Art journaling means many different things to artists and creatives. If you search the hashtag art journaling on Instagram or Pinterest, you will find a scrumptious assortment of exquisite pages that leave you wondering, how did they do that?

For me art journaling is a very special aspect of my creative process that is quite raw and experimental. It’s focused more on the process of creating and self-expression rather than the end result of something pretty to share on social media (although it’s fun when that happens!)

In fact, my husband and I were cleaning out some boxes in the attic yesterday and I was going through some old paperwork when I ran across journals from the 90s. There was one from 1998 in particular that struck me, I’ve been “art journaling” for decades, but I didn’t have a name for it. 

Another name for the type of art journaling I love is visual journaling. 

I’ve always turned to writing and drawing as a way to express my feeling and pour out onto the safety of the page what was happening in my inner world. Then I could see it, name it, feel it and release it. 

art journaling pages

I often find my best and most creative business ideas flow from art journaling sessions where I allow myself to get lost in the experience and the process. Sometimes I might start with a prompt or a palette or technique I want to try. I love writing first and then creating over the top.

Art journaling is a powerful process for healing

It is the integration of the verbal or written and the visual that make art journaling a meaningful and powerful process for personal healing and growth. 

You will see art journaling pages online that include writing, drawing, collage, painting, mark making and even stitching, one of my new fave addictions. 

An art journal can be whatever you want:

  • A visual diary for record keeping combined with creativity
  • Your private and personal space to write, draw, and create
  • A collection of loose leaf or bound journal pages
  • A space to make art freely with no need to share it with others

What I love most about art journaling is:

  • There is no pressure to complete a project. I return to pages over and over again.
  • No rules! You can play, experiment, write or not, paint or not… this is your creative space.
  • Experimenting with new creative techniques
  • Playing with new art supplies
  • Getting better at choosing colors or working on composition

Here are some popular types of art journals that people love to make or buy to play in:

  • Altered books – taking old books are recycling them into journals
  • Mixed media sketchbooks (Strathmore journals are my favorite, love the paper!)
  • Collage/glue books – any journal or even an inexpensive spiral notebook used for collaged images
  • Junk journals – one of my favorite ways to make my own art journal to work in 
  • Sketchbooks for working with writing, pen and ink

For great tutorials on making your own books or junk journals, here are two of my favorite teachers:

Andrea Chebeleu: www.AWorkofHeartStudio.com

Allie Manning: https://vintagepagedesigns.com/

art journaling tutorial

Why should you start an art journal?

Art journaling is for you if you are looking for a creative way to heal, to express yourself, to learn to relax and play or to explore what it means to you to be an artist. 

I use art journaling in most of my creative coaching as a tool for helping others to work through the places they are feeling blocked or stuck in a particular area of their life or creative work.

Come back tomorrow and I will share my top 5 tips for starting an art journal.