Art Journaling… Making a Start

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing;
Learn to labor and to wait.
~ Longfellow~

Getting started with journaling can be a little intimidating. There you sit, with all those white, blank pages staring at you, and with no ideas whatsoever about what to put on them. So what’s the cure for artist’s block?

Just begin.


I think I said that before about art journaling, but it’s really, truly the place to start! If the first few pages are too scary, then open up to somewhere in the middle, and sketch something, even if it’s just your coffee mug and the lines are wiggly because you’ve not consumed enough caffeine yet. Then, the journal is no longer perfect, and you no longer have that for an excuse!

I just pulled out an empty sketchbook, and thought about what it felt like to start art journaling for the first time. I tried to think of some activities that might help ease the stress. So. here goes…

Create a cover! Some journals, like the Bare Books Plus (Great starter journals for kids!) have blank covers, just waiting for you to add some art. Here are a couple of my old art journal covers…


If don’t have a journal that has a blank cover, make a Title Page! This gives you a chance to tackle one of those white pages with a purpose… be sure to include contact information so your journal makes it back to you if you leave it somewhere!


And if the markers you use bleed through to the
other side of the page, make the best of it!


 As you can see, this is not museum quality artwork. Just a bunch of doodles. I drew a very light oval as a guideline, and then began sketching very simple flowers and leaves. Tasha Tudor, one of my favorite artists, often draws lush borders around her pictures, so I borrowed that idea for the title page.


On this old journal, “Through the Seasons” brought thoughts of different activities and celebrations around the year, so I sort of went with a “Tasha style” monthly theme around the oval. If you enlarge the picture, you’ll see that none of the sketches are anything really grand. The greenery (which sort of looks like rosemary or short pine) is really just a bunch of little lines coming off a main branch all in the same direction. Really not hard at all to draw!


Finish your cover or title page by adding some color it, using markers, colored pencils, or even watercolor pencils and a dab of water!


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