So you’re ready to start an art journal? Of course, you are, that’s why you’re here! So let’s go over what you need and have some fun with your imagination! 

No matter if you’ve just finished one or about to start another art journal, the best thing is that there are no rules!

Zero rules. No right or wrong way. No stress. No pressure. 

When you start an art journal, you get fresh pages to do whatever you like and let your imagination express itself.

Journaling also raises your self-esteem, and without even realizing it, you practice self-care on every page 🙂 


No matter what type of journal you write in today, whether it’s a creative writing journal or tracking finances, it’s undeniable that journal practice has tremendous benefits. 

However, when you start an art journal, it’s slightly different because you need to tap into your creative imagination. But you definitely still reap the benefits.

Art journaling reduces your stress levels and raises your ability to clear your mind. 

So maybe you’re thinking, “but I can’t paint, let alone draw.” Well, you don’t have to know how to do any of these to fill your journal pages. 

Art journaling calls on your instincts.

It’s about what you see, things you like, your ideal future, or dealing with pain from the past. 

You can make art by just using a simple black pencil or an array of colorful watercolors. It’s up to you. 

Again, there is no right way to start. 


The simplest way I’ve found to start an art journal is to gather what you already have on hand. 

So, first choose which type of art journal you’d like to start.

Then identify the technique that suits you best and prepare your art supplies.

These can be elaborate or a simple pencil. 

The most important thing with an art journal is how it makes you feel when you express yourself. 

The rest is secondary. 

I made a few blank art journals for you to sketch, doodle, and have some creative fun. Every so often you’ll read a quote to inspire you. I hope you enjoy them!

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orange paint with brush

If you like the feel of holding a brush and spreading color everywhere, then this type of art journal is for you!

Use bright colors and layering techniques to make your page pop. 

Some supplies for painting in your art journal: 

  • Acrylic paint – watercolors
  • Pencil – colored pencils – 
  • colored pens – crayons
  • Sponges – water spray bottle – brushes
  • Bubble wrap – toothbrush – toothpicks – a fork (any object that makes patterns)


start an art journal doodle

As the name implies, you sketch. You don’t need to know how to sketch or draw. You just need to let your imagination flow.

Hard to do when you think you’re doing it wrong. But if you understand that there are no rules.

Then there is no “wrong”!


white page adventure

I’m an avid traveler and always write in my journal during my trips. I also write on a travel blog to share my experience, but that’s another story.

In my travel journal, I try to include things that I loved best about my destination, restaurant cards, tickets to fun places, postcards of the city, receipts, maps, or anything else with any meaning.

You can start by answering a few questions about your trip.

What’s your best memory about your last trip? What did you learn or achieve? What was the purpose? Who did you share it with?



This type of journal is about your day, your experiences, your happy or sad moments. 

Your pages are about emotions and inspiration. It’s about whatever you’re about.

You can use paints, watercolors, markers, or if you prefer to make your art journal more low key then use pencils or fine point markers.


What’s your favorite thing to do when you have time? 

There are so many hobbies in this wide world! Here are just a few ideas to get you started on a hobby art journal.


music tickets plastered wall

Do you play an instrument, love to sing? Or just love music?

  • Cut out images of your favorite instrument. Add words or make unique drawings around the page.

  • Use quotes or favorite phrases from songs you love.

  • You could also make a special playlist that has meaning to you and illustrate specific songs with markers and colored pencils.

  • Write out the notes of a particular song in a tablature notebook and illustrate why it’s important to you. 

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leaves and petals flowers

Love gardening, then use your art journal to show it!

  • Write out a list of your favorite plants or flowers
  • Draw beautiful gardens unique to you with different colors or with just a simple pencil.
  • Illustrate plant care tips. 
  • Cut out seed envelopes or images of flowers or plants you love. 


sketchook mandala flower

It’s a sketchbook. It’s about you and your own style of drawing or doodling.

Maybe you use a fine marker to make gorgeous mandala drawings.

Or perhaps you like to draw nature with its majestic mountains and fluffy clouds? 

Whatever you like, use a special notebook to keep all those beautiful drawings in one place. 

Remember to add a date because after filling up a few notebooks, it’s fun to look back and see your progress.

There are many more types of hobby art journals. Just start one. Illustrate your likes, dislikes, what you love to do, and what you’re passionate about.


notebook pencil and paint

The fact is you can use whatever you prefer. 

Aside from the acrylic paint, pencils, and markers, you can add these other things.

  • Use a cloth to smudge, fabric with texture or recycled material
  • Dried flowers or leaves
  • Stencil material
  • Different types of paper, including cardboard
  • Ribbons, tape, stickers
  • Cut out images from magazines or books
  • Your imagination has no limit.


When you start your art journal, you may feel at a loss at first. And that’s totally understandable. 

Above, I mentioned a few types of art journals you could try. Depending on which type you’ve chosen, adapt the technique that’s best for you. 

Let’s look at 3 techniques (among so many others) and put it all together. 


books in a row

Use an old book as your journal. Paint the interior in full or just splash some color on certain parts of the page. 

You can let words that speak to you show through. Or draw around an entire paragraph that highlights a particular meaning. Make your own notes, drawings, and color code verses.



We all did this when we were kids, remember? It’s just that now it’s a bit more elaborate! Doing a collage is easy.

But inspiration sometimes is hard to come by, right? So start with a theme, a subject, or maybe a color palette that you like. 

Look for inspiring images and quotes, cut them out, mix them together, make something that you love. 

You can also write with markers or colored pens. Experiment with paint or other materials, recycled or not, to give your page some texture. 


blue paint on open notebook

If you like to use paints, then here is where you start.

Paint a page of your journal entirely in white. Let it dry. You can then add another splash of color in the corners or in certain places and create shapes big or small. It’s up to you.

Play around with texture by adding small objects. You can also add stickers and drawings of your own. 

It’s ok if things overlap. That’s the whole idea behind the the layering effect! 

There’s no wrong way, remember? 


small branches with tape

Before you start an art journal, you’ll probably check around online for different ideas. 

But if you search long enough, you may start feeling like you’ll never “do it like them.” 

This comparison game is really a bad place. That’s a general life rule, not just for when you start an art journal. 

Remember that when you’re ready to start your art journal, you’ll fill the pages with your unique reasons, feelings, and thoughts! 

With time you’ll find your own style and fine-tune your own techniques. 

So please, if you want your art journal to represent who you are, focus on your own splendid imagination. 

There’s nothing wrong with getting ideas, but don’t compare! It will only bring you down and make you feel inadequate. 

And we don’t want that, right? 

When you start an art journal, it should be fun and liberate your creativity – not the opposite. 

I hope you’ll start your art journal and love it!

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