Art of Layers by Ronda Palazzari
Soup Week Begins

Art Journal Every Day: Getting Started


If you're new to Art Journal Every Day, all the posts can be found here.  Please read this post first.  There is a flickr group for sharing right here.  Remember, it's just ten minutes of nourishing your creative self every day!  No need to finish anything or even like it.  If you've done some art journaling this week and you've blogged about it, or put it on flickr, please leave a link in the linky list at the end of this post.  Thanks!

I get a lot of e-mails and questions about getting started with art journaling.  So I thought I'd answer some of the most frequently asked questions.


Q: How do I get started?

A: Just do it.

I'm sorry to steal from Nike, but it's as true a statement about art journaling as it is about running or doing anything athletic.  Nike tells you to strap on your shoes and just do it.  I'm telling you to grab your journal and just do it.

Don't wait until you're ready.  Don't wait until you have all the supplies or all the knowledge.  Don't wait.  Get started by doing it.  Splash some paint around, doodle with a pen, write down your feelings -- just do it.

There is no secret to getting started.  You want to be an art journaler, start art journaling.

Q: But, how do I get started?

A: Okay, so clearly you didn't like the "just do it" answer.  Here are five other ways to get started:

  1. Take a class.  There are a ton of online classes as well as in-person ones.  Many are free.
  2. Buy a book.  Again, tons and tons of resources here.
  3. Do a Google search.  Millions of images and a lot of help being offered.
  4. Buy a magazine.  Both Cloth Paper Scissors and Somerset offer Art Journaling magazines.
  5. Join a group.  There are in-person groups you can join (check your local art supply stores, libraries, etc.) as well as online communities.

Q: Can you give me links?  Googling is too overwhelming.

A: Sure.  Here are ten links to posts that have appeared on this blog, to help you get started:

  1. Inspired to Begin
  2. Creating Space for Art Journaling Every Day
  3. Evolution
  4. A Seven Day Plan
  5. My Three Best Tips
  6. No More Blank Pages
  7. Page in Progress
  8. What are Your Must Have Supplies?
  9. Art Journaling Week: Welcome!
  10. Tutorial: Start with a Strong Image

I also recommend that you work your way through all of the posts from Art Journaling Week.  It's pretty much a free class in getting started with art journaling.

And here are five art journaling blogs I like to read:

Hopefully you'll find something to inspire you in their pages.

Q: I made a page and I didn't like it.  And now I'm frustrated.

A: Is there a question in there?  

I'm teasing.

I know we all feel that we should be "good" at a new skill right away.  But it takes time.  Read this post about letting go of expectations.

I have been art journaling every day for two-and-a-half years and intermittently for a few years before that.  I'm still not as good at it as I'd like to be.  I'm definitely not as good as lots of people out there.  Anything worth having is worth working for.  Take classes, practice, read blogs, try new things, most of all: keep going!  Very few of us are lucky enough to be Mozart, who sat down at a piano and just started to play.  

Q: I don't think I'm doing it right.

A: Hmmmm...that's an interesting word: right.  There is no "right" way.  Even if it's the way that has worked for hundreds of other people, it can still be wrong for you.  Find the way that works for you.  Read this post by Karen Grunberg.

And realize that the way you art journal will evolve as you evolve.  It will change as you learn new skills, as the amount of time you have grows and shrinks, as new supplies come on the market, etc.

One of the reasons I believe so strongly in art journaling every day is that I think the daily habit really helps you figure out what's right for you.

Q: What supplies do I need to get started?

A: That's the best thing about art journaling!  You don't need anything specific.  You don't even need a journal!  You can start on loose paper and move on from there.

Q: Okay, but what supplies do you recommend?

A: Don't spend a lot of money until you figure out what you like.  My most-used supplies tend to change.  Right now these are the supplies I'm using most:

Look around your crafty space.  I'm sure you have most of these supplies sitting around:
  • a journal
  • masking tape
  • gesso
  • paintbrushes
  • letter and number stamps
  • permanent black ink
  • pens
  • paint
  • adhesive

Use what you have and once you find your style, then go out and buy some fun new toys!  And remember, sometimes having too many supplies can be overwhelming.  Keep it really limited until you're comfortable with art journaling.


I hope that these questions and answers were helpful to you!  If you have more questions, leave them in the comments section (so everyone can see the question and the answer) and I'll do my best to answer!

Before I go, I have a favor to ask of you.  Collectively as a group we know so much and have so much experience.  I would really appreciate it if you would take a moment to leave a comment sharing your best art journaling tip.  I think it would mean so much to all the people out there who are struggling to get started, struggling to find their artistic voice, struggling to find the time to art journal every day.  All tips are welcome -- big and small, whether you're a beginner or a seasoned veteran.  Whether you're currently struggling or not.  And of course, I will be very grateful to you as well!

Here is the linky list for this week:

Thanks for stopping by!