Keeping an Art Journal: Memories the Creative Way

Recipe for a Good Art Journal

1 blank sketchbook
a small supply of art materials:
       colored pencils
       ink pens
1 creative mind

Art journals are pretty straightforward: an art journal or art diary is a visual, artistic way of recording your thoughts, memories, experience, and ideas. They can be a collection of images and words, or just images—perfect for those of us without the gift for writing. A picture is worth a thousand, right? Art journals are the kind of project that can be more meaningful, more personal, and non-judgmental for an artist. (We all know how hard we can be on ourselves and our work, don't we?)

Tips for Art Journaling
If you're just getting started, then make sure that you start with a sketchbook that has nice, thick paper—especially if you plan to create collage, or paint on the pages. Thin paper simply won't suffice for this kind of journaling, so start solid. There are many dedicated sketch books out there: watercolor journals, pocket albums for collage, storyboard sketchbooks, and more.

If you are interested in painting in your art journal, then you will probably need gesso to prep the pages. This will smooth the paper's surface, help color fidelity, and make that art journal last a lot longer!

For collage work, it is vital that you use archival quality adhesive to add pieces to your art journal.

After you finish an entry in your art journal, you might want to coat it with a finishing coat in order to give it longevity. Acrylic varnishes are great for entries using acrylic paint, and fixatives help bond watercolor work to the paper.

Art journals can be as involved or as simple as you want. You can make your own book to journal if you want to start the creative process from scratch with book binding materials and homemade paper.

Forget Perfect

An art journal is a great outlet for all of those unfinished ideas and artistic experiments, so let go of that inner perfectionist and learn to play again!

Creative Community

Need some ideas? Join an online art journaling community for inspiration, tips, and support! The art journaling community at Ning is a good place to start.

Focus Time

To get the most out of your art journaling, set aside time every day dedicated to journaling. Even if you only draw a stick figure, this will build strong creative habits.