Thursday, May 8, 2014

Art Journaling: Materials

Last week I shared a little about my art journaling process, more of the why than the how. Today is all about the how. Let me start by saying that I am not an experienced art journaler. Think of this as an amateur's way of trying to help out other amateurs. And, of course, there is no right or wrong way to do this. But I thought that showing you how I do it might help you discover your own process.

So. Let's talk about the actual book. Since I first began about a year ago, I've tried three different types of books. For my very first journal I purchased a small, cheap binder from Target and filled it with pages I made as I went.

This felt, in my opinion, more aesthetically pleasing and "artsy." I liked having control of how many pages I put in, being able to switch them around, etc. The problem was that it became a pain to cut up the cardstock every time I wanted to make a page, and I quickly lost interest.

I saw a lot of art journals online that were made out of Mead composition books. This seemed like a cheap and easy alternative, so I bought one. I loved the idea of it, but a) I had to paint every single page to make it sturdy/not see through, which took forever, and b) the pages were a little too big for my taste. I realized that I prefer a smaller book that feels less like a junky notebook.

Which led to my current journal, this teensy little sketch book I picked up at a craft store for about $1.50 (hello, coupons.) It's the perfect size and it has thick pages, which means that they're not see-through and are perfect for splashing some watercolor on. It's a little more neat and structured than my first journal, but I love that I don't have to worry about adding pages. It's ready to go.

So once you've picked out your journal it's time to gather supplies to fill it with. This is not something you need to spend any money on; ideally you'll be able to use things already hanging around your desk drawers and kitchen counter. Here are some materials that, for me, are the "essentials":

Must-Have Materials

- magazines (note: my favorites are Madewell and Anthropologie catalogs, which are free in the mail. I also like to use old wedding magazines, which are full of pretty floral images.)
- Sharpie
- Double sided tape/glue stick
- watercolor set
- alphabet stamps


- scrapbooking stickers/paper/embellishments
- washi tape
- sequins
- random tags, ads, tea packets, etc.
- vintage paper goods (book pages, postcards, magazine clippings. Old yearbooks are my personal favorites!)
- paint chips
- doilies

The best thing about art journaling is that it can be as complex or as simple as you like. It may take a few pages to discover you own personal style, but even the "mess-up" pages are fun to create. It's the perfect way to try new techniques, express yourself, and use up those random scraps and supplies you've been holding onto for years. I'd love to see your own pages if you create any! Have fun :)


  1. I really love seeing your art journals - and the idea to have it have a theme, like lessons I've learned, is maybe the first thing that's ever made me think I could actually start and stick with one myself!

  2. Very cool! It's almost like a hard copy of Pinterest type inspiration but it's all your own, great idea and looks fun to do. xo danica

  3. Like you, I started a Composition book, but about 5 pages in I lost interest because it took so much time to prep the pages with gesso and then they are all wrinkled. Ugh... But you make your process look so easy to do that I want to try it out. And I am signing up for catalogues too!

  4. I love this. Your journal pages look amazing! I dabbled in art journaling a few years back and have always wanted to go back to it. You're making me want to start it up again right this minute!

  5. Visiting from Taking Steps Home, and boy am I glad she shared this post! I started following you on Bloglovin and Instagram. Your journals are very inspirational. Keeping a journal is a deep passion of mine. I try to share some of my journaling on my blog as well, of course my pages aren't as awesome as yours :)

  6. Thank you for sharing this! I have been wanting to get into journaling and am inspired by your pages.


    Elle (@heyjayel)

  7. I am L O V I N G this Heather! Diana is right, we need to hang out a lot more!

  8. Thanks for sharing your process and materials! I have enjoyed reading both posts! For the small sketchbook, did you have to prepare the book in any way? I am currently art journaling in an old book that I bought at a thrift store, and I'm having to rip out some of the pages in order to create space for all the things I glue into it. This is keeping it from getting too bulky by the end and not closing all the way. Are you finding the sketchbook to get bulky overtime?

  9. I love those black sketchbooks--they're my go-to for drawing and for journaling. I haven't however, tried combining those two purposes much. Like the reader above, I'm curious if you had to prep the pages at all for the application of wet or thick media.

  10. I really enjoyed reading this blogpost, keep on writing such interesting posts.

  11. I've just started art journalling - you've got some great tips! I love the idea of signing up for free catalogues.


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