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How to start an Art Journal? | Art Journaling 101

If you're itching to get started on your Art Journal Journey then this guide is perfect for you.

This guide contains everything that you need to know about Art Journaling:

  • What is Art Journaling?

  • Benefits of Art Journaling

  • My Style and Process of Art Journaling

  • Different Styles of Art Journaling

  • Where to get all the ideas from

  • My Favourite Art Journal Supplies

In the end, I have also included a small list of prompts to get you started. ✌🏼

My Art Journey

Before we get started, I would love to share My Art Journey with you, I am pretty sure 90% of my readers would relate to my story.

I had always been that kid who was into Art & crafts. I always participated in DIY and Best out of Waste competitions at school. But I lost that creative connection as I grew up, and it was driving me crazyy.

I reconnected with that side about 2 years ago, when I discovered Art Journaling. I tried it on my own thinking it would be right up my alley and turns out yes it was.

Now, I want you to reconnect or discover your creative side through Art Journaling.

This guide will answer all your questions pertaining to Art Journaling.

I wish I had this guide when I was starting out, Lucky you! 😎


What is Art Journaling?

Art Journaling is the process of representing words and art on a journal spread.

An individual, through the process of Art Journaling, can pour and express his/her thoughts and ideas in a visual form.

Some basic Art Journaling terms:

  • Art Journal: A notebook or a visual diary where thoughts and ideas are expressed in a visual form. It's a place where you can record your ideas, memories, thoughts, and emotions.

  • Art Journal Spread: It's a page (usually two paged spread) of your artwork. A collection of these spreads form an Art Journal.

  • Digital Art Journaling: Using a computer program like Photoshop or Procreate App to create journal pages. (In this guide, I will only be talking about the traditional method of Art Journaling, however, you can still use some of the tips to journal digitally as well.)

  • Collage: An artwork made by sticking various different materials such as photographs and pieces of paper or fabric onto a backing.

  • Layering: Overlapping multiple pictures on each other for creating beautiful layers that look aesthetically pleasing.

Now that you know what Art Journaling is, let's dig deep into the matter and understand why you need to try Art Journaling.


Benefits of Art Journaling

Art Journaling helps in self-discovery through self-expression. It helps you to express yourself creatively and to record your thoughts, ideas, stories, problems, memories, appointments ANYTHING, AND EVERYTHING in an Art form, so that 50 years old you can look back and cherish those memories.

A few of the many benefits of Art Journaling:

  • The process of Art Journaling is extremely therapeutic. As a Mental Health advocate, I can vouch for it.

  • Through this medium, you understand your emotions better.

  • It helps you to recycle and upcycle scrap items. (keep reading to know how)

  • It helps you to stay connected to your creative side.

  • Most importantly, Art Journaling is a lot of FUN! 🎉

For every individual, it can have a different benefit. For me, it is extremely therapeutic and promotes self-love and care. It also helps me to keep my creative side alive! 💜


My Style & Process of Art Journaling

There are no rules to Art Journaling whatsoever! It totally depends on you, how you want to express your thoughts. I will share my style with you just to give you an idea, you are welcome to take inspiration and add your own touch to it.

My Style of Art Journaling is to have a poem/quote on one side of the spread and to have a picture collage/illustration on the other side.

Here's an example:

There are tons of different styles you can opt to start your Art Journal Journey, but this is something that works for me. I keep experimenting with my style but this will always be my "go-to" style. It is simple and pretty! 💞

Now I know exactly what you are going to ask. How do you do it, Mansi?

Don't worry I got you covered!

My Process of Art Journaling:

The 'Collage side' of the spread-

Step 1: I find pictures I want to use. (Sources: Old Magazines, Books, Unsplash)

Step 2: I find scraps for background and layering. (Bills, Tags, Brown Paper)

Step 3: Play around with where I want them in my journal. (Time Spent: 5 minutes)

Step 4: Glue Everything down.

Step 5: Add extra details. (Doodles, Words, Washi Tapes)

The other side of the spread:

I either write my own poems, my feelings, my to-do list, etc. OR

someone else's poem or a quote (don't forget to credit the original writer!)

Watch me work on the spread:


Different Styles of Art Journaling

Now that I have shared what works for me, let me share some more options with you, I encourage you to try each style to see what works best for you. Again, there are no rules to Art Journaling, you can create your own unique style or mix five styles together.

There are NO RULES! 🚫

Different Types and Styles of Art Journaling:

  • Gratitude Art Journal

  • Self Care Journal

  • Travel themed

  • Mixed Media

  • Vision Board

  • Memory Keeping

  • Collaging & Layering

  • Illustrations

  • Doodled Art Journal

  • Things I love: Music, TV Shows, Movies, etc

  • and many many more...

I prefer Collaging and Layering, as it does not require any artistic skill plus you can use your imagination to make it unique and quirky every single time.

Believe me, if I can do it, so can you! 💁🏻‍♀️


Where to get all the ideas from

Remember when I said there are no rules to Art Journaling, well sorry I lied. There is one rule that you must follow, it is kind of an important one. DO NOT COPY. 🙅🏻‍♀️

It is not limited to Art Journaling, it applies everywhere.

It is important to understand that there's a fine line between getting inspired and copying someone else's work. And before I talk about the inspirational sources, I want to explain the difference between the two.

  • Taking inspiration from various different sources can help you create something completely unique. Again, take inspiration, do not copy!

  • Instead of imitating someone else's work, transform it, and make it your own. Add your special touch to it.

  • Make a remix and not a ripoff!

Now that we're clear on this, let's move on and get to the fun part (well, sort of).

In this section, I will share my go-to inspirational sources. Whenever I get stuck, I tend to gravitate towards these sources. I have divided these sources into two categories (if you've been following me for a while on Instagram, you'd know I love categorizing and organizing everything.) So yeah, the two categories are- Internal sources & External Sources.

Internal Sources:

So as the word suggests, the inspiration comes from within. Sometimes I get inspired in the middle of the night with a beautiful idea, no I don't compromise with my sleep to work on it, but I make a note of it. In case, you are normal and sleep peacefully at night I have more internal sources that might help you to work on your journal spread.

A. Flip or Scroll through your collection of pictures. I use old magazines for collaging, so while flipping through the magazine, I get inspired based on the pictures that I can use. I play around with pictures to see what looks best, and once I am satisfied I stick them in my journal.

B. Keep Experimenting and practicing, with time, you would develop your own style of journaling and would stop looking for inspiration, it will come to you.

External Sources:

In my opinion, External Sources are more beginner-friendly than Internal sources. So if you are just starting out, this is for you!

  • You can get inspired by other artists on Instagram or Tumblr.

  • Pinterest is your best friend when it comes to Inspiration, you can check out My Pinterest as well, I have saved and pinned boards for your help.

  • You can follow Art Journal featuring accounts on Instagram where the admins feature different artists so you can explore different styles of art journaling and discover art journalists. Some of the favorite features accounts are inspiringjournals and pretty.journals

  • You can also get inspired by things that are around you. If you have a wild imagination like me, you can find inspiration in the trash as well.


My Favorite Art Journal Supplies

If you are anything like me you absolutely love hoarding & collecting Cute Stationery and Art Supplies. In this section, I will be sharing all the Art Supplies that you will be needing to get started on your Art Journal Journey. 🎨

Disclaimer: Some of the products have affiliate links, which would help me earn a little commission if you make a purchase through those links. It doesn't make the product any more expensive for you.

Alright, now that we have this thing out of our way, let's talk about supplies. I have (yet again) divided this section into categories (and sub-categories).

I will be talking about Essentials and Optional supplies. So, let's jump right into it!

Essential Art Supplies:

1. A Journal (Duh!)

Journal is basically a notebook for your Art (I am pretty sure you know what a journal is). I preferably like using a blank journal, it gives me a lot of freedom if you will. But it is completely up to you, whatever floats your boat.

Here are a few recommendations for you:

2. Tools

I use Fevicol for thicker pages and use Fevistick for thinner pages, it is easier to reposition a picture using a fevistick.

  • Glue

  • Scissors

I use a small pair of scissors for detailed cutting and bigger scissors for easy rough cutting.

You can get a medium-sized pair of scissors.

3. Old Magazines / Coloured Pictures

I like to use Fashion Magazines for cutouts as they have glossy colorful pictures. You can also use Newspapers, Colored Books, etc. Simply recycle what you have at home. ✌🏼

I use Vogue and Cosmopolitan in case you are wondering.

4. Writing Supplies

I like to use a black fine liner, a black marker, and a white pen.

Here are some of my recommendations:

5. Scrap Materials

You can literally recycle and reuse anything in your Art Journal. The sky is the limit.

Some of my go-to scrap materials are:

  • Tags

  • Bills

  • Dried Flowers

  • Paint samples / Shade Cards

  • Brown Paper

  • Gift Wrappers

  • Tea Bags

Here's a video where I have recycled a french fry cup:

Optional Art Supplies:

If you are a beginner, you can start by collecting the essentials I listed above. But if you want to up your game or want to go a little deeper into the whole process, you can also start collecting these items. They are no "must-haves" but there is no such thing as too many art supplies. 😬

1. Washi Tapes

They are great for adding extra details to your artwork. I would recommend you get a neutral-toned washi tape, but again it is completely your call.

Here are some options for you:

2. Stamps and a Stamp Pad

3. Stickers and Other Embellishments

Anddd that's it. (Not really though) You can literally use anything you want in your art journal.

The sky is the limit. 🤗


If you've reached here, you are the real MVP! Thank you so much for reading, I hope you found it helpful. As promised, here is a list of prompts to get you started, simply download the file and get started. Happy Art Journaling to you! 💖

Art Journal Prompts 2
Download PDF • 40KB

You can check out my work at artful.ritual on Instagram. If you got inspired to create your own Art Journal spread, share it with me by using #artjournalingwithtiaraless and I will definitely check out your work.

Thanks for following along!

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