How to Start an Art Journal 2

Hi, Jessica from BrownPaperBunny here. This week I want to show you how to start an art journal. Last year was my first time using one and I found it such a freeing way to be creative, even when I wasn’t feeling the creative bug biting, or to warm up before I started drawing or painting. I want to encourage you to start one if you haven’t already!


Start an Art Journal by Jessica Mack on behalf of Tombow

Art Journal Prompts

Your art journal is your safe space to do whatever you like. If you want to fill it with shopping lists, dreams you’ve had, photos of your dog, go right ahead! If you’re feeling a bit stuck and aren’t sure where to start, here is a list I have taped to the inside back cover of my journal. Whenever I feel like working in it, but inspiration isn’t striking, I just choose something from the list:

  • Stick something onto a page
  • Make a page with only purple / pink / blue / green things
  • Draw everything you ate today (or want to eat)
  • Write your favorite word, over and over in different styles
  • Choose a color that matches your mood and fill a page with it
  • Make color swatches of your pens and paints
  • Draw yourself with different hairstyles
  • Record your favorite recipe using only drawings
  • Create a map of your neighborhood
  • Look around you to find something to draw
  • Fill a whole page with drawings of leaves
  • Journal about something that happened this week

Write a list:

  • Your favorite TV shows of all time
  • 10 places you’d like to visit
  • Everything in your purse
  • People from history you admire
  • Books you’ve read this year
  • Things you’d like to try
  • Your favorite songs
  • Things you need to do this week
  • Your all-time favorite movies
  • 10 things that make you happy

Easy Watercolor-Look Backgrounds

One of my favorite ways to start a page is to mix Tombow Dual Brush Pen colors with water, right on the paper. Start by scribbling the first color loosely over the page, then add a second (and maybe a third) color over the top. Then use a wet paintbrush to blend it all together. I tend to gravitate toward spiral-bound watercolor or mixed media sketchbooks because they handle wet mediums better than regular paper. Tip: use small bulldog clips to hold your paper flat if you’re using water or paint.

Start an Art Journal by Jessica Mack on behalf of Tombow


Stick Stuff In

Pages of my art journal are filled with stamps, scraps of paper, cards I’ve gotten, packaging I particularly liked and things I find throughout the day. My favorite adhesive to use is Tombow MONO Adhesive Dots because it won’t warp the paper of your art journal, and it isn’t messy like wet glues or glue sticks. Sometimes I’ll stick something onto a page and then use it as inspiration for a drawing or pattern. Other times I’ll dedicate a whole page to a particular color and throughout the year, as I find things in that color I stick them in.

Start an Art Journal by Jessica Mack on behalf of Tombow

Start an Art Journal by Jessica Mack on behalf of Tombow


Create Swatch Charts

Another fun thing to do in your art journal is to create swatch charts of your art supplies. It’s a useful reference, as well as just being a lot of fun! Create fun shapes or drawings for each color, or just scribble the color down on the page and label each one. Try mixing and layering colors and taking note of the combinations you like.

Start an Art Journal by Jessica Mack on behalf of Tombow


Create Seasonal Sections

It can be fun to see how different your art journalling is from season to season. Mark the start of a new season with a dedicated page or spread.

Start an Art Journal by Jessica Mack on behalf of Tombow

Do you have other suggestions for ways to art journal, or prompts to get started? Leave a comment and let us know!


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