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Art Journaling My Way

All the Basics That You Need to Know to Get Started

© all pictures in the article were taken and edited by me ©

A Small Disclaimer at the Beginning of This:

  • I am no artist, just a hobbyist.
  • This is going to be MY take on art journaling. 
  • This is also my first informational article on this platform. 
  • I am learning. Please be patient. 
  • This article is broken up into sections, if you are looking for a specific thing I suggest using the 'find' tool in your web browser to find it 
  • (use keywords!)
  • Links are embedded in this article!

Thank you for taking the time to view this. Have an awesome day/night!

What is an art journal?

© google / wikipedia

If we are going off the definition given to us above, then an art journal is something that is a daily affair for artists. A collection gathered into a notebook and filled with a multitude of media. It had zero limitation as to what its contents can be. It is primarily meant to be a way to exercise your skills. Expand, hone and refine your skill set(s). While this is true, it is also meant to 'keep you active.. By this, it means to keep to involved and practicing. This is not meant to burn you out in any way, but in fact, it is meant to keep you motivated and inspired. At least, that is what they say.

My Take on Art Journal

The set standard for art journaling is something that I am not opposed to. I do agree with it. I even use elements of it in my own journal. I wouldn't really know what to call my 'version' of art journaling because it is so different and not uniform in any way. But, I am going to try and break it down. I tend to mix elements from three types of journals; Dream journaling, art journaling, and normal diary elements. 

Quickly Defining Things: 
© google / wikipedia

Dream Journaling is a diary where dream experiences are recorded.
A 'normal' diary is where one keeps a daily record of events and experiences. 

I say that I combine all of these journaling types into one because I have included their methods into how I make a composition/spread. It is never a set theme for a whole journal. I tend to make spreads that are one to two pages long. Nothing is normally uniform, but everything tends to correlate in an abstract way. The theme of the spread/composition derives from anything that I want. There is nothing that I limit it to. For example, it can be dreams, that days event, something new that arrived in the mail and was excited to use; essentially anything. 

The whole idea behind creating this journal was to make myself an outlet. I knew that if I had tried to start a 'normal' art journal, I would stress out over it because I would like to make it good. I am not an amazing artist, I can barely draw a heart. I wanted something where I could be creative and express my self while relieving stress. I did a lot of research; I watch a lot of videos on youtube, I read a lot of articles and went through a plethora of pictures. I finally concluded that there wasn't a 'set standard' journal for me. 

So, I made my own. This is my art journal. If there is anything that you should take away from this article is that you don't always have to follow the rules/standards of things. If you can't find something that works for you, create something that will work. Be happy, my friends. 

Some Tools and Tips to Use

So let's start getting into the nitty-gritty! In this section, I want to go over some of my most frequent 'tools' that I tend to use when I journal. I will link everything that I can and also attempt a brief explanation. 

If you have any questions on how I use something or about anything, please refer to this link to submit a question! I will be happy to answer it! 

  1. Fiskars Paper Trimmer, 12 Inch
  2. CanonInk Glossy Photo Paper 8.5" x 11" 100 Sheets 
  3. Online Labels Standard White Matte Sticker Paper
  4. Stickers (stickers from Target $1 spot or homemade)
  5. Pictures (I use a variety of items: printed, magazines, polaroids, etc.)
  6. Target $1 Adhesive Square Label Pockets (get during school season)
  7. Elmer's Double-Sided Scrapbooking Tape (not mine but close)
  8. Tombow MONO Multi Liquid Glue (double-sided and multi-use)
  9. Brown and Off-White Paper (mine is leftover Amazon packaging)
  10. Craft Paper (Large one from HobbyLobby & Tiny one from Target)
  11. White JellyRoll Pen (can be used as whiteout too) 
  12. Pilot Juice Gel Ink Ballpoint Pen, 0.38 mm, 12 Color Set (I love these)
  13. Wax Seal set (I got mine from HobbyLobby) 
  14. Inkpad & Stamps (I got mine from HobbyLobby. My ink is cheap.)
  15. Artline Stix Brush Pens (Highly recommend. Good for calligraphy.)
  16. Zebra Mildliner Double-Sided Highlighter 15 Color Set
  17. Staedtler Triplus Fineliner Pens .3mm (great variety and usage) 
  18. Washi Tape (great variety and usage)
  19. 100 - Flat Glassine Waxed Paper Bags (cute to use with little things)

My Printer

I highly recommend this printer. 
I did a lot of research into what one I should get and I ended up choosing this one. The Canon Office and Business MX922 All-In-One Printer, Wireless and mobile printing. It was recommended as a good printer for not only scholarly items but crafting (stickers, shrink plastic, photo paper, etc.) 

My Journal

This picture is tinted pink. Paper is a cream color. (for reference/better examples see links)

This journal that I've chosen is one that I've come to love. It is Miliko Transparent Hardcover A5 Size Dot Grid Wirebound/Spiral Notebook. Muji also has a version of this notebook online and possibly in stores. I, unfortunately, do not have a Muji near me, thus I resorted to Amazon.

Method to My Madness

Now, we get to the final section of this article. In this part, I want to show examples from my journal and go over some 'tips' that I highly recommend. 

As I said before, there is no real 'set' way that I go about creating my spreads/compositions. And, in case you have no idea what I mean by a 'spread' or 'composition' I will explain. What I am referring to is a set of two pages that I compose. They usually have a similar theme, but sometimes they are completely different. These spreads can be chaotic, chaotic-neutral, or totally neutral (please refer to the pictures below).

My Current 2018 Journal

  1. I would generally recommend starting off with a 'welcome' page. It can be super brief or long, just introduce yourself and/or what this journal is going to be for you. 
  2. The next page my starting point was the calligraphed word 'beautiful'. I didn't have a set vision but I had some amazing artwork (via pinterest/take no credit) that I loved and wanted to implement. Also, my dorkiness was showing as I wanted to express my love for a character. 
  3. My inspiration was the quote "Relax, wild one. It’s not your job to be everything everyone needs, and you don’t have to be impressive to be loved. Stop trying so hard. Just show up and be real with the world. That is enough." by Brooke Hampton. I also had some new super cute deer-girl stickers. 
  4. Yellow. Simple as that. I was in the mood to make something with an aesthetically pleasing look and have a yellow theme. 
  5. This is an example of what I would like to call bad, and you may even agree. That's okay. I was sick and tired this day, I just wanted to do something. This was all I could do. It helped me chill out and honestly that's all that matters. 
  6. Obviously, Pirates of the Carribean © Disney. It was simply a movie night with my best friend and it turned into a movie & crafting night. 
  7. We watch the whole lot of them, so I made a 2nd spread
  8. This is my most recent one. It was based off my love of stars. I love stars, space, planets, and horoscopes. I'm a total dork when it comes to that. I had just got the glassine bags and these super cute confetti stars. This is what came out of that. 


I want to leave you off with this; take pride and happiness in your journal. Don't stress out about what you make or what you mess up. It's meant to be a relaxing and enjoyable pass time. 

If your an artist then expand your horizon and keep working at your skill because that's what the stereotypical art journal is meant for (but also have fun and don't stress out). 

But, if you're just a hobbyist like me then enjoy yourself. Create spreads out of the tiniest of ideas or the biggest. Don't stress out over ideas, your compositions or anything; this is about having fun. Be as messy or be as neat as you want to be.  

I hope y'all end up trying this or simply enjoyed reading the article.
Again, if you have questions please direct them here and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. 

Thank you, once more! I hope you have an amazing day/night. ❤

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