Making an Art Journal

DIY Art Journals

For newcomers to the mixed media art form, creating an art journal is a great way to grow as an artist.

For a beginning mixed media artist, creating a piece of art on that “good” canvas can be downright intimidating. What if something doesn’t turn out right? What if that canvas is wasted? Creating an art journal is a wonderful way for a new artist to try collage and painting techniques without fear of failure.

Make an Art Journal

To make an art journal, artists can choose to simply use an existing sketchbook or to create a unique journal from an altered book. Some artists prefer to work on individual sheets of watercolor paper and then bind them together when the journal pages are complete. Others store loose pages in a container and never actually create a bound journal. There is no right or wrong way to create the journal since it is the artist’s personal place to play with techniques and develop new skills while recording thoughts and memories.

Breaking in New Journal Pages

Once the new mixed-media artist has selected a journal form, it is time to start journaling. Some artists jump in fearlessly. They write, paint, and paste without worrying about what goes where. However, many new artists face a pristine white page and feel terrified. Where do they start? What do they do? For these artists, breaking the pages in may be the only solution. To break in art journal pages, choose from one of these handy techniques:

  • Use watercolors to add some soft colors to those stark white pages.
  • Make a doodle: a flower, a heart, or a squiggle.
  • Drag a light layer of acrylic paint across the page.
  • Glue a background of vintage sheet music or text to the page.

Art Journal Topics

Art journals can be about anything, but here are a few ideas for journalers who are having trouble picking a topic for their art journals. Art journals can be about:

  • Dreams – If an artist has wild, fantastic dreams or dark and terrifying nightmares, he or she has plenty of fodder for an amazing art journal.
  • Day-to-day life – There is no rule that says diaries have to be written. If a journaler isn’t a big fan of words, or if he or she prefers to combine language and pictures, trying an art journal about his or her life is the perfect alternative.
  • Vacations – Trips tend to breed memorabilia, such as postcards and ticket stubs, that are perfect for mixed media pieces.
  • New techniques – Many artists like to experiment with new techniques in their art journals before they attempt them on a canvas.