How to Create an Art Journal

By Emily Lewis

For most people, art seems like a scary world they refuse to enter. Many forget that art is just like any other skill that takes practice and patience. Two years ago, I stumbled upon a solution while mindlessly scrolling through Instagram one afternoon: art journaling.

A recent craze among artists online, art journaling is a carefree, relaxed way to do art, without the restrictions and worries of being “good” at art or having specific tools. Art journaling entails having a journal and only a few art supplies.

When I first began art journaling, I was armed with a glue stick, scissors, some magazines and markers, and the hope that I was creative enough to attempt something like this. Sitting at my desk at home, I stared down at the Moleskine notebook I had impulsively bought to start this journaling journey.

The key to art journaling is simple. Just put something on the paper. It doesn’t have to be anything significant. I started out making collages from magazines, with the occasional piece of writing:

I began to expand what I could do, from writing to watercolors:

And sometimes I would just draw or paint:

Art journaling can be nearly anything. Sometimes all I would do is paste pictures in, or only paint across the pages. Other times, I’ll use song lyrics for inspiration. I found that I could use someone else’s words to create something of my own. As I continued to art journal, I found myself wanting to learn new mediums and grow as an artist. Eventually I started creating page spreads inspired by my own words.

Simply searching up the words “art journal” on any social media site can lead to mass amounts of creations, from people all across the world. Every person has a different style and skill level, all leading to a unique end result every time.

I began posting my journals on an Instagram account, and I fell in love with searching and finding others’ pages. Eventually I convinced a few friends to try it out as well.

You don’t need much to create an art journal. Just a few supplies and a notebook (you can buy some really nice five-dollar ones at Wal-Mart). Advanced art skills aren’t necessary to start, only a small spark of creativity.

There’s no such thing as being “good” at art; it’s not a natural talent you are born with. But you don’t have to call yourself an artist to create journals. It opens up the world of art on a simple, minimal level, allowing you to be creative without the intimidation and expectations some assume go along with making art. Art can be difficult sometimes, but it also can be freeing.

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