Art journaling is an incredibly relaxing and fun activity that I recently started doing. You can use it as a place to try different techniques (line drawings, painting, sketching, putting together collages, stamping, etc.). You can use it to try different mediums such as oil paint, acrylic, watercolor, pencils, colored pencils, pens, etc. You can also use it as a visual journal of your day, your week, your vacations, etc. It is a place for you to create art without judgement and you can give yourself permission to create whatever you want without feeling like you are going to “mess something up.” Making mistakes is a common fear of beginners and often hinders people from trying different techniques and mediums.
I started my art journal last month after watching a few skillshare videos for inspiration. If you don’t have skillshare, check out my affiliate link here to get 2 months free! Below is a list of a few skillshare videos that I recommend you check out if you are looking to keep an art journal:
1. Sketchbook Illustration for All: Draw Your Day with Watercolor & Pen by Samantha Dion Baker
2. Draw Your Life: Intro to Illustrated Journaling by Mimi Chao
3. Mark Your Memories: Make an Illustrated Milestone Map | A Creative Exercise for Any Level by Mimi Chao
4. Doodle Magic | Basic & Advanced Techniques by Yasmina Creates
5. Urban Sketching for Beginners by Julia Henze
6. Urban Sketching for Beginners: One - Point Perspective by Julia Henze
7. Urban Sketching for Beginners: Two - Point Perspective by Julia Henze
8. Urban Sketching: Let's Draw Some Doors! by Julia Henze
9. Learn to Draw: Daily Practices to Improve Your Drawing Skills by Gabrielle Brickey
After watching most of the videos above, I was definitely motivated to keep a journal so I can try different techniques. I decided to keep a weekly journal. A weekly journal gives me an automatic idea of prompts for journaling and also makes me set time out weekly to create art. I keep a journal from Sunday to Saturday each week. Throughout the week I mentally keep note of any moment I want to remember. Usually Saturday nights I make a pencil sketch of the main things I want to put in my journal. I don’t write or draw everything that happened in a week. I only focus on the major things that happened that week that make me happy. I also try to pick a few things that I am going to figure out how to draw because improving my drawing skills is a major reason why I art journal. Sometimes its simple flowers or drawing a train or plane to signify a trip I took.
Before I walk you through my art journal for last week, let’s talk about supplies. I primarily plan to use watercolor, pencils, colored pencils, and pens (fineliners, gel pens, etc.) for my art journal so I chose a mixed media spiral pad that was on sale at Blick Art Supplies. You can use anything you like such as a small notebook, watercolor sketchpad, drawing pad, etc. Just make sure it is suitable for the medium you plan to use. Mixed media is a good choice as it can handle a variety of different mediums. Second, you need a pencil to draw and an eraser. Those are the minimum supplies to get started. I suggest you start with that and add supplies as you build your habit. Or you can challenge yourself to use whatever art supplies you have currently and not buy anything new. Since art journaling is so personal, anything goes!
Let’s take the week of July 21-27 as an example. First, I won a contest by Emma Witte of the Watercolor factory to win half pans of all of the watercolors in her collection and it came with a “golden ticket.” I loved the look of the ticket so I decided to glue it my journal and then draw the watercolor palette I won. Then I decided to draw the logo of the Thai food place I went to on Friday with friends because I think it is really beautiful. Finally, I challenged myself this week to draw snow crab legs and corn on the cob which is what I had for dinner with friends on Saturday. Below is my first pencil sketch, it’s a bit hard to see everything because I sketch very lightly since I plan to use watercolor.
After I made the sketch I decide how I want to proceed. Since I won the watercolor set this week and I really wanted to try it, I decided to watercolor this week’s journal using only the colors I won. Below is a photo of the completed journal. As you can see, after I colored it in, I added text around the various illustration about moments I wanted to remember.
Below is an example of the previous week which is far more text heavy and has less color. I also used the ticket from the play I see as an interest piece in the journal. Art journaling is a great way to keep trinkets like tickets that you want to keep.
The example I walked you through is just one of the many ways you can art journal. The important thing is to just try it. Try different themes, different mediums, different illustration techniques, and collaging to create an open and inviting space for yourself to grow and explore as an artist. I can’t wait to see what you create!