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How To Make An Art Journal

Updated on December 30, 2010

What Are Art Journals?

Art Journals are just like regular journals, in them you put down your thoughts. In an art journal you express those thoughts and feeling in pictures, drawings and designs rather then words.

I found that I loved art journaling more then regular journaling, because I am much more into art and pictures then words. I express myself better in my art then in writing, I also know a lot of people who are like this.

Pictures and designs are often a lot more expressive for certain people.

Art Journals are full of clip outs, photos, designs, some words, collages and anything you want to put in them. I find art journaling to be the most expressive type of journaling, at least for me!

Materials You Will Need

Gather these materials to start art journaling.

First off you will need some materials to start art journaling. You will need a blank book of some kind, I prefer to use unlined journals but lined notebook will work just as well as anything else! Journals are easy to find anywhere including online and note books can be found at practically any store.

You will need scissors, make sure they easily cut paper and are comfortable to use. You will also need some tape or glue. If you are using glue then either a glue stick of liquid glue will work. If you are using tape I would recommend clear scotch tape, scotch tape is a good brand that is quality, other tapes do not stick nearly as well.

You will also need a pen, maybe markers, a writing tool of some sort. If you prefer to work with crayons get those, if you like markers do the same, pens, pencils, all the same. You will also need some magazines, with pictures you enjoy.

Do not get magazines that you will not cut apart.

You will also need an open, clean place to work. An empty table top or clean space on the floor will do just fine.

Once you have gathered your material you may move on to the next step.

Unlined Journals

Finding an actual unlined journal in a regular store can be tricky, if you are lucky enough to have an art store in your area you can probably find one there, if not you can easily but one online at Amazon. Here are some designs like...

Picking Pictures

Finding the right pictures for you art journal..

You have you stack of magazines, yes?

You may be looking at them and get over whelmed, what picture do you pick out, what do you use?

First off take a deep breath, especially if what I just said started to make your breathing faster. Now I can't tell you what to pull out more then saying pull out what looks good, remember to check both sides of the page. Some times there's something on both sides of the page I want, but the problem is if I cut one of them out I would cut through the other. Sometimes you just have to decide which one you like better, or if you have a copier you can copy one of the sides and then have one of each of the pictures.

Choose the pictures that fit your mood, or what you want to express/create. Cut these pictures out, you can make clean cuts or wavy cuts, remember they don't all have to be straight lines. Now if you found a perfect picture except it has a cat, and you don't want to have the cat, you will be much happier if you just cut out the cat, put something over the cat so you don't see it. :)

You may also cut out words or letters from the magazines to use later, your pages may need a phrase or you may want to just say something, yes you can use a pen but sometime collaging letters and words can be fun too!

Now that you have chosen and cut out you pictures you may continue to the next step.

To Start Art Journaling

Where to start...

Now you need to choose your page, you do not have to start non the first page in the journal, you can choose a page n the middle! I like to close my eyes and open the journal to where it feels right and start my new page there. If you want to know the order you did the pages in you still don't have to start front to back, just date your pages just like in a normal journal.

Pick a page, now that you have your page you can start. Many people will like to color their page before the start adding pictures. Some people color with paint, crayons, markers, or pencils. If you color your pages with paint you will need to wait until your page is completely dry before moving on, and consider leaving a blank space, white space on the page for the little bit of writing you may want to end up doing.

After the before steps you can continue to lay out your pictures.

Note: Do not glue or tape any of he pictures down yet!

For now just arrange the pictures, find out exactly where you want them to to go,

add your phrases you are making with words or letter you cut out earlier.

The point to laying things out first is to make sure you like the end result, as well as seeing if anything else needs trimming before you glue or tape it to your page.

Once you have everything laid out just right, things are trimmed to fit perfectly then you may proceed!

Making The Page

NOW you may pull out your glue sticks...

Now that you have decided how you would like everything, and it's trimmed and laid out you may start to actually stick the picture to the page.

Tip: If you are using tape, make sure you tape all fours corners of your picture clip to keep corners from curling.

Start to tape or glue your pictures to the page , yes you may overlap the pictures if you want to. It's your art journal the rules are really up to you.

Once you have finished gluing or taping the pictures to your journal you may continue to the next step!

Art Journaling Markers

You can use any kind of markers, pens, pencils, crayons, paints of anything for your art journal.. but if you don't happen to have a lot of colorful choices for marker lying around I would suggest you pck some up, they aren't that expensive and they are more fun then just using black.

Designs Within The Journal

Doodling time!

Now that you have finished with your pictures you can move on to design!

Design is my favorite, often I will do entire pages of design with not many pictures at all!

Design is done with your writing tools, markers or pencils, pens, glitter what ever!

You can add little designs to your page, little swirls lines etc.. it's basically just like doodling. Your doodling designs that are relevant to your emotions for this page.

Here is a little about doodling: Doodling 101.

Adding glitter, designs, etc really can liven up a journal page!

Finishing Up The Final Touches

Just... about... DONE!! :)

Now that you have done everything else you can just add the final touches. What are the final touches? Only you know, they could be final designs, pictures, colors and adding the dating of the page!

About dating the page, you can use several different date formats here are some examples:

Saturday, February 21, 2009


February 21, 09



Got it?

Now that you have finished up all the small little things and dated the page you can add your signature, or pen name, initial, etc.

And Walla! You're done!

YouTube Videos On Art Journaling!

Watch through a video or two learn some new techniques, gets some news ideas and let the creativity begin when you start working on your own art journal!

Why Art Journaling For 10 Minutes A Day Can Be So Good...

Art Journaling can often be a very therapudic activity, very relaxing.

Art journaling also can help with concentration... because it gets out some of those wondering thoughts allowing you easier concentration!

Keep Going

Practice, Practice, Practice!

Making art journal pages when you first start may be slightly time consuming or hard, you may need reference several times during the process. That's ok. It will get easier, you will get better. Just as everything else in life it takes practice, and consistency.

You will also notice as time goes by your art journal pages will get better, cleaner, they will start to show more of you, become more personal.

Still need a little more help, want something to keep handy on your bookshelf? I recommend checking out Doodle Diary: Art Journaling for Girls because it might be just what you need to really get going!

Have You Made An Art Journal?

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Your Turn - Share Your Thoughts!

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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I have found that sketch books are fantastic for art journaling! The paper is heavier and holds any glued cutouts without the wavy look it can have when wet. It gives a great canvas for painting and markers without bleeding through the pages. And it feels like a journal to me. They come in all different sizes and are very inexpensive for a basic style. I buy mine at Hobby Lobby, but you can get them at most any art store and Walmart as well...great idea for artistic expression!

    • junecampbell profile image

      June Campbell 

      6 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      I am just getting into art journals. I am inspired by your lovely lens.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      @LoveGirl202: :)

    • avigarret profile image


      7 years ago

      Wow what a beautiful idea, if my journal was like this I probably would have taken better care of it, thanks for sharing :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      wow! this is really great. I have had a journal before, but not really quite like this. thanks!

    • dwnovacek profile image


      8 years ago

      Great tips! I'm just starting to art journal and this lens was very helpful. Thanks!

    • Calliope LM profile image

      Calliope LM 

      8 years ago

      Excellent lens on how to start and keep going! :-)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      @LoveGirl202: haha I've made one and u should try. So cool for keeping thoughts. Such a fun project! :) I didn't buy a book i made one but ill but buy a big book next time. LOVE THIS PROJECT;)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      So tryin this it looks awesome!!!!! So good way of putting ur thoughts on paper! I love expressing myself in art and it's a good way for a nine year old like me.

      THANKS! :)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      i love art and im looking forward to making an art journal

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Thank you so much! I think art journal is a great idea for my next project. Keep doing your nice work.

    • Kit-Kitty profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      Thank you!! :)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Lovely page. Lensrolled to 'Create a Journal Page' and blessed by a Squid angel :-)

    • Sue Dyson profile image

      Sue Dyson 

      9 years ago

      Great lens! I am new to art journaling and feel so much better when I sit down and invest a few minutes to creating a page. I end up staying there much longer! Love it!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Thanks for joining G Rated Lense Factory!

    • Kit-Kitty profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago

      Go ahead and give it a try, I enjoy it! Thanks! [in reply to Midnight_Alchemist]

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      That sounds really cool! I've never heard of that, but I've got tons of blank books, so I'll have to try that! Great lens. ^_^


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