top of page

How to create an Art Journal!

Summer is near and what better way to capture these next few months than with radiant drawings, soft watercolor paints, scribbles in black pen, slick paint pens, and a mod podge of collage? Why an art journal of course! I have tried my fair share of journals. Dream journals travel journals, collage journals, and dun dun dun … the infamous bullet journal. I’ve done about three bullet journals. I always started with so much energy and excitement but after two months I was tired of trying to live up to perfect Pinterest standards and let’s be honest I get lazy as well.

So now it is the summer of 2020 and I am saying goodbye to all of the other wack journals I’ve done and hello to a new and undiscovered territory, art journals! With an art journal, you can draw, write, paint, sketch, and do whatever you want. The possibilities are truly endless and the best thing about it is that you don’t have to do it every single day. I have seen some people who work on their art journals for six, twelve months at a time. What attracted me to the art journals is the flexibility of it all and how I would be able to use my creativity in these hard times and look back at it and simply smile. Even if you are not creative and don’t normally draw or paint that is fine! Remember an art journal is just for you, don’t let the perfect Pinterest photos daunt you. Just do your thing!

This art journal thing is new to me too. So I am going to present all the supplies you need to get started and join this journey along with me! I am gathering everything I need day by day and I will officially start this thang on June 25th and stay tuned for posts this summer about my progress. So let’s get started!


  • A Journal

  • Water Color Paints

  • Acrylic Paint

  • Stamp Kit

  • Old Books / Magazines

  • Photos

  • Pens

  • Markers, crayons, colored pencils

  • Glue + Tape

  • Miscellaneous stuff 


Well, obviously you are going to need something to get your drawings and writing in! There are so many great journals out there or you can go for the typical Mix Media Pad. Remember you are going to be using watercolor and paints so you want to make sure whatever journal you get has heavy and sturdy enough pages to hold your creations. I prefer the typical journal and ordered the Minimalism Art Classic Dotted Journal in yellow because it's summer duh! In the journal realm, you will find that there are lined, dotted, graphed, and blank journals. I think dotted journals are the way to go because they guide you enough if you want to draw lines but they don't block your page as much as a lined journal might do.


I haven't used water color paints since kindergarten so I am excited to use this new medium again. Watercolors are soft, beautiful and extremely versatile. They add a nice light touch to whatever creation you are working on. You do not have to spend a lot on a water color palette, a cheap one from Michael's will be just fine and you can use it for ages. I would totally recommend getting a water brush as well, because the water is already inside the handle and all you have to do is squeeze and the water comes straight to the tip. It’s convenient for traveling and less messy !


Ah! How I love my acrylic paints. I use Apple Barrel paints from Amazon and Craft Smart from Michaels. The great thing about acrylic paint is that it is super cheap and comes in a big ol’ pack that will last you forever. Acrylic paint is very opaque and dries super quickly. I’ve used it before in my journals and you can never go wrong with some bright paint to add that finishing touch. You will also need a sturdy pack of paintbrushes and make sure to alway wash them after your painting session !


Stamps are a quick and easy way to add a staple image to any one of your pages. There are so many different stamp kits on Amazon that I am sure you will find the one perfect for you. Want to have a more natural theme for your art journal? Boom you can purchase a flower-themed kit. Love the ocean and everything it comprises of? Boom there’s a stamp kit with killer whales and galore. Don’t forget you also have to buy the ink for the stamps. Ink packages normally come in an array of different colors and are only $9! 


If someone told me they ripped a page out of a book intentionally … normally I would scream. Books are precious. But, if you are doing it for the sake of art journaling, you get a pass. You are reusing one form of art (the art of writing) and just putting it into your new creation! But make sure you aren’t ripping up a new fresh book. Take the scraggliest one you can find, covered in cobwebs and spiders in you’re closet. I mean were you going to use it anyway? When you rip out the pages of a book you can paste them into your art journal as cool backgrounds, maybe cut out specific words to form a new sentence … the possibilities are endless. And magazines are super helpful as well. Just stop in your local Walgreens grab a few and get to scrapping. Magazines always have beautiful and unique photos (try Vogue for cool textiles inspo) and you can again cut letters, faces, quotes, and more to create new sayings and ideas. The images will be great for college and there is so much use in one magazine there's no excuse not to buy one!


So before you get the magazines on the checkout line at Walgreens you got to pick up your photos first! For my art journal, I decided to print 40-50 pictures each of my friends, family, and general aesthetic pictures. This is a fun way to incorporate any cute pictures in your camera roll and weave it into your art. Pinterest is the holy grail for aesthetic photos and I am constantly screenshotting cute pictures that I may want to cut out and use for my journal. Walgreens always has 40 % off coupons and by the time you walk out, you’ll have 100 + photos and only spent $10!


You are going to need a sturdy black pen that you can use to write and add details for your journal. Every artist prefers a different type of pen but I like Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pens. Make sure your pen is waterproof and doesn't smudge easily because you’ll want to use this pen and not have to worry about the ink bleeding through, etc. I don’t own one, but a white gel pen could also be helpful to make things stand out on your page. 


Markers, crayons, and colored pencils. I know you have these things lying around in your house somewhere but if not Target, Staples, or again good ol’ Walgreens sells a variety of these products for a low cost. These items are great to write, draw, or sketch with and the possibilities of colors are endless! I love using Crayola Super Tips and use their crayons and colored pencils as well. I would also suggest Zebra Midliners for a pastel vibe or Posca paint pens! Posca pens are quite expensive and I just ordered a pack for the first time so fingers crossed that it was worth it!


You are going to need something to stick all your photos, magazine clippings, and other memorabilia in. I always use glue sticks, never the messy glue bottles anymore. Elmers is my favorite and never gives me any issues. I also use glue dots from Michael’s because they are this jelly-like substance that is great for sticking down photos or other glossy material. As for tape, any pack from Staples will do! 


I love stickers and have spent so much money on Redbubble stickers this past year I can’t even begin to tell you. I buy my stickers strictly from Redbubble because it supports small independent artists and we love to help other creatives out here! Stickers can be really cute to pop into your journal and most stickers on Redbubble are less than $3. Redbubble has stickers for EVERYTHING so I am sure you will find exactly what you need. 


And lastly, you will need some miscellaneous stuff! This can be anything you find in your house. Such as old ticket stubs, dried flowers, fabric scraps, notes, business cards, polaroids, you name it. You can also pick up some things from Michael’s such as pom poms, brightly colored pipe cleaners, feathers, googly eyes, buttons, rhinestones, glitter, yarn, whatever you like! This is cool to pop into your journal and fill some space if you need to. I bought a huge pack of googly eyes from Michael’s the other day and I CAN’T WAIT to use it. 

Lastly, here are some great art journal prompts and a few I thought of own my own! 

  • Create your perfect day on paper. 

  • Create a page decade for the most powerful person in your life.

  • When was the last time you felt anxious? Draw how you felt and what you did.

  • What irritates you but no one else?

  • Make a spread dedicated to how you’ve grown this past year.

  • Draw the ultimate road trip.

  • Make a painting based on your favorite quote.

Now that you know all the supplies you need and have a few prompts to get you started, you are ready to make an art journal! Leave me a comment below if you are going to start one and I will update my art journal progress on the blog throughout the summer. Remember everything I listed is only a suggestion for how to make you art journal the best it can be. But as long as you have your mind and heart bursting with innovation I am sure your art journal will be fantastic <3 Now let’s do this and let our creativity flow out of us like a rainbow filled river! 

bottom of page