I want to share some creative art journal ideas because I know how hard it can be sometimes to come up with with your own.
Too often we feel uninspired but eager to create something artistic or crafty.
I hope these ideas for your art journal will motivate you to try them, or even better, to inspire you to expand on them and come up with your own ideas.
The list of creative art journal ideas
- Use photos
- Write a poem
- Create pockets
- Make a themed art journal
- Make an art journal as a gift
- Use positive affirmations
- Make a gratitude page
- Make windows and doors
- Make a small vision board
- Shape your pages
- Make an unusual collage
- Make contrast pages
- Make symmetrical pages
- Make a collage city
- Document your favorites
- Bucket list
- Inspiration board
- Make a flip page
- A story art journal
1. Use photos
Before starting actual art journaling, I had been scrapbooking for a long time. Scrapbooking is basically using photos, paper scraps and embellishments to preserve your memories. That’s why I love using photos in my art journals, too.
These photos can be of yourself, showing a certain mood, or images of the people you love and care about.
Also, you can find random photos online to use on your art journal pages, they don’t have to be your own photos.
You can draw some inspiration from photos as well.
For example, your color combination for the page may come from the photo you’re using.
Another idea is to take a photo and journal about the moment it was taken, about why this photo is important to you.
When it comes to the composition of the page with photos, you can layer them on paper scraps, frame them, outline them, even paint them.
Just bear in mind that some art supplies and glue may ruin the photo with time, so if you want it to live in your journal for a long time, use photo-safe supplies.
A great way to preserve these photos is to make a pocket for them, or a flip page and hide them underneath.
Only your imagination is the limit.
2. Write a poem
You don’t have to be a poet to try writing a poem. Since art journaling is only for you, you can write anything you want.
I participated in a creativity summit a few days ago and one of the speakers was an amazing artist Tracy Verdugo. She had a demo showing us how to use images to write your own poems. So, I owe this idea to her.
This is a great art journal idea from Tracy and all you need are a few random images you tear from magazines, old books, newspapers, flyers, etc. Just tear them randomly and don’t worry if you get a whole image, it’s better not to look at that. Then when you have 5 or 6 of those, try writing a sentence for each image you have. Later, combine them into a poem.
How amazing in that?
Thank you Tracy :).
Also, you can use random words from books or magazines. You cut out words or phrases and combine them into a meaningful poem. This is so unique and I promise you’ll have fun doing it.
3. Create pockets
The one thing I did so often in scrapbooking is making cute little pockets.
I used these pockets for secret messages, photo descriptions, etc.
You can put your journaling cards inside if you want your words to be hidden in a special place.
Pockets are also great for keeping small embellishments like stickers or paper scraps.
4. Make a themed art journal
I love the idea of a themed art journal because I can focus on one thing in it and when I sit down to create something, I already have a direction to follow.
For example, I have a gratitude art journal and when I open it, I already have an idea of what to make and write. It narrows my focus and thus I worry less about having ideas or inspiration.
Having an art journal like this takes a lot of pressure off when you want to create something.
5. Make an art journal as a gift
This is such a great idea and you get to make someone feel better. So, it’s a win-win.
If you have a creative and artistic friend, why not make something beautiful for them? What’s even better is that they can continue working in that journal, so this way, you’re being creative but you’re inspiring your friend to be creative, too.
You can do this by making a DIY art journal, or re-purposing a notebook. Make some backgrounds for your friend, or perhaps a few hidden messages somewhere so when they open that page, they can get surprised by your heartfelt message.
Another idea is to make a pocket or an envelope at the end of this journal and put some nice stickers or paper scraps in it.
Imagine the look on your friends face when they see this.
6. Use positive affirmations
Using positive affirmations is a great art journal idea, and I know you’re going to love it. I love filling my journals with positive affirmations and this practice always changes my mood for the better.
You can make a themed art journal only for this purpose.
7. Make a gratitude page
I believe in the magic of being grateful every day. In addition, making art while being grateful is powerful and will definitely change your perspective on things.
You can make this a daily or weekly practice and even make a themed art journal for gratitude.
Learn more: Gratitude art journal prompts
8. Make windows and doors
This might sound weird as an art journal idea, but it can be so creative and blow your mind.
What you can do is cut shapes in your pages so that you can see page (or pages) underneath. I’ve seen this on Amy Maricle’s mindful blog and I instantly fell in love with it.
Another idea is to literally make windows and doors that can open and reveal secret journaling or images.
9. A small vision board spread
This idea always works and I do it often.
It lets me daydream about my life and record that in my art journal with images, drawings and journaling.
Making a vision board is one of my favorite things to do in my art journal.
If you’re interested in doing this, I have a blog post about creating a vision board art journal with printables, tips and ideas.
10. Shape your pages
You can make your art journal pages more interesting if you cut the edges and make shapes.
For example, you can cut waves, half circles, or anything else you come up with. Maybe using shaped scissors can help you do this quickly.
If you combine this with journaling along the cut shapes, it can really be unique and visually pleasing.
11. Make an unusual collage
What I mean by this is to combine images that you wouldn’t usually find together.
Make combinations that would inspire reactions like: how did you make these things fit together like this? I can’t stop looking at it. It’s like a magical world of fairy-tales, where everything is possible.
Here’s one of my examples:
12. Make contrast pages
The idea is to open your art journal and imagine the two pages in the spread be in contrast with each other.
For example, you can do this by contrasting colors, like black and white. If you paint one page black, use white to doodle or write on it, and paint the opposite page white with black writing or doodles.
13. Make symmetrical pages
Similar to contrast pages, you can play with symmetry on your art journal spread.
Start drawing, doodling, writing or gluing from the center of the journal and continue doing symmetrical elements all over the two pages.
14. Make a collage city
Take images from magazines, your paper stash, old books, etc., and cut them into interesting an unusual shapes. Next, glue them on your pages to make a cityscape.
Play with shapes, colors, and sizes.
After you’ve done that, doodle the sky above your imaginary city or on the buildings.
Add quirky details and have fun.
15. Document your favorites
If you love doing lists but they somehow seem to plain and boring on the paper, why not do them with a bit of an artsy element?
You still make your lists but also decorate them, glue things down, doodle around them, etc.
Art journal ideas for making lists can include your favorite:
16. Bucket list
At least once in your life, you’ve dreamed about the things you want to do and experience. We all do this.
I love doing bucket lists in my art journal.
This art journal idea can take you places you don’t even expect. So, don’t limit your imagination. Imagine that anything is possible, write down your bucket list and make some art around it, to make it more interesting, and to spend more time in a mindful moment.
Your bucket list can include:
- places to visit
- concrete experiences you want
- things you want to do
- feelings you want to experience
- people you want to meet
- goals you want to accomplish
- food you want to try
- skills you want to learn
- dreams you want to come true
17. Inspiration board
Artists and designers make these boards to help them design their projects.
Making one in your art journal can also help you decide on color combinations, style of your page, composition, etc.
If you make a small inspiration/mood board at the beginning of your journal, you can always come back to it for inspiration.
And who’s to say you should make only one? Create an inspiration board whenever you feel like it.
I’ve also written about this in more depth, and you can read about it more, just click the link below.
18. Make a flip page
Among all other great art journal ideas, this is the one I’ve done the least. But it’s a recent idea of mine and I’m sure I’ll experiment with it.
The idea is to add more pages to one of your spreads by making a flip page, so it opens up on the side, to the top, or to the bottom of the page.
There are many ways to experiment with this. And the plus side is that you can make extra pages like this if you feel your art journal doesn’t have enough pages.
Here’s how I did something similar:
19. Make a story art journal
Storytelling is so important in any area of our lives, whether it’s for fun or for business.
I’ve been a photographer for a long time and telling stories with my photos is always my biggest goal.
So, how to do this in your art journal?
You can dedicate your art journal to describe a certain experience. It can be something that actually happened or a situation that you want to develop in a certain way.
Again, you can use your imagination to create your own story the way you want it. Have fun with characters, colors, and the plot of your story.
This can inspire you to come up with truly amazing and interesting things you won’t believe came from your mind and imagination.
Do you have interesting art journal ideas?
These ideas are only one small portion of what we can do in our art journals.
If you have a neat, creative idea for filling up art journal pages, please share with us in the comments.
Let’s inspire each other 🙂
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