How to Combine Drawing and Writing in Deeply Personal Art Journals

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You may have heard that journaling is a great way to record your thoughts and understand your emotions. Typical journaling involves writing only, but for those more vision-minded, an art journal is a great alternative.

What is an art journal?

An art journal is a visual journal; it combines elements of writing, drawing, painting, collage and even printmaking to express yourself. This includes your daily life, as well as your greatest hopes, dreams and fears. A single page will often merge words and illustrations to offer insight into what’s going on in your head.

The focus on self-expression is the difference between an art journal and a sketchbook. In a sketchbook, it can contain elements of art journaling, especially when it comes to drawing or painting. But a sketchbook doesn’t need to include images that match your inner thoughts.

Why keep an art journal?

If you’re someone who keeps a journal, you already understand the benefits of putting your thoughts on paper. This offers a way to de-stress and sort out complicated emotions. As a result, you gain self-awareness and feel empowered.

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First and foremost, art journaling is a way to take care of yourself. It encourages you to take some time for yourself, even if it’s only 15 minutes a day. When you look back on what you’ve written, drawn, or dabbed, you can gain valuable insight into the challenges in your life.

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The goal of the art journal is not to make every page a masterpiece. You’re just supposed to enjoy creating something without worrying about who’s going to see it or even if it looks good. Remember, this is just for you!

How to Start an Art Journal

Art journaling is completely customizable to suit your skills and interests. Many people choose to use mixed media and adorn their pages with drawing and painting materials. However, the most important thing when starting your art journal is choosing the right book.

There are many considerations when it comes to choosing your journal. The size is one. If you like to make large drawings, for example, a larger book might be better. Art journals look great when you fill the page, so whatever size you choose, make sure it complements the way you like to work. Another feature to think about is the type of pages that are in the book. Since there’s a good chance you’ll be using mixed media, choose a journal whose paper can handle both drawing and painting, and lots of it.

These supplies are great for art journaling:

Try these 10 art journal ideas!

Creating an art journal is all about you, but sometimes you need help getting started.

  • Introduce yourself! Draw or paint a self-portrait.
  • Draw some of the items you have purchased recently.
  • Create a map of your favorite place, real or imagined.
  • Draw a favorite childhood memory.
  • Take a nature walk and collect flowers or leaves. Describe your walk and why you collected these items.
  • Paste old photos and doodle on them with a marker.
  • Fill a page with geometric shapes.
  • Illustrate what’s in your bag.
  • Draw your favorite pet.
  • Hand lettered inspirational quote or personal mantra.

Do you want more ? Pinterest is also full of great art journal prompts.

Deepen your art journaling techniques with online art lessons.

Art Journal IdeasIntroduction to Art Journaling, CreativeLive: If you’re looking for a crash course in art journaling, Andrea Chebeleu will teach you the basics of composition and design elements.

Art Journal Part 1: Unleash your creative intuition, Skillshare: Bookbinder and mixed media artist Christen McGee will teach you the techniques to start an art journaling practice.

Need inspiration for an art journal?

Check out the beautiful pages others have produced through art journaling.

Art Journal Ideas

Lily Moon

Art Journal Prompts


Art Journal Prompts

Sasha Martinez

Art Journal Prompts

Sharon Tan

Art Journal Ideas

Noor Unnahar

Art Journal Prompts

Stephanie Birdsong

Art Journal Ideas

Noor Unnahar

Art Journal Prompts

Andrea Joseph

Art journal pages



Art journal pages

Lynda Barry

Art journal pages

me and my BIG ideas

Art Journal Prompts


Art Journal Prompts

Fatima Nazreen

Art Journal Prompts

Hanna Anderson

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