Art Journalling

I saw an article today in the Washington Post about creative ways to journal. Go check it out here. Honestly, I didn’t even read it all – I got to art journalling and had to go and research. Yes, I have a short attention span. Part of the reason it hooked me immediately was a combination of factors. It appeals to my creativity (attempts), to my self-development outlook, my self-care ethos and it reminded me of something from my younger years.

When I was 17, I was taking art classes in school. I knew I was going to drop it for my final year of college, mainly because it didn’t inspire me or do anything to abate my nerves around art. That’s another story. But there was a teacher there who was kinda off the wall weird, but lovely. She clearly just LOVED art. And she taught me something that, to this day, I’ve never forgotten. To make art anywhere. One of those places was in old books.

Now, the book lover and geek in me blanched at that thought – deface books?! That’s awful! But, actually, it really appealed to me too. I started right away in an old book which I was supposed to be reading for my English classes. I still have that book and remember that day I had my mind opened like it was yesterday whenever I see the book.

So, this art journalling thing got my attention right away. Since I’ve recently been packing, I found this old book I sketched in and it made me want to start doing art in old books again. When I started researching art journalling, I found a heap of images with a whole load of them being in old books.

What is this art journalling thing you speak of?

What is art journalling? A combination of art and journalling – duh. No, seriously, it combines a more creative outlet than simply writing (if you don’t want to just write your journal) and focusses on the process, not the outcome. Which is the core of creativity – true creativity is a journey, not a destination, in my eyes. Sure, it helps achieve a lot of things. Art journal creators use them to express themselves in ways they might not do so with writing.

It also made me think back to my Art Therapy class with Rebecca at White Barn Therapy, which you can read about here. That was a big step for me on the road to seeing art as a process, not a product.

There’s a few key websites and blog posts I found. I’d encourage you to have a look and see what they think.

Mindful Art Studio

Amy’s website is pretty awesome and she talks you through the process of setting up an art journal in this blog post. How to prepare the pages, if you want to, what sort of journal to use, and a few prompts to get you started. If you keep exploring her site, you’ll find heaps of inspiration. She truly looks at art as a process and a mindful activity. I want more time with her site to explore how else to venture into art.

Daisy Yellow

I loved having a look at this site, although it has been admittedly brief so far. The images from her own art journals are amazing and show you what art journalling can be – anything you damn well please. She uses all of hers (since she has numerous journals on the go at any time) to do all sorts – including test colour palettes, trying out new techniques, but also making collages, scrapbooking in a way, keeping memories or just having a fun time making something. I love this approach. Her guide to getting started here is great for ideas.


So I also had a look on Pinterest – oh wow. Just, wow. Try it – there’s so many beautiful art journal pages that appear!

(P.S. I somehow managed to go on Pinterest and only be on there for 5 minutes – how is that possible????)

Sooooooo, what about these old books?

I love the idea of art journalling. I love it even more when you can paint or draw or whatever and see words of text coming through. I think it adds a whole other dimension to it. I also happen to love art pieces that are done on text backgrounds and have wanted a few for my house for a long time. I’d love to do them myself and believe I could. This might be the first step for me.

I guess I’m off to charity shops to find some decent sized books with decent bindings – they say sewn bindings are best. Then some white acrylic gesso to make a decent background, and start getting creative!

I’ll post some images and an update on how it’s going.

One Reply to “Art Journalling”

  1. I’m so happy that you’re finding inspiration on Mindful Art Studio – and I LOVE that you are framing your art as a process, that’s exactly what opened things up for me. Can’t wait to see what else you create. If you haven’t already, please join me on Instagram @amymaricle – we are doing a Small Creative Acts challenge all of October. Today’s prompt is “hands.”


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