Sometimes it feels good to abandon the written word in favour of something a little different. Whether you struggle to journal with pen and paper or just fancy a more visual way to express yourself, art journaling is a creative way to get in touch with your thoughts and feelings.
You don’t have to be artistic – everyone can benefit from switching off and trying something new. Whether you fancy using your faithful old pencil or a brand new watercolour kit, the page is ready for you to make your mark.
We’ve gathered some simple prompts to help you uncover your inner artist and start your own art journal.
Making your first mark
There’s no right or wrong way to begin an art journal but try choosing stationery that will make you feel excited to use it. Our Art collection features notebooks that double up as vivid paintings for your desk and a blank canvas for you. Don’t forget to add any extra paper bits you fancy – stickers, washi tape or whatever you have at home. Take a moment to get settled and create a nice, soothing space for you to create in. See what thoughts and feelings come up, then put them on the page.
Look to the masters
If you don’t know where to begin, think of a favourite painting, artistic movement or artist. Try your hand at putting your own spin on a masterpiece and see what you can create. Notice what changes you make – are your lines more free-flowing or do you prefer neat angles? Do you like the same colour palette or have you chosen your own hues? Your artistic choices may tell you something about yourself or how you’re feeling.
Get in touch with your inner child
As children, we’re often encouraged to let go and simply create. There are a few different ways you can tap into this energy – try making completely random scribbles in different colours, create a finger painting or blow watercolour paint into patterns with a paper straw. Don’t worry about the outcome, but focus on creative freedom and allow your feelings to come out through the page.
Snip and stick
Collaging is an easy and quick way to tap into your creativity. Use old magazines and pick out images you’re drawn to – you may want to work to a colour theme, or simply pick out words and images that appeal to you. Cut them out, then arrange them in a way that looks good to you. You can also use collage to create your own affirmation cards.
Put portraiture on the page
Many great artists honed their skills by creating self-portraits. You could interpret this however you like – by using your favourite colours and drawing your favourite things, by sitting in front of a mirror, or by copying a photograph. You could also capture the likeness of a friend, family member or famous figure. What does it tell you about yourself, or your relationships?
Use nature as your guide
Seeking inspiration from the great outdoors is a lovely way to get some fresh air while you journal. Head to your local park, or go on an adventure somewhere like a lake, the beach or the forest. Sit in a quiet spot and use watercolours, pencils or paints to capture the scenery.
Stay closer to home and simply sketch what you see outside of a window at your place. If the weather is too dreary to be inspiring, try creating a page based on a particular season or type of weather that matches your mood.
Look to your senses
Instead of creating art based on what you see, allow yourself to be guided by music, by putting to paper the feelings that an album or musical artist gives you. You could try capturing different textures – like crumpled paper or the rind of a lemon. Or, create a piece of art based on food or drink – an Italian alfresco feast, or a cosy breakfast at home.
Memories and dreams
For a piece of art that means a little more, think about one of your favourite memories – a lovely holiday or a special afternoon with someone you love – and try and capture that with paints or pencils. You could also try looking to the future, sketching or collaging your dream job or somewhere you’d love to visit.
If you’d like to stick with words, you can illustrate a quote. Pick one depending on how you’re feeling – you may need something inspiring and sentimental, or perhaps a line from a humorous poem to pick you up. Try transforming the quote with calligraphy or surround it with illustrations based on the wonderful words.