Getting started – art journaling

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by Debra Dane on May 28, 2013

in Self care

Since I came out of the closet about my renewed passion for multi-media art and journaling I have had many people asking me about getting started with this so thought I would share it here instead of emails. It can seem daunting and overwhelming at the beginning because once you start looking into it there is a ton of information available. Online courses and free video tutorials are my favourite resources + books as well.

Keep it simple to start

Art journaling does not require a lot of tools even though you can go crazy shopping of course.

Julie Fei- Fan Balzer is one of the best people to learn from – she does everything from lettering techniques to art techniques. (She will be featured in the list below as well)

In this video below you can see how you do not need fancy equipment to create art journal backgrounds. Really you can just use crayons, paint or other colouring tools, but if you want to create interesting texture and “art” you still can use household items and found objects. In this series of technique tutorials she shows you how to use a toothbrush to create splatters and texture, to make masks with magazine cut outs, stamping with a toilet paper tube. (refresh if you can’t see video)

Art journaling is easy enough for kids to join in so you can even make it a family hobby if you like. You can also raid your kid’s art supplies and have enough to work with.

Here is a blog post from Art with Kids showing you how you can easily make texture stamps with recycling supplies like onion bags or gift paper. Stamps, stencils and masks are used often to create the backgrounds and journal pages.

You can start with loose art paper or a visual journal (available everywhere from $2 shops to art stores). You can alter books as well – cover pages of old kids’ board books with a product called gesso and re-use them, work straight in old big books, bind your own or alter composition books. There are endless tutorials online when you are ready to do this.

How to use your art journal

You can use your journal to express your thoughts, work through ideas or favourite quotes you find

Make lists – google for prompts or join in here each week for listmania and journal the list ┬áprompts I offer (or just use the prompts on your own).

Capture moments in time – those who are drawn to scrapbooking, but looking for another approach might love art journaling which (to me) seems more fluid and open ended than scrapbooking, but uses a lot of similar materials and techniques

Be creative and play – this is very freeing, especially for those of us fighting the demon of perfectionism and control – just see where you are taken on the journey

Use it for self discovery – prompts / questions can be great jumping off points, also treat it just like you would a regular journal but with visuals added

Online resources for inspiration and prompts

Daisy Yellow is a great first stop. Her art journaling 101 is comprehensive and goes much deeper into materials and resources. I just want to get you started here and show you that you can create with little more than a book, some paints, a pen and a prompt. Go deeper once you have tackled a blank page (the hardest step of all). I love her kickstart your art journal series as well as it has enough variety of prompts you can surely find one that inspires you.

Julie Fei-Fan Balzer’s site is Balzer Designs and she has a ton of information in her “art journal every day” series.

You tube is your friend with art journaling – so many amazing people have taken the time to upload tutorials or share their creative process with time lapse (or real time) videos. One channel I like is Doodle Diem (although she does not use music or guide you so you just watch and get ideas). When you find an artist you like or learn from you can subscribe to their channel and catch new videos as they load them. It is like a free art course!

Search on pinterest as your interest grows and you want to learn something. Follow people who pin art journal ideas you like. Following one repin of mine I found Dawn who has almost 600 art journal videos pinned.

I love this series of posts called “Fearless art journaling” that gives you tips, examples, resources and inspiration to create.

You already learned everything you need to know (to get started)

I could go on for days believe me – it can be overwhelming jumping in if you let yourself get too caught up in everything that is out there. My biggest tip would be to not think about all the possibilities as “need to learn” but rather as “can learns”. You could learn something new every day and never know it all so just dive in, learn as you go and let yourself be free to play knowing there are absolutely no rights or wrongs with art. Do it for yourself, for fun and for creative expression.

If anyone would like more information let me know and I can do another post with additional resources including courses and books I love.

Do you art journal or want to start? Do you have a favourite tip, resource or supply to share?

Find your simple,

Deb

Linking up with Jess for IBOT – come over and discover new blogs!

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Zanni Louise May 28, 2013 at 7:17 am

Love it Deb. I think my writing journal is a bit of a spontaneous art journal. It’s full of lists, notes, reflections, doodles by me and doodles by my daughter because I sometimes need to entertain her in a cafe or somewhere. Great post!

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Debra Dane May 28, 2013 at 9:18 pm

that sounds great! have you seen smash journals as well? you might like them
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Lydia C. Lee May 28, 2013 at 7:25 am

That looks amazing but I fear I’ve not the patience nor the skills…:)
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Debra Dane May 28, 2013 at 9:18 pm

Thanks Lydia! (and you don’t need either of those to have fun ; ) but i hear you)
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Becc May 28, 2013 at 8:07 am

The rest of my family took all the creative gene’s from my mum, so I am not sure I am a great candidate. However I will be passing this on to my sister who is almost fanatical about scrap booking – I think she will love it :)
Becc @ Take Charge Now
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Debra Dane May 28, 2013 at 9:19 pm

Thanks – a lot of scrapbookers i think are crossing over to project life and art journals xx
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Gina @connectingfamilyandseoul May 28, 2013 at 8:39 am

Thanks for sharing all of these amazing resources! I love your approach…keep it simple. xx
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Debra Dane May 28, 2013 at 9:20 pm

thanks Gina – it takes the pressure off for now ; )
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kirri @kirri white coaching May 28, 2013 at 8:59 am

I would say you are my go to resource! I enjoy browsing your pinterest boards and watching how your skills are being refined and developed.

Arty stuff is something I get lazy with. I get completely immersed one night and then I don’t do anything for a couple of months – but I do keep coming back.
Thats got to count for something, right?
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Debra Dane May 28, 2013 at 9:21 pm

every bit counts – i am thinking of joining in with a daily project for July which is at Daisy Yellow – you use an index card a day – so it is a cheap material, small size, no big deal if you hate it etc might be good if you want to get a practice going (big IF)
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kirri @kirri white coaching May 29, 2013 at 6:41 am

Hook me up Deb. That sounds doable and if we do it together – I won’t slack off :)
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Debra Dane May 29, 2013 at 10:46 am

OK it is actually June and July – this post has all the FAQ – it is basically anything goes that you can do on a card! xx http://daisyyellow.squarespace.com/icad/icad-faq.html
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Ai Sakura May 28, 2013 at 9:03 am

It’s all so pretty! I’ll intrigued to start but prob have no time now to do it often. Do post more on this as you learn more techniques though. I’d like to learn more from you :)
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Debra Dane May 28, 2013 at 9:22 pm

I will thanks hon
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Caz May 28, 2013 at 11:20 am

I’m starting to re-surface here Deb and apologise for my ‘radio silence’ (I’ve been quietly lurking since falling in a hole some time ago…). I’m on a journey that includes re-discovering/re-igniting my creative side that has been stifled for waaay too long. I’ll enjoy looking into this further as it feels like something I might find ‘nourishing’ if that makes sense?

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Debra Dane May 28, 2013 at 9:24 pm

definitely makes sense – i feel nourished and filled up by it too – mine is a major re-awakening – buried for decades! good to see you here again Caz xxx
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JodiGibson (@JFGibsonWriter) May 28, 2013 at 4:42 pm

What a brilliant idea. I used to keep a scribble book when I was a teenager as well as a diary. I can still look back at it and remember the thoughts in my head from the pictures. Amazing.
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Debra Dane May 28, 2013 at 9:24 pm

that is very cool Jodi! i am visual so that is how my mind works too
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Marie May 28, 2013 at 7:33 pm

I’m loving my art journalling at the moment. Nothing quite as fun as splodging some paint around and mooching about for what fun things you can use to make art. I’ve found it much less restrictive than I ever did with scrapbooking. It’s a great excuse to get messy :)
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Debra Dane May 28, 2013 at 9:25 pm

that is the part i am in now marie – the exploring with odd objects. i am off to the hardware store tomorrow for bits and bobs to add to pics and also to make some stamps! glue gun here i come too!
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Kim @ Bachelormum Style May 28, 2013 at 9:27 pm

wow, clever lady. I have enough trouble trying to keep up with my blogging and my daughter’s homework but what you’re doing looks beautiful. kimx
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Debra Dane May 29, 2013 at 10:44 am

Thanks Kim xx
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beth May 28, 2013 at 9:32 pm

oooh thanks for this Deb! I can’t wait to explore and experiment!! xx

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Debra Dane May 29, 2013 at 10:44 am

Have fun lovely
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Gillian May 29, 2013 at 3:36 pm

It was great to hear about your inspiration and your plans and new found love for creating, Deb. I find that the more you do, the more you do… you know what I mean? Just starting and seeing where experimenting, making mistakes and trying stuff out is the best way to learn adn grow, I think. You have made me wanna start art journalling again!!
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Debra Dane June 1, 2013 at 10:10 pm

Do it!! And I agree about the more you do it… I feel I am starting to crave art time!
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Shell May 30, 2013 at 7:19 pm

Thanks Deb, I love that one line “don’t think about what you need to learn, but what you can learn” it’s a great one for so many things in life x
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Debra Dane June 1, 2013 at 10:09 pm

Yes. Remind me of it as I attempt sewing finally xx
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Emma May 31, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Love all these ideas and links… I am going to get into this as I’ve also started experimenting with art supplies this year and I’m really enjoying it. I would love to do an art course but this will be a great start – especially over the Winter months. Thanks!

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Debra Dane June 1, 2013 at 10:08 pm

Enjoy em. And you tube and Pinterest are one giant free course (I have also got 6 courses between now and feb 2014 eek!)
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Denyse June 1, 2013 at 9:39 pm

Deb! I’m excited to say how THIS post has come at exactly the right time for ME! Thank you so much. I’ve needed to move past scrapbooking & photography by adding in something new, freer and expressive. How wonderful! I’m signing up for June/July index card…hey, Kirri, come over & do it too!! Thanks Deb.. Denyse x

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Debra Dane June 1, 2013 at 10:06 pm

Yay that is awesome. Come join the Facebook group. It is full of insane inspiration if you are curious. I am posting mine on Instagram and plan to post on the blog from time to time xxx

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Grace June 11, 2013 at 7:07 pm

That Doodle Diem channel is amazing! Some fantastic ideas! I would love to have the time to get into art journalling. Maybe I just need to make the time. I’m sure it’d get my creative juice flowing!
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