V is for Variety in your Visual Journals

handmade junk journal

From handmade visual journals to pre-bought sketchbooks, junk journals and gorgeous bound journals, variety is the spice in my creative life. As we work our way from Z to A with what I love about visual journaling, we land on V.

V is for Variety of course! I use my visual journals as a way to play, explore and discover myself and my unique form of creative expression. You can see all the posts so far in this series here.

In the image above is an visual journal spread from a handmade visual journal I made this year. And in the image below are two brands of visual journals I love.

strathmore mixed media journal

Working on a variety of paper types & sizes

When it comes to visual journaling, I love working on a variety of different paper types. My absolute favorite is the Strathmore 500 series of mixed media journals and papers. It takes all different types of media and I love working with thick layers so need a paper that can hold up to the paint, water and layers of collage.

Visual Journaling is all about variety in the supplies!

The other thing I adore about visual journaling is that anything goes in an visual journal when it comes to supplies. You can use your visual journal to try out new supplies and find out what it is you love.

Here is a pretty page of collage in a handmade book that my daughter made last summer. We have both become junk journaling addicts and adore creating our own books to make art in. The images came from old books purchased at used book stores for the purpose of cutting up to use in art.

I know, it sounds sacrilegious to cut up books to some people, but I consider it a way to recycle up cycle them. So many old books are going into landfill these days as bookstores and libraries don’t have room for them. We put them to good use!

junk journal collage

Variety also includes adding a variety of paints, gel pens, Posca Paint pens, tags, envelopes, washi tape… the list of supplies is endless as is our creative imagination.

For me the hardest part about visual journaling was to learn the steps to creating rich layered images that weren’t muddy or messy but felt whole and coherent when finished. Part of this was learning how to use the different supplies and discovering what I liked best or was willing to let go of. This has also allowed me to keep my studio clear of clutter of unwanted supplies. There is always someone who loves what I don’t.

Here is an example of a junk journal I am working lately with a tag added, a variety of pages and some initial layers. Nothing is finished but putting those first layers down gives me a starting point. Will be fun to see where this page takes me next. Part of what I adore about visual journaling is the process of layering and the surprises and magic that happen along the way.

mixed media art journal page

I’d love to hear what your favorite visual journaling supplies and tools are? Do you like to buy journals or make your own? What about paints? Have a favorite? Let’s share!

Posted in


  1. Florence Callender on November 7, 2021 at 1:10 pm

    Minette, your art journals are quite creative and inspiring. Although I’ve done regular journaling, I’ve never ventured into art journaling. Perhaps, now that you have whet my appetite, I’ll give it a try. I like that you have the choice to do your own thing or purchase journals.

    • minette on November 9, 2021 at 6:56 am

      Me too Florence, I appreciate the flexibility it give me. And I love combining words and art and discovering how they feed each other.

  2. Kate Loving on November 7, 2021 at 5:06 pm

    These art journals you write about makes me want to get going with it, too. I have the pens and a blank notebook with extra sized paper. The pens soak through but the remedy for that is to allow each page to be a stand alone. Sometimes I engage in long telephone conversations and can see myself doing art journaling doodles during those times!!

    • minette on November 9, 2021 at 6:55 am

      I am such a doodler on phone and Zoom calls. I love keeping my hands busy with creative play while talking or listening. I have pages filled with patterns and marks from doing this.

  3. Amanda on November 8, 2021 at 6:45 am

    I love the variety. So much fun.

    • minette on November 9, 2021 at 6:57 am

      Thanks Amanda, it’s a creative’s gift and curse! I love variety too much sometimes leading to an overflowing studio.

  4. Janet Miles on November 8, 2021 at 10:07 am

    Oh, very cool. I have a couple Strathmore books. I’m definitely going to start making time to art journal again. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • minette on November 9, 2021 at 6:58 am

      Woo hoo, yay, I can’t wait to see what you create.

Leave a Comment