Getting Over The Fear of Starting an Art Journal

Hi friends! Happy Monday! I was inspired to write this post by someone who recently posted to my Facebook Page, showing me an art journal page that she created.  She explained that she had been meaning to start one for a long time, but was too intimidated by the blank white pages to start. I wanted to talk to today a bit about things we run into when we’re new to keeping an art journal, and how to overcome them!

Worried about not having enough supplies? Check out the following post from Kristal Norton about what you really need to start an art journal (it’s not much! I’m positive you already have all of it!)

This post has great ideas to show how easy it really can be to keep an art journal
This post has great ideas to show how easy it really can be to keep an art journal

You can use a simple notebook and pens, colored pencils, crayons, scrapbook paper, found objects, and anything else you have laying around! Remember that this is a journal, a sketchbook for mixed media, it’s not meant to be a finished work of art, and you don’t have to show it to anyone.  It’s for you – to experiment and learn techniques to use in your finished works.

Wanting to add some words to your art journal? I love the look of visual art along with written script, but staring at a blank page can be hard to stir up the inspiration to write something, let along draw something. The following is a great resource full of personal journaling prompts to help you fill up your art journal with meaningful phrases:

These prompts will ensure you're never stumped on what to write in your art journal!
These prompts will ensure you’re never stumped on what to write in your art journal!

The above prompts from Creative with Kids range from simple open-ended questions like, “What parts of yourself do you regularly hide from others?” to list-type questions like, “Name 10 activities that make you feel good, and make you feel like yourself.” You can see how these types of questions can lead to filling in a page of writing pretty easily, and it’s all personal to you to go right along with your personal visual expression.

Tip: You can start your own written journal, too, and use the above prompts there. Then simply rip out the page and glue it into your art journal, or re-write the entry into your art journal using a more artistic handwriting.  This allows you to get your feelings onto the page in the written journal without worrying about if the words look neat and tidy or not. I personally like the messy, emotion-filled look of a journal, so I like to go with the original page in an art journal, but it’s up to you!

And finally, onto the subject of pasting a page into your art journal – it doesn’t have to be a journal entry. Put in a favorite recipe, a movie ticket stub, anything at all! You can treat your art journal like a Smashbook, or an inspiration journal. Think of a physical Pinterest board. No one says it has to be all your own handmade artwork, it can be a collage of found objects, like this one:

A simple entry like this goes well with other more painting-like art journal pages.
A simple entry like this goes well with other more painting-like art journal pages.

The above photo, from Neurophia, shows that using simple washi tape to attatch a recipe into a journal is enough to start making an appealing art journal. It’s all up to you, so don’t feel intimidated by that white page! There is no specific way to keep an art journal, that’s the beauty of it – there is no way to do it wrong! It’s a tool to express your creativity and give you inspiration for future projects, that’s all!

I hope you’ve found this post helpful! Leave me a comment below with how you like to use your art journal, and till next time, keep creating!

-Ashley <3


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  1. Omg thank you so much for this! I thought I was a spaz for having all these amazing ideas in my head, but could not seem to get them out and onto a page of my art journal! It’s not only wonderful to hear these awesome tips, but also to know I’m not the only one! Thank you so much for posting this

    • Yes you’re totally not the only one!! I struggle with it too…it’s just something we have to work past! But yes it’s nice knowing you’re not alone in the struggle, lol!

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