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The Power of the Art Journal

If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that I love journaling. For the past few years I've been keeping up with yearly Moleskines and it's been incredibly therapeutic for me. I fill the blank white pages with all sorts of artsy spreads over the course of 12 months, and by the end of the year I always have a lot of beautiful memories to look back on. 

Obviously journaling has changed a lot in recent years. Today it's more about making art than about keeping a written diary like when I was growing up. As great as it is to write down your day-to-day life in a journal, it's much more fun and easy to just paste things and doodle. However, I think art journaling can be just as personal and memorable as writing down your thoughts. Many of the spreads I make rely on how I'm feeling at a certain time during the year, so even if I'm not telling my future self exactly what I was doing on February 17th, 2018, I can know what songs I was listening to or what movies I had just seen. (For the record, it's "I'm Ready" by AJR + Black Panther.)

In 2018 I've been focusing a lot more on making a journal of which I'm proud to show off. I've done flip-throughs of both my 2016 + 2017 journals, but for both of those I ended up giving up for part of the year. This year I want to consistently create content I love that reflects my life and who I am becoming. I've done a lot more collaging than I did in the past, and I'm super proud of what I've made so far.

If you're looking for some quick tips on how to keep up with journaling, check them out below!

MAKE YOUR OWN RULES...OR DON'T

A lot of people ask me what are my "rules" for my art journal, and I definitely have some, but I don't like feeling restricted when making art. It's your art, so you have to make your own decisions about how you make it. For instance, I don't make to-do lists in my art journals & I use mine as more of a scrapbook than anything. I don't usually put in a lot of photos, but I like to make each page a piece of art rather than just scribbling random things in the margins.

ACCEPT THAT SOMETIMES IT WILL BE UGLY

It can be scary starting a journal because you don't want to make any mistakes or mess up. My Moleskines are all over 100 pages (and I try to use both sides of each page), so I have to decorate a lot of blank pages. Thus, it's no surprise that I make some ugly art and some beautiful mistakes. Once you accept that you won't love every single page, it makes it easier to get started.

DON'T BE AFRAID TO COPY YOUR FAVES

One of the most difficult parts of art journaling is that it's easy to lack inspiration and feel stuck. I am giving you permission right now to use your favorite artists and journalers as your muse. My favorite thing to do when I'm at a loss for ideas is to check out Pinterest or Tumblr and try mimicking another artist's style. Obviously you shouldn't plagiarize things, but as long as you tailor it to your interests and credit the artist, it's healthy to test out other people's ideas!

INVEST IN YOUR SUPPLIES

I know it seems ridiculous to buy art supplies as an adult, but it's so worth it! Whether that's markers or pens or even just a printer with some nice color ink (it's expensive yikes), you will be much happier making art if you have the right tools to make it. Here's a list of some of my journaling essentials!

  • Brush pens (Tombow brand)
  • Pilot pens (the clicky kind)
  • 4-5 random magazines
  • Scissors
  • Wrinkle-free glue stick
  • Printer + colored ink
  • Watercolor palette + brush (the kind that has water in the brush handle)
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