Art Journaling Step by Step

How to Start an Art Journal Step by Step

There is no “right” or “wrong” way to get started. Even if you’ve never touched a paintbrush in your whole entire life – you can learn how to start an art journal. It doesn’t have to be completely overwhelming – or even cost a lot to get started.

Many people who start an art journal do not consider themselves artists, or even creative. An art journal is an easy way to help you connect with your creativity.

Your art journal is your place for creative expression – and so you should do absolutely whatever makes you happy. Don’t worry if it’s good enough. Because  it is about enjoying the process. It is not up to what anyone else’s opinion on what should be in it or what you create. Your art journal is YOURS. 

The emotional and stress-relieving benefits are many, and the more you create in your journal, the more beautiful your pages will become with time and practice.

Why You Should Start an Art Journal

Starting an art journal can be a very freeing way to express your creativity, work through thoughts and ideas, and experiment with new creative techniques. Learning how to create an art journal can give you a place to really explore your creativity.

Your art journal is your own private and personal space where you can write, draw, and create almost anything. It can be extremely freeing, because there are no limits.

Your journal pages can be about:

  • To work out thoughts and feelings
  • Dream, plan and set goals
  • To awaken your creativity
  • For personal development and/or spiritual growth


Starting an Art Journal is Fun and Easy

Art journaling is a great way to relax, unwind and express your creativity in a fun way. There are no rules to art journaling. You can create any types of pages you like. Just enjoy experimenting with many different styles and techniques.

Step 1: Gather Your Art Journaling Supplies

To get started you don’t need a lot of art supplies. All you really need is paper, some sort of writing instrument and the desire to get started.

  • Journal or Sketchbook with Heavy Duty Paper
  • Acrylic or Watercolor Paints and Paintbrush (Kid paints and cheap craft paints are OK!)
  • Gel Pens and Markers
  • Old Books or Magazines and a Heavy Duty Glue Stick


Step 2: Prepare a Space to Create

You don’t need a lot of space to start art journaling, your kitchen table will work just fine.  It’s also nice to have some sort of container to hold all of your supplies, especially if you will need to keep your supplies and workspace portable. 

Step 3: Start by Creating a Background

There’s really no wrong way to create your background pages in your art journal. So if you have an idea, just go for it! A very simple background idea you could start with.  Simply use some ripped up pieces of leftover scrapbooking paper and some old pages from a damaged book glued into a composition. Rip the papers in any shape to be any size and start layering them together. Use a simple glue stick or a collage adhesive like matte gel medium to stick them to the page.

Step 4: Add Layers

Working in layers is how you can build your pages to have more depth, interest, and even more personal meaning to you. There are a number of ways to create layers of course – but one simple way is to just keep adding on more paint and magazine/book page cut-outs until you are happy with how everything looks on the page. Once the paint is dry, you can also add in sketches, doodles, and drawings to your journal. Adding in text, quotes, song lyrics and more can give you easy starting points for adding in words and texts for the “journaling” aspect of your pages if you would like to add writing.

Step 5: Let Dry

Avoid pages that stick together by letting it completely dry.

Have Fun Art Journaling!