Since you’re here, I’m sure you already have an art journal waiting to be filled with your work. But you’re wondering how to start an art journal page. Are you having a staring contest with the blank page? It’s kind of weird, I know.
It’s something like when your elementary school teacher lowers her glasses down her nose and waits for you to answer a question, and you freeze. Stop looking at me, you think, I don’t know what to say, just stop.
Well, let’s deal with that, shall we?
There are so many ways you could start an art journal page. And there is no right or wrong way of doing it. Art journaling is all about enjoying the process. Just by realizing this, you take some pressure off.
I can understand that we all sometimes fall into the uncreative hole. We tend to have a lot on our minds. Oh, that grown-up life. I’m not always a fan.
However, don’t lose it yet. I’m going to show you how you can start an art journal page with some simple ideas. They have helped me to get the ball rolling.
Try out these ideas when you feel like you’ve got nothing. You’ll end up creating a page that you’re going to love. But, above all, you should enjoy the process without stress and it’s all that matters.
1. Start an art journal page with magazine cut-outs.
Cutting pictures from a magazine has always been fun. I remember doing it in my teenage years. We had no internet back then so I saved my pocket money to buy a magazine.
When I saw a new edition of National Geographic or a photography magazine was at the newspaper stand, it felt like a holiday. It took me months to read them cover to cover and digest all the information and all the beauty of their pictures.
So, I cut some out. I glued them in a notebook or a journal so I could cherish those for a long time.
Today, there are even more choices of magazines. I rarely buy any now, but someone is always willing to give me their old ones. I went to my hairdresser’s last month and he was about to throw away some old magazines. What a waste! So, I took them in and found them a purpose.
This page I made is so simple and I love it for that reason. I tried to coordinate colors, played around with elements a little bit. I loved this girl because of the color palette of the dress and the flower. Also, dried flowers are so cute when you put them on your page.
Creativity is such an important aspect of everyone’s life, and I bet you feel the same about yourself. So, I wrote something on creativity to remind myself of its importance.
I think this art journal page took me 10 minutes to make. Not bad, right?
2. An art journal page with paper and cut-outs.
One of my favorite supplies is definitely paper. It can be so beautiful that you can frame it on its own. For me, the design and texture of a paper is a feast for the eyes.
Gather some paper you have at home. It could be anything, from tags to scrapbook paper, from book pages to cut-outs.
I love coordinating colors of the papers. It’s fun to see how some colors go well together.
For this page, I also printed out some of my digital designs, which are dreamy and feminine. I cut them out in squares and added them to the page.
If you’re still not clear on how to create an art journal page like this, try taking two pieces of paper you love, some washi tape, and cut-outs.
Cut the paper into smaller and bigger pieces so you can combine them on the page. Make them overlap, experiment with the rule of thirds. Basically, imagine your page divided into thirds both vertically and horizontally.
The focus on your page looks the best if put on one of the intersecting lines. Also, you can put it in one of the top or bottom thirds, or left or right thirds. It doesn’t sound like you could make a big difference either way, but believe me, it makes your focus stand out.
See how I put my girl designs on the left and right thirds? I wanted them to really stand out. By following the rule of thirds, you make the page pleasing to the eye and it draws the eye to the focus more easily and naturally.
Also, I added a dried flower, doodled some branches and wrote a few inspirational quotes.
Paper is really great for experimenting and learning about how to position objects on your page. Also, you can print out wonderful designs and make your page even more lovely.
3. Use acrylic paint and doodle
It’s as simple as it sounds. If you have no ideas on what to create, just paint some acrylic paint on your page. Next, after it’s dried, doodle away! I love doodling on my sofa, under a blanket, or on my balcony.
Also, doodling is very relaxing. You can create something simple and still feel like you’ve done some art.
4. Use watercolor and words.
One idea that I often do is just painting some circles with watercolor. This way, you can practice using your brush, mixing colors and shading. I painted with a watercolor brush because it’s practical and easy to use. And, it’s convenient to take wherever you go.
After the circles dry, write your favorite words in them. Think about the words whose meaning you like or the ones that just sound beautiful. Play with fonts and sizes.
Also, you can write a whole sentence or a quote by putting one word per circle. Wouldn’t it be fun to read it like that?
There’s beauty in slowly reading the words and finding which the next one is. Above all, you experience a mindful moment of making sense of the message on the page.
5. An art journal page with book pages, gesso, and a quote.
If you have an old book lying around, doing nothing, being all lazy on a dusty shelf, give it purpose! I have an old book, a novel about who knows what. I have no interest in reading it, it cost about a dollar at the airport. But, the pages have that worn-out, brownish color that looks perfect on a page.
However, you could use any paper you want, with design or plain, whatever you choose is fine.
Next, paint the paper with gesso (or use white acrylic instead), just enough so you can put some text on it. After that, write a quote or a thought on the gesso. A black pen works best here.
6. An art journal page with watercolor and your favorite word.
Writing on watercolor is sooo pleasing. Watercolor is soft and dreamy, so it really makes the word stand out.
First, choose three colors you’re will use. Then, use your brush to put some water on the page. Next, try to paint a cloud of color. Start with the lighter colors and end up with darker ones.
Play with water, move your journal so water could run. Try to enjoy this process and observe how blending watercolors is visually pleasing. You’ll want to use them over and over again. When it comes to watercolors, the resistance is futile. True story.
Finally, choose a word that you think is beautiful and deep at the same time. Write it on the watercolor cloud as you find it in a dictionary, with the pronunciation and the meaning.
This way, I’ve discovered beautiful and interesting words that I didn’t know before. Whenever you hear or read a word like this, remember it and then use it as an inspiration in your art journal.
7. An art journal page with acrylic paint and geometrical shapes.
Geometry is all around us, although it mostly gets unnoticed. But, geometry is often the main ingredient in art. I love taking photos that feel geometrical. Geometry somehow brings order into havoc, it seems so calm and consistent. It’s clean and trustworthy.
You can use only lines, or only circles, triangles, dots, etc. Or all of the shapes at once. They create a balance. I’m not a mathematician, I can’t explain it, but I feel there’s some order and Zen in geometry.
So, if you’re stuck and don’t know how to start an art journal page, give the old geometry a try. Use your rulers, straight and curvy ones, and create wonderful balance on your page.
I was inspired by the Universe and planets so I wanted to experiment with circles and the moon shape. Coloring shapes is also a fun way to add some interest. Here, I tried to combine blue, pink and gold, to see how it worked.
Then, I remembered Shakespeare and wrote down this quote.
Starting an art journal page shouldn’t be stressful. There are so many other things in life to stress about. This one should be all about having fun and enjoying your precious alone time.
But, I know that, now and again, we all struggle with the blank page. It can be frustrating and make you feel lost. It almost feels like you’re Alice in your own crazy Wonderland, in a god-knows-where place and not knowing what to do.
Don’t take it personally. Just like you shouldn’t have taken that teacher personally. All teachers love to feel important with their questions and have that eye staring contest from time to time. (Trust me, I’m a teacher.)
But, just remember, creating in your art journal should be something you enjoy doing, something that relaxes you and lets you mature into a better artist. Above all, it should serve you, to look deep into yourself and get to know you. See? There’s no place for stress here.
These ideas for starting an art journal page are simple but can help you set that art process into motion.
If you want to know how to find more ways to get inspired, you can read this post about inspiration when you find yourself in a creative block.
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