Art & Craft Tutorials, Guides & Advice

Art Supply Junkie – Art Journals


Watch the video below:

What is an art journal?

It’s a journal you make art in. It really is as simple as that. There are no rules for art journals. I know there seems to be a type of ‘art journal movement’ that makes it look like art journaling is associated with a certain style or creating a certain look, but it really isn’t. I also like to call it a ‘visual journal’, it sounds a bit less intimidating.

Anything goes with art journaling


To me something is an art journal as soon as you veer from using just the written word and start adding pictures, drawings, painting, collage, blobs of colour, you name it.



Why do I love them?

You can express your thoughts and explore your feelings in a super safe place. You close the book when you’re done, you don’t have to show it to anyone, but it’s there for you to re-explore or turn to when you want.

I love the way a filled art journal looks, when you can hardly close it anymore and all the pages fan out and you see the colours on the fore edge (that’s the bookbinding term for the edge of a book opposite the spine edge).

My art journals are so dear to me and I get super excited about getting to work in them!



What is the best art journal?

I used to have some silly self-imposed rule that I could only have one art journal and had to finish it before getting another. I don’t know where that came from, but I’ve since realized that it’s great to have more than one journal. Journals can be different sizes and dimensions and different types of paper which all adds to the fun and multitude of uses.

I don’t know if there is one ‘best art journal’ out there. Different people like different things and certain journals might be more suitable for a specific purpose. These are the journals I am currently working in, the ones with an * are my current favourites:

*Falkiner’s – A4 with 300gsm hot pressed watercolour paper

*Dylusions – large (approx. 11×8”) with manila and white cardstock

Daler Rowney – A5 with 150gsm sketching paper

Seawhite of Brighton –20x20cm with 160gsm cartridge paper wire bound

Moleskine – 9x14cm with sketchbook paper


Things to try

  • When picking an art journal think of the following questions: Do you want to work small or big? Do you use a lot of wet media (go for heavy watercolour paper)? Do you use a lot of 3D elements (go for a spiral bound or a journal with fewer pages)? Do you like working portrait or landscape orientation?
  • Start a new journal and give it a specific theme (e.g. faces journal, experimentation journal, lettering journal, dream journal)
  • Try using the whole spread (the two open pages) or just one page
  • Turn your journal 90 degrees and work in a different orientation
  • Experiment with gessoing your pages first or not and see how different paints react

What art journals do you have? Leave a comment to let me know!

By Iris

Hi I'm Iris! I'm a mixed media artist from London, UK. I want to inspire everyone with a creative heart to make and do what they love!

5 replies on “Art Supply Junkie – Art Journals”

Dear Iris, hi again! I have just read your post (I’ve seen your video from youtube yesterday 😉 ) and just wanted to answer your question here…I have almost two art journals right now! I’m writting almost two because my very first one (and first I’ve ever had) is/was a cute small notebook with totally unsuitable paper! The paper is very thin and I needed to glue two pages together to work on, gesso them and then start journaling. So I’ve started with this one but never finished it. However, it is my first one and I keep it with the few done pages inside. Maybe I’ll find an idea on how to fill it someday! I also have a second one witch is handmade, is quite big (quite larger than A4 pages) and has different kinds of papers inside, some are heavy watercolor pages, some are lighter watercolor pages and some pages are made from cereal boxes! I’m working on it right now, but (as I’m a newbie) I find it a little difficult to fill the huge areas and thus I’m thinking about making a third one of medium size with heavy watercolor paper only. In this third one I could work when I have something wet waiting to dry on my second one, or when I don’t feel able to fill a huge area of paper!
Thank you for your great art supplies series! Can’t wait to read all the comments, get ideas on the supplies and watch the next supply you have in mind! Sweet greetings from Greece! Elena.

I love the sound of your big journal! I understand how it’s kind of intimidating though to work on something that size. Just work on the size you feel comfortable with right now! I agree that having several journals on the go at once so you can skip between them during drying time is a great strategy. I do that too, because I hate waiting!

I have sooooo many journals lol. I am not even close to finishing one. I just love the different styles each one offers. I have fun playing in each of them. Which one I use depends on my mood, what medium I feel like using, and things like that. I have to keep myself from buying more journals sometimes just for seeing them on sale. hehehe

Finishing a journal is one of my goals this year!! I should be able to do it because I’m nearly at the end of two of them. I totally know what you mean about buying journals on sale! I really have to sit on my hands haha.

Lovely post! And thanks for the reminder that it is okay to have several art journals. I always tended to feel like I should just have one … but your are right. Why?! There are so many different ones that can be used in different ways.

And I will have to check out the Falkiner one! That sounds dreamy. I have been looking for a journal that would have “proper” water color pages for ages, but have not found one. That sounds like IT!!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *