Crafts DIY

Art Journaling: Let’s Get Started!


I really adore art journals, ATCs (artist trading cards) and decorated mail. Don’t you? I love the time and effort that goes into creating them and the mixed-media collaging that tends to take place. I’m kind of new to the scene, I have to admit, and I was never much of a scrapbooker so I figured a great creativity challenge for myself would be to start an art journal.

Why don’t you start one with me? (If you already have one start a new one, we’ll be doing more spreads in the future.)

First off, if you don’t have a journal (I needed a new one) you’ll need to get one. Composition notebooks work great and they’re inexpensive. I’m using a small Moleskin because I like to do things small-scale. If you have an old notebook lying around with some old notes that you don’t need anymore feel free to use it. You can always cover the notes with paint, marker, paper and decorations.

You’ll also need to prepare the pages beforehand with gesso, glue sticks or rubber cement and maybe some Mod Podge to paint the page with when you’re finished?

Let’s start the journal off with a self-portrait or representation of you, your name and 5 things you love (this is to inspire your decorations!). For this spread you’ll need to cut out photos of things you love either via magazines or your printer, to find patterns on scrapbook paper and fabric that you like and a colorful selection of paint/markers/pens.

first art journal attempt

My list of 5 things I love was coffee/tea, hearts, stars, unicorns and Japanese candy. I am represented as Rainbow Brite because my brother wanted to name me that when I was born. Also, my name is in Katakana because once upon a time I left my heart in Japan.

How did yours turn out? Please email it to us so I can post it here.

If you’re interested in learning more about Non-Digital Art Journaling there’s a great article to get you started here and an AMAZING ecourse I just found out about (and that I really must participate in) here — looks like a great class to get your inspiration juices flowing and to learn a lot about yourself!

Here are some gorgeous journal pages I found while surfing Flickr to get you inspired.

Art journal happiness
journal 07 10 11
ICAD #22
Oslo Travel Journal_Day 3
Art Journal Page

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  • Reply Alyssa 10/25/2011 at 12:22 pm

    This post makes me so happy! ๐Ÿ˜€ I haven’t done an art journal since I was in high school, and this is good motivation to start one again. I don’t think I’ve ever seen art journal pages as pretty as the ones in this post, though. ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Reply jenny holiday 10/25/2011 at 5:22 pm

    I too am a big big art journal nut! I swear I lay in bed at night trying to sleep and all I do is dream up pages!! ๐Ÿ™‚ colors and swirls and girls and washi tape! ๐Ÿ™‚

    xoxo Jenny Holiday

    • Reply Amber Renรฉe 10/25/2011 at 5:24 pm

      Jenny, I love your pages so much! I tried to include them in this post but Flickr wouldn’t allow me to share them. Your pages make me drool. <3 Keep dreaming them up! xoxo

  • Reply jlem1125 10/26/2011 at 7:04 am

    Thanks for this tip! Going to make one to give as a gift to my wife!

  • Reply Maria 10/26/2011 at 6:41 pm

    My journal is like half regular journal, half art journal. And I looooooove going through the art journal flickr pool! So colorful! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply wobgirl 10/28/2011 at 2:00 pm

    Love your pages!
    I might start an Art Journal too.


  • Reply Anne 10/28/2011 at 7:19 pm

    Oh wow, you are super talented. I’ve never done an art journal, because I don’t think I’m very artistic in that way. I bought ‘Wreck This Journal’ though which is a little similar maybe? I really want to finish every page of that book.


  • Reply Sarah Coller 10/29/2011 at 1:36 am

    So pretty! I love Rainbow Brite… We have a family joke about my brother as that’s what he wanted for Christmas one year when he was about 3 or 4. I wanted one too but he REALLY wanted one…so he got it. Punk. ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway, I’m just stopping by to say Hi ๐Ÿ™‚ Your blog is bright and pretty!


  • Reply Rachelle 11/02/2011 at 11:53 am

    Super like your journal! It is so cute!!!! I remember my childhood with the first drawing, what was the tittle of that cartoon movie? Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply hunterX0506 11/03/2011 at 12:42 pm

    I donโ€™t think Iโ€™m very artistic in that way. I bought โ€˜Wreck This Journalโ€™ though which is a little similar maybe? | ๐Ÿ˜›

  • Reply gracia19 11/03/2011 at 12:51 pm

    So cute! These are great art journals! I wonder if I could make one as good as those! Thank you for sharing! It inspired me to try and be creative for a change!

  • Reply Pinksugarichigo 11/04/2011 at 11:14 am

    Oh just seeing your journal makes me want to start mix media again! i love your pages.. ๐Ÿ™‚ such an inspiration since I’ve known you! ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜† <3<3 i want to try that atc sometime too

  • Reply Piimanyx 11/06/2011 at 3:56 am

    I love that you do ! I love too art Journal, and I try since few time ATC, but I like your universe very kawaii!

  • Reply carlyn clark 11/07/2011 at 8:59 pm

    I did my first art journal in October. Committed to a page a day, and made it! What made it do-able for me was to limit myself to just one sentence (no points deducted for grammar!). It was a great experience that I’m continuing in November. I highly recommend it as a quick way to keep those artistic muscles toned!

  • Reply kraftykj 11/10/2011 at 10:18 pm

    I think your art journal is going to be awesome! Be sure and keep us posted with lots of photos!! I am not a artist but have been dabbling with a art journal. I am my own worse critic.

  • Reply Margret 11/14/2011 at 1:03 pm

    This post is very positive. I can feel the happiness in you. You did such a great job. Keep the good work up. God bless you.

  • Reply Iggygirl 11/22/2011 at 1:36 pm

    Oh you are giving me so much inspiration. Thank you very much! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply pocci 11/26/2011 at 4:59 am

    Another thing I learned from your blog ๐Ÿ™‚ I only had a very vague idea about how an art journal works. Thanks to you and your links, I now have better idea and think about trying a small journal in the future. I only wonder where I’ll find a useable journal around here (Sometimes I get the feeling, in Germany it’s really hard to find supplies for “newer” forms of art.)

  • Reply Chaarlie 11/26/2011 at 7:47 am

    Those are some of the coolest and most unique things ive ever seen. I absolutly love the rainbow bright ^^ You did such a good job with that how cute your brother wanted to name you that <3

    Hope all is well

  • Reply gorillahearted 12/05/2011 at 11:35 pm

    Amazing! Always so inspiring! Would love to see more of this! I think im going to work on some art trading cards soon! Lovely idea! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

  • Reply Perrie 12/07/2011 at 1:39 am

    Great work of art.. I love them all.. I will surely apply this on my journals.. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply cameron 12/08/2011 at 7:11 am

    Creative output! ๐Ÿ™‚ I really love to learn how to be more creative.. Thanks for sharing the great pictures.. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

  • Reply Deniz 12/10/2011 at 5:41 am

    I will definitely be making an art journal soon! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Reply Maggie 12/16/2011 at 10:32 am

    Such beautiful inspiration! Love them all <3

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