways. The journal pages are from journals from all over the world and the names of the artists and the countries are next to the pictures.

3 More Steps ( Just Start With Baby Steps) To Visual Journaling

4: It really is up to you what you use and how you decorate the background.If you draw then you will know just how much of the background you want to colour. Some people want to do a lot of writing in the journal, then I would suggest that you colour around the top and edges and leave the inside of the page blank or you may find one of those wonderful pens that write over the top of the paint. I think its lovely to find "your own unique style" so you have your own "look".!

5: Remember to try any watercolour crayons, lumiere paints or twinking H2O paints ( I just bought some of these and am not sure I am much of a fan). Acrylics or oil paints and pastels, chalks, felt tipped pens, coloured pencils, black or coloured sharpies, Gold pens...................try them all out and see what combinations you love the most:-)

6: Once those background pages are done, you can leave the book until you are ready to decorate a page. When I feel in the mood I go to the book and choose a page that "calls to me".

Carla Sonheim
Carla Sonheim

This book by Carla Sonheim is on the top of my wish list. I am not a natural drawer so I need to learn and even though I am 57yrs old I am not giving up yet. I have taught myself to draw faces, but I need to know more and I don't seem very motivated to practise. Now Drawing Carlas way, I think I maybe can do. She has the most fascinating unique way of drawing and I am smitten.Here is a picture, actually a print of hers. She is amazing.

A Page from One of my Art Journals

A Page from One of my Art Journals
A Page from One of my Art Journals

Try This! Start every day with 10 minutes of Journaling. You will find that you have much more focus

Teesha Moore Journaling Collage Pt 1 of 4

Teesha Moore is the queen of art journaling in my opinion. Shes been doing this sort of journaling for years and years even before it became popular. If you want to learn a lot, it would pay you to go to her website which is Teesha and look through it, check out her amazing blog and follow her videos. She still teaches and lives a journaling life. Enjoy these videos.

5 More Baby Steps on How To Make A Visual Journal

7: I don't start at the front page at all..this is about creativity and intuition and learning to feel those. The one thing I ALWAYS do is Date the page. This gives me some feel for the rhythm of my life as I look through the journal later on. I think its very important.

8: Now to the collage part! I love to flick through magazines and just pull out the pages or rip out the pictures that "call to me" at the time. Often I will have no idea why I want them, but do it anyway. I use the "Oprah" magazine quite a lot and I was lucky to buy in a second hand bookstore a book of coloured photos that graphic artists use. Some of these are very weird and they are sometimes just perfect for what I want.

9: Sometimes the picture I choose doesn't convey what I want to say at all but it just "feels right", so I use it anyway. I glue the pictures in the pages and then add the text. One of my favorite ways to do this is to cut out letters from the magazine to make up the words. I try to use different colours for each letter and make sure they are all different sizes. It just adds to the page.

10: The writing that I do in the page usually comes last. If you are a busy mum or you work out of the home, it is a great idea to take your journal with you and during lunch or while waiting to pick up children , or even when travelling, you can get it out and do the writing to finish off the page.

At one time I was very disciplined and worked on my journal every morning as I was eating breakfast. Made me feel really good but I was always left with a big mess to clean up LOL LOL.

11: Sometimes I draw on the page as you can see in the above one with "inspiration" written on the top. I drew some of the face and added bits of faces I got out of a magazine.

Art Journals

Another Page From One Of My Journals

Another Page From One Of My Journals
Another Page From One Of My Journals

The Last Few Instructions on Making Your Own ArtJournals

12: I use clear smelly acetone based craft glue to do the collage with.............sometimes a glue stick will be perfect and not nearly as messy.

13: The last thing I do is add 3 dimensional elements if I feel like it. I make sure I am happy with the page. Working in my visual journal is very satisfying to me and I hope you will at least "give it a go".

I have made a goal to create something in my journal every day and it feels great when I achieve it.

A Beautiful Day Art Journal Page - By Di McDonald

If You Leave me A Nice Comment, I will grant you 3 wishes!!! - Just Kidding LOL, but I would love you comments

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I love the way you use pictures for the faces in your collage journal pages! I never could draw faces and this is a wonderful solution! Thank you!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This is so informative. I only scrolled through because of time but I will pin this site and return to view more. I am new to art journaling /altered books but I am very artistic and know that I will learn a lot from the many sites here. Thanks so much.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I really enjoyed all the information and videos you have shared with us. So much information on one page! I appreciate the time and effort you have to put into this.

    • cdgood profile image


      7 years ago

      How inspiring!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanks for sharing all of this information! I love the videos especially, it's nice to see someone working step by step to explain a technique. I love your pages, they have a very whimsical quality to them that I feel like I'm lacking in my visual journal pages. I would love to share some of your pages on my website it you are ever interested ( I will definitely be back to read more!

    • EbooksFreeWeekl1 profile image


      7 years ago

      What a nice lens with "Pizazz!" Congrats on your purple star! :)

    • caketech profile image


      7 years ago

      SquidAngel blessings to you! Wonderful lens on art journaling! It is something that anyone can do, and it can be great fun!

    • Richardryder profile image

      Risteard O'Marcahain 

      8 years ago from Wales

      I really like this - If you get a chance visit my art lenses and don't forget to pop into my campfire lens and sign in

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      nice tips thanks for sharing

    • WendyArts profile image


      8 years ago

      LOVE your lens! And I love books on Art Journaling. Thanks for sharing.

    • whitneywpanetta1 profile image


      8 years ago

      This is an amazing site! I LOVE the videos and seeing all of the art books! I just started a blog about visual journals and would love, love, love if I could publish a book one day... you have really inspired me to keep working towards that!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great lens! Very adorable ideas.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 

      8 years ago

      Lovely ideas - I have bookmarked this so I can come back to it. As I go through my busy day as a nurse, businesswoman and mom, it is easy to forget my creative parts, but that is what really makes a life a life. Think of Artists Life here. Love this lens - I think I will start art journals for both of my boys for Christmas - they both are artistic and could use the encouragement that I believe in them.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Very nice lens!

    • tcorbs profile image


      8 years ago

      Really original! Love the lens, I've just taken up painting, wish me well!

    • yano jl profile image

      yano jl 

      8 years ago

      I agree... artistic journaling IS for everyone. I carry a moleskine notebook with me everywhere. Sometimes I doodle, sometimes I like to paste images/photos and draw around them. Thank your Di for creating and sharing this lens. 1 SquidLike for you! (and 3 wishes for me)

    • dahlia369 profile image


      8 years ago

      Very inspiring and well done - and blessed! :)

    • Serenity30 profile image


      8 years ago

      Congratulations!! This is a very inspiring lens for me get more focused on starting the art journal I have been meaning to.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      browsing on a few lens before I start work, enjoyed this one, 'thumbs up' for ya!

    • dwnovacek profile image


      8 years ago

      Beautiful and inspiring. I love the video tutorials! Angel Blessed!

    • fionajean profile image


      8 years ago from South Africa

      Great lens - I hadn't heard of art journalling before so I will have to give it a try. Now, for my first wish ...... (I NEVER read the fine print - LOL) Blessed

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I reallyy enjoyed this!! I just might have to try this someday, if I can ever clear a big enough spot off on my craft table. (and darn it, I just a couple of weeks ago threw away some magazines that would have some great colors and shapes in them..darn hubby is just gonna have to get used to all my craft supplies)

    • Chocolatealchemy profile image


      8 years ago from London, United Kingdom

      Fab Lens - it makes me want to get out pen and coloured inks and get doodling! Thank you for all the ideas and inspirations!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Awesome lens.Check out if you will our e-zine:

    • plrsource profile image


      8 years ago

      Excellent lens....

    • jnstewart profile image

      John Norman Stewart 

      8 years ago from Cottonwood, CA

      Nice lens. I will be back.....:)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Congrats on the purple star. Great job.

    • BestRatedStuff profile image


      8 years ago

      Love this lens, choker full of some great ideas. Congrats on the purple star, this lens so deserves it.

    • delia-delia profile image


      8 years ago

      Very nice and interesting lens...I love art journals and have many books starting 30 years ago.

    • bhavesh lm profile image

      bhavesh lm 

      8 years ago

      "We are all born creative!" Love the quote and love your lens. Sharing with my daughters and will use the ideas in workshops I do on dream-boarding.

    • AubreyC LM profile image

      AubreyC LM 

      8 years ago

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Greatly impressed & pleased with ur creative work on Art Journaling..super information .. i generate "Eco Friendly Organic Art (Collages)" from ingredients of our Mother Earth on Canvas of Bark of palm tree.No colors/artificial materials. Things that discarded by nature to perish in time is my starting point to convert in to art which remains for longer Thus these Collages be called "IMMORTALS" Further.. in my words...these are:- Novel,Innovative,Creative. & Inspiring to every one.How i 'm useful to ur wonderful lens on creativity please let me know...Awaiting ur response..Regards ..Basant

    • Close2Art LM profile image

      Close2Art LM 

      8 years ago

      Great lens, I'm an artist myself and this is very cool...:)RWJR

    • John Dyhouse profile image

      John Dyhouse 

      8 years ago from UK

      well my first............... oh! Alright then, what a fantastic lens. I do so mean to start journaling but time seems to be the enemy. So many other things to do. However I am inspired all over again by this lens and the information contained here. Will be bookmarking to come back often.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I liked this..

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I LOVE your art journal pages! Art journaling is one of my favorite activities and I completely agree that one morning page in your journal can set the tone for a great day! Congratulations on your work and on your lens, I very much enjoyed it!

    • profile image

      Dianne Loomos 

      8 years ago

      I love this idea! These art journals are beautiful!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      You've inspired me - thanks for that!

    • zblessedlife lm profile image

      zblessedlife lm 

      8 years ago

      creative I like it a lot!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I love it! Videos were fun.

    • ellagis profile image


      8 years ago

      Wow, what an inspiring lens!! Its been really a pleasure to read it!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Love your journals. Blessed by an art journaling Squid angel :-)

    • stephenteacher profile image

      Stephen Carr 

      8 years ago from Corona, CA

      Very creative idea! Nice lens.

    • Ilonagarden profile image

      Ilona E 

      8 years ago from Ohio

      rich and compelling- I loved your lens.

    • Calliope LM profile image

      Calliope LM 

      8 years ago

      This is a lovely and inspiring lens. I've just started art journalling myself and was delighted to find this.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      great lens..i certainly need help in this area and this was a great lesson and intro for me..Thanks..!Ive shared it all over the net..!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      A very nice presentation on art journals and journaling that you have created!

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image


      8 years ago

      Ni9ce lens

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      These are amazing, it reminds me of the English Patient and his journal, only cooler.

    • MelissaInTheSky profile image


      9 years ago

      Great lens! Love all the visuals! I will visit this one again. :)

    • CrossCreations profile image

      Carolan Ross 

      9 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      This is one of the most creatively formatted lenses I've seen about art and visual journals. Beautifully done! Blessed by a Squid Angel.

    • John Dyhouse profile image

      John Dyhouse 

      9 years ago from UK

      lovely designs, I am well into collaging ATC/ACEO and hand-made books/altered books but the thought of keeping a journal really freezes the old creative juices. I keep saying I will try it but I keep playing chicken. The small steps that you put forward could well be the way for me to try it out. thanks for the lens and the information.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I love this lens, I totally agree with you - I am also a very visual person and find that expressing myself artistically always works best in get across my emotions and feelings. I love all the images, the colours, the fun and emotion on this lens - the videos are amazing too. Thanks so much for sharing - I have always loved making my own art journals, we used to do similar things at school, I will have to get into it again. I have kind of started an art journal as a squidoo lens if you would like to check it out? a lovely day and keep being creative! :)

    • Barb McCoy profile image

      Barb McCoy 

      9 years ago

      Loving this lens! So many great ideas to get started. Thanks for organizing and inspiring.Favoriting and Blessing.***Blessed by an Angel***

    • Joy Neasley profile image

      Joy Neasley 

      9 years ago from Nashville, TN

      This is going to sound funny, but I realized that during a conference, my notes included drawings. One of the other's told me to stop drawing and pay attention. They were a bit frustrated with me when I said this is visual notetaking :-). From the frown on their face I saw that they were not impressed. I told her that my drawing was my notes and that she needed to pay attention to her own notetaking and not mine.

    • lovelylashes profile image


      9 years ago

      Cool. I'm lensrolling to my 10 Ways to Keep a Great Diary lens.

    • CafeLove profile image


      9 years ago

      Great lens! Love it.

    • teamlane profile image


      11 years ago

      Wonderful lens DiMcDonald. Well thought and put together.Blessed, 5-starred, and favorited by a Squid Angel today! :)Colleen ~

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      So interesting..very creative I'm so impressed..5 lovely stars for you Dim..=)Really great work you got here..

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      I love doing this during high school on my notebooks. Really fun and cool!

    • junecampbell profile image

      June Campbell 

      11 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      I completely agree that everyone is born creative. We can stifle our creativity by negative thinking and harsh criticism of our own work, however. To be creative means to allow yourself to make mistakes and perhaps to discover that the mistakes are the best ideas of all.

    • JackieLee LM profile image

      JackieLee LM 

      11 years ago

      WOW this is an amazing lens. It made me want to get started!! Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Very impressive lens. I am not in the market for a new paper journal, but your leather bound ones almost make me buy 'just because'

    • CrypticFragment1 profile image

      Tammy Winand 

      12 years ago from McleodGanj HP India

      Hi from a fellow mixed media artist! I rated you 4 stars and lensrolled you to my mixed media lenses. Please return the favor!

    • unstucktheory profile image


      12 years ago

      Wow! Great lens with heaps of useful tips. I especially love the idea of doing the background pages first to take away the fear of the blank page - will be trying this out in my journal tonight :-)


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