Wondering how to start an art journal page? Having the staring contest with the blank page?
Here’s what you can do to fix that.
Themed art journals are a perfect way to be creative in many different ways while having one or more art journals, each with one specific purpose.
In other words, by having multiple different art journals, you somehow stay more organized with your creative outlets. Also, you observe your artistic expression with more insight. And finally, you’ll have plenty of inspiration if art blocks are a thing for you.
And I admit I love seeing all my art journals resting on a shelf. It’s like a personal library of my art. Kind of special, right?
What are themed art journals?
Well, some people love doing all their journaling and artwork in one journal. And that’s perfectly fine.
But, I’ve found that having more themed art journals motivates me to explore my creativity in more detail and with more insight.
So, having different art journals means that you have more than one journal and use each one for a specific topic.
For example, you can decide to use one notebook only for writing your thoughts and doodling, and another one only for quotes.
Or you can make an art journal reserved for practicing watercolor painting.
For instance, I have a separate art journal where I mostly use watercolors, and I specifically bought it for that purpose. Because the art journal has thick watercolor papers inside.
ideas for different types of art journals
But, don’t get overwhelmed, just pick a few of these ideas and start creating. If you try all of these at once, you’ll just be frustrated. And I don’t want you to feel like that.
1. Positive affirmations art journal
I think that positive affirmations are so important and powerful that they deserve to have their own private art journal.
Then, this journal becomes a kind of spiritual and inspirational treasure box.
So, whenever you feel you need to hear something positive from yourself, take this art journal and read what you’ve already created or make something new.
If you’re not familiar with this and want to know more, read about positive affirmations in this article.
2. Color-themed art journals
This is a fun one. Pick a small journal, decide on one or two colors and then create in the journal with them.
You can paint, draw with pens or markers, make collages, or anything in these colors.
Imagine how interesting the journal would look when you go through it and the pages look connected with one color.
If you like doing collages, these themed art journals will make you pick materials based on a certain color. By doing this, you train your eyes for designing and noticing things you could otherwise easily miss.
3. A collage art journal
While I was exploring collage making, I figured that collage images look best if made in one book. Then when you flip through, you feel like you have an artsy magazine in your hands. Made by you and made with love!
I sometimes use acrylic paints or gesso in my collage art journal, to make it more interesting and artistic. I’m just careful with water here. But, most times I just use acrylics with no water at all. Their waterless creaminess is yummy!
4. Quotes art journals
Quotes! I love them! They are inspiring and when one hits you right in the gut, wow, you get goosebumps.
Quotes somehow show you that you’re not the only one feeling this or that. That there’s someone who feels the same and has written this fine-tuned sentence that strikes you right in the heart. Magic.
So, make a magical booklet for these pearls, and create art around them. Trust me, you’re gonna love this idea and you’ll return to this art journal many, many times.
If you only have one art journal and fill it with all kinds of different stuff, these quotes can easily be lost there. And you want them to be available any time you want. So, if you put them in a special art journal, you know the exact place where to find them.
5. Gratitude art journals
I think that we should all be grateful every day. For everything we can do, for the love we receive, or for any other simple daily thing that enriches our lives.
However, we tend to forget how lucky we are. Especially when things are running smoothly in our lives. Well, this is not an alien thing, it’s normal human behavior. But, we have so many things to be grateful for.
To become more aware of the blessings you have in your life, why not start a gratitude art journal? So, whenever you feel grateful, take the journal, write down your blessings, and make some art.
The purpose of this is to raise your awareness of what makes you happy and grateful. You’ll be surprised at how many things can count as a blessing in your life.
And by writing them down, you somehow acknowledge them and become aware of them. Becoming aware of your blessings is rewarding and leads to a deeper appreciation of yourself and your life.
6. Lyrics art journals
We all love music, we have our favorite songs and lyrics. Why? Music is art and it moves us. Even more, lyrics can provoke you to feel things.
Isn’t this a great way to fill an art journal?
I’m sure you have your favorite lyrics, we all do.
Observe how certain lyrics move you, what images they evoke in your mind and then make art according to that.
For example, I love a song by Nu, called Man o To. It’s a beautiful spiritual song, so I wrote the lyrics and made this page below. The words of the song inspired me to create this image.
If you’re interested in making this kind of art journal, go over to the post where I write about combining music, lyrics, and making a lyrics art journal.
7. Words art journals
There are some really interesting words that are such pearls. I love recording them so much that I’ve made an art journal just for them.
This type of art journal is so easy to make and fill.
For this purpose, I made a small journal from paper scraps. I just put some small pieces of paper together and bound them with twine.
I use the left side to write the word, and the right one to write the meaning. Also, I put some gesso first if I want the word to stand out more. Or use the combo of black acrylic and white pen.
Then, I would decorate the pages the way the word inspires me.
Making art in a tiny art journal is something special because you create everything smaller than usual, so it can be a kind of a challenge, too.
8. An art journal for sketching
You don’t need paints or water, so choose any notebook with clear pages.
I usually use this one when I’m in front of the TV, under the blanket, or on my balcony in the spring.
This kind of art journal is really easy-going and somehow you have low expectations from yourself. It’s like a practice book. You take it everywhere and make simple sketches or drawings, just to practice.
9. Mark-making art journals
Mark-making is a process of drawing certain shapes, lines, and similar, while you observe the world around you. It can be the shape of a leaf you mark in your journal notebook, or architectural lines you see in your city. Also, you can look at different shapes of windows and doors and mark those, too.
Later on, you can use these marks to draw in any of your art journals. Especially if you discover a mark that’s interesting and abstract.
This is just a suggestion and the way I see how to use this idea. You go ahead, be creative and explore the idea if you like it. Do it your own way.
I still don’t have this art journal but I’m planning on making it. So, this kind of journal would be the one you take with you often. It’s just the way I envision it.
Don’t you love the idea of having a small notebook always prepared for use when you’re somewhere outside your craft space?
10. Faces art journals
I don’t know about you, but I looove drawing faces. I used to worry about how these faces would turn out. Well, who the heck cares! Art journaling is supposed to be enjoyable and carefree, let the need for perfectionism take a hike!
Pick a notebook with clear pages and a pencil, eraser, and maybe a black pen if you want to.
Just start doodling circles for the heads. Put some lovely eyes in there, and experiment with the shapes. What about big lips? Small lips?
Make this as simple as possible. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. We all know these aren’t going to be masterpieces for art gallery walls. Who cares about that?!
What matters is the process of creating. It’s fulfilling and satisfying. And I promise you’ll get better and better with time. It’s just the way things go. You practice, you enjoy and eventually, you make progress!
Bonus tip from an acknowledged artist
Also, I’d like to share a great tip I learned from Jane Davenport, an amazing artist from Australia. She teaches to draw with colored pencils. The philosophy behind it is that while you draw with colored pencils, you’re aware you won’t be able to erase it easily. So, you draw with more attention.
Later on, you’ll see how this technique makes you think about your lines, and your drawing turns out like a sketch in the end. Try it with a lighter-colored pencil, you’ll love it.
11. Vision board art journal
What’s a vision board? Basically, it’s a board of some kind, maybe a big piece of paper or a wooden/metal board, where you visually present your goals and dreams.
Visually? Yes! So, if you take your art journal and turn it into a vision board, you’ll be amazed at how fun this is.
The bottom line is, that you gather supplies like papers, magazine photos that represent your wishes or dreams, pens, markers, glue, etc. Then, you create your dreamland in that art journal.
Are you interested? I knew you’d be, so I’m gonna suggest reading this post where I focus on making a vision board art journal. There, you can find tips for creating a themed art journal like this and some examples. (Aaaaand I include a free printable so you can have a starter kit and dig into this wonderful process.)
12. Inspiration board art journal
How is this different from the vision board journal?
Well, a vision board art journal lets you think about your future goals and visualize them.
Although very similar, an inspiration board art journal is a notebook where you put all the things that inspire you.
Think about colors, moods, places, photos, designs, other artists and their work, words….anything that can inspire you to live more creatively.
You can collect all these inspirational things and put them in this kind of art journal so that your inspiration is available whenever you need it.
Visual people (like you) already collect these things and hang them on walls, above their craft/work desk. Some people even put inspirational things in their wallets or on nightstands.
Why not try this themed art journal and have your inspirational pearls in one place? And make it uniquely you and beautiful.
13. A poetry art journal
How about this idea? I’m sure there are poems that have touched you in a certain way.
Poems can be a perfect description of our current mental or emotional state, and we connect to it, we relate to it.
It’s similar to stories or quotes. If you can relate to words, they suddenly have a deeper meaning to you.
If you like this idea, choose a nice art journal that’ll suit this purpose. (I love clear thick pages because at some point I’ll want to paint and I want the pages to hold the water well.)
Next, write the poem on one side, and use the other side for art. This is just a suggestion, and you can do it whichever way you like. (Carefree, remember?)
14. Doodles art journal
Doodling! It’s fun and carefree and it puts no pressure on you. And even more, it’s sooo relaxing. Why? I think it’s because you get engrossed in drawing those lines and making small dots and circles, that all your focus and energy go into that process. So, the rest of that all-day-long-worrying mind has to shut up.
This is why a themed art journal reserved for doodling can be beneficial, and fun beyond fun.
15. A travel art journal
If you’d ask me what one of my biggest fear was, I’d say it’s not having traveled enough. Do you feel that traveling is the food for the soul?
Remember your last travel. How did you feel? What did you learn? What’s the valuable experience from that journey?
I never want to forget my travels and the experiences I’ve had. I consider them treasures and that’s why I make travel art journals. In it, I record all the things I don’t want to forget, everything that’s made me richer inside.
You can prepare one in advance before your trip and make some pages to fill in later on.
Or maybe you want to fill the journal as you go on your trip. But just be careful here if you’re going on a plane. Check the rules for carrying liquids or sharp things with you so your precious supplies don’t get taken from you. That would be a tragic horror story.
If you don’t want to carry any notebooks or paints with you, you can just bring a small notebook and a pen. While on your trip, just write what you want to remember, and then, when you come home, make an art journal.
Also, print out your photos, collect ephemera from the trip, and once again relive the experience while creating in this art journal.
16. A bucket list art journal
This may be quite similar to the vision board journal but has bigger goals in mind. This is how I see it:
I like to think that a vision board journal is about immediate goals you want to achieve from the present standpoint in your life. For example, you want to boost your self-confidence over a period of time, or you want to get that job or a promotion, etc.
Having a bucket list is further away into the future and it lets you dream big. These are all the things you want to do before you die.
I prefer to be a dreamer among the humblest, with visions to be realized, than lord among those without dreams and desires.Khalil Gibran
I really let my imagination flow here. For example, I dream of seeing the Earth from space. Wow, I can imagine the overwhelming feeling I would get.
I would paint my dreams and write about them in this kind of art journal. Even if I know some of my dreams are not easily reachable, I enjoy the imagination and daydreaming, and of course, making art in the process.
17. Create an imaginary world in your art journal
One of my favorites! Just think about it!
I think of unusual drawings like girls with wings, or extraordinary creatures, silly buildings, reachable moons, stars resting in long hair, and much, much more.
Do you like this themed art journal idea?
Just think of it as the opposite of the real world, making it totally unrealistic and impossible. Who knows what you’ll create? Maybe you’ll even surprise yourself.
Think of Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, all those Marvel heroes and movies. They are all products of somebody’s imagination. For me, this is magical. So, I hope you’re feeling inspired to create your own magical art journal.
18. Memories art journals
This could also be called a scrapbook photo album if you want. I’ve made a gazillion of these.
For example, when I was dancing back in Ancient Greece (yeah, long ago), being all young and all over the place, I would travel with my dance crew. Of course, we took thousands of photos with our phones or cameras.
I recorded our every performance and every trip we went on. Also, I printed the photos in different sizes and made a kind of photo album/art journal.
Besides photos, I put some ephemera from our trips or other decorative materials. I dedicated a whole journal to one specific topic, one specific set of memories.
I’m sure you have many events or periods you want to record like this.
19. Flowers art journals
It’s exactly what it says: an art journal where you practice drawing or painting flowers.
A neat idea is to have a dried flower on one side and then try to draw it on the other page. Also, you can add the name of the flower in Latin and your language.
20. A mixed media art journals
Mixed media is using different supplies and media to create a page. You can use acrylics, watercolors, collaging, pens, markers, or anything else you want on one single page.
This is great for experimenting with what goes well together and also for practicing color and object placement design.
Just bear in mind that this type of art journal should have thicker paper that holds water well. Mixed media techniques rely on this kind of paper, otherwise, the paper could tear and you could lose the pages.
21. A dream art journal
Although our dreams are mostly a recapitulation of our days, I believe that some dreams can really mean something. I’m not saying anything about future-telling dreams; they’re not my cup of tea, really.
Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.Carl Jung
But if you constantly have the same dream over a period of time, it sure as hell means something, right? Maybe it’s a problem you haven’t solved yet or a desire that hasn’t been fulfilled.
Take me for example. I’ve noticed that when something is deeply troubling me, and while I don’t feel the trouble so intensively during my day, my dreams tell me the exact issue I must deal with. And the dreams don’t stop until I recognize the issue and deal with it when I’m awake.
I noticed this pattern because I used to make notes of my dreams. This pattern revealed so much to me that now I know how to react and what to do when I see it again.
It goes like this: I go about my daily life as usual, and at night I have nightmares (the worst horror nightmares).
In the morning I ask myself: is this the same pattern again? Why am I dreaming about this? What is my subconsciousness trying to tell me? Then, if I dig deep and recap all my recent experiences, I always figure out what real-life thing has sent me to this dark place.
Try writing and drawing what you dream about. Maybe you’ll see a pattern like this, or maybe you’ll get amazing ideas you’ll want to use in your life or your art.
22. Themed art journals on the topic that fascinates you
You can dedicate a whole art journal to a topic that you find fascinating. For example, if you like Greek mythology, you can collect pictures and stories and make a booklet out of it. Also, you can write your own opinions on the topic.
Or if you’re into the moon and the planets and the whole universe shebang, you can make wonders in your art journal.
This kind of art journal can serve as an inspiration and it can also be educational if you do some research on a certain topic.
What are the benefits of exploring themed art journals?
Once people get into art journaling, they become addicts in a way. What they all have in common is the desire to create freely. But I’ve heard many creative women ask how to fill an art journal. What to put in it? What to write about?
The answer is very simple: anything goes! But I wanted to sum up some ideas to answer these questions in more detail.
Having different kinds of themed art journals gives you the opportunity to explore your creativity from various angles. It helps you discover what you really like and what you struggle with.
Even more, these art journal ideas can serve as prompts, so you always have an idea of what to create.
And above all, having themed art journals allows you to observe how you grow artistically or personally with more insight. They make this self-discovery process easier and more practical.
READY TO ART JOURNAL WITHOUT THE FEAR OF STARTING?
Get your FREE art journal starter kit for beginners and forget about the blank page fear or “my art is garbage” silliness.