Art Journaling 101 – Why Art Journal?

For many, art journaling is more than just putting color and words to paper. I have found art journaling to be a very spiritual practice, and it’s something that I hold close to heart in my life; so I wanted to share with you a short, fun video which sums up why I art journal and why I believe you should too… 

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(click here if you can’t view the video)


I believe that art journaling is the number one way to set your creative spirit free. It allows you to express yourself and experiment with your creativity in a personal, safe environment where no rules exist.

Once you get past the initial fear of the blank book staring back at you (yes, I will be covering that in a later post!) you will be able to spill open and create with such freedom that it allows you to find the clarity and self awareness you didn’t even know you were searching for.

It helps you to exercise your creative muscles without fear of ruining a canvas or other expensive mediums you may work with. Just like any other muscle, if you don’t use it often, it will get weak. Art journaling allows you to experiment and practice with your creativity in a way that never inhibits you. It gives you permission to play and make mistakes. It is such an inexpensive, quick activity that it becomes the perfect tool for keeping your creativity flowing.   

And as I’ve said before, art journaling for me is like a meditative practice; as I’m sure it is for many others as well. I get lost in it, completely engrossed in it. In a way, journaling makes time stand still. It stops your “monkey mind” and forces you to focus on what you’re doing. It’s an amazing experience to get lost in. 

Over the past few months, art journaling has become more and more an important part of my life. I have found it to be the only dedicated ME time that I can muster up, and it has become essential to my happiness in this busy bustling life! 

Why do you art journal (or want to)? Please share it with us in the comments.

My video was inspired by Junelle’s “Why Art Journal?” video
This “Creative Journaling” video is also amazingly inspiring!
Spread the Love!

    38 comments to Art Journaling 101 – Why Art Journal?

    • [...] Art Journaling 101 – Why Art Journal? « Kristal Norton From – Today, 8:32 PM What's the whole point to art journaling? What's all the fuss anyway? For those of you who don't art journal (yet!… 'cause you know I'm dedicated to converting you, right?) I thought I'd give you a heads up to how journaling … Via Journal For You! [...]

    • I never really art journaled before. I think it’s time I start!

    • Karin Hofvander

      I have always drawn and written, ever since I was a little girl.
      For many years I have been reading art books, flipped back and forth through books at the library. Dreamed to be able to get the pictures that I have inside me out on a paper. The Internet opened a larger “bank” of information and knowledge. And finally I found out to what is called Art Journals.
      For me, an Art Journal also become the meditative moment where I melt all that I have taken in with my senses and also upload my batteries: I feel elated after having drawn / painted and written a while in my Art Journal.
      It’s pure magic! :D :D

    • Oh my, oh my! I’m doing it right as I’m reading this post! I mean, I stop, read a few lines, get back to my journal! Wowwwm, one of my many! I’m jurnaling ever since I was 14, so that’s a long time. Of course, I was jornaling most of the time, but not art journaling, more like a mixed media journal without acrylics or any paints at all: just my words and some photos from mags or maybe my photos,,,,but recently I just rediscovered how beautiful is to lose and loose yourself into art! I just enter Pinterest every day and I love to get inspired by so many art journals out there! Some are not so perfect, like I believe mine it isn’t, but some are out-gorgeous beautiful! ;) I never get bored of creating and drawing things….even if they are not perfect! They don’t have to be, I’ve realized they don’t have to….such a release!
      I’m going back to journaling stuff….stuff I have in my head, stuff I see every day, etc. YOU keep blogging, I try to post as often as possible, but sometimes I only have time to journal, and so little for posting and writing about the process.

      Love you, many hugs,
      Cristina Parus recently posted..A little bit of this, a little bit of that…My Profile

    • Tonya

      Life is full of judgement, from how good dinner was, how you look, how you parent, how much money you have……my art journal is the one place that there is no judgement. I am free in that one special place. Free to be just me.

    • josie

      It is great. It is inspiring for my writing club. I love
      to write how grateful I am for things happening in my life.
      I am truly surprise how interesting my life is. It is not
      boring anymore. I also use it to know my self and to stimulate
      my intuition. And at the end of the day, I hope to leave
      my daughter something of value, who can not be bought with
      money, when one day I will leave this planet.


    • Joan

      I’m not an artist, nor have the patience to be a writer. But there are thoughts I want to capture and be creative about it. I believe art journaling offers me that opportunity.

    • I art journal, because work is getting dysfunctional and demanding due to Epic computer training, extra hours are taking away my support group time, art journaling in a take along box enables me to do it where ever I find 10 free min to help me keep my sanity, because in this season of my life, I happen to work with a lot of dysfunctional women who are not aware of it, at least I know mine, and I don’t want to add mine to theirs….art journaling keeps me sane and happy in a work world of lost unhappy nasty people.

    • For me . . . art journaling makes me feel like a kid again . . . FREE and without all the responsibilities of adulthood . . . it is an absolute pleasure . . . playtime all over again. I find it very absorbing and completely surprising. I never have a fixed idea of how the page will turn out and each page is so different. I am LOVING this adventure.

      Thank you for your inspiration. xxx

    • I want to ao art journaling to build a regular creative practice in addition to studio time :)
      Linda Ursin recently posted..Put your hand up if you’re a Pagan in need of web designMy Profile

    • I agree our art journals is a safe place for all the reason you have mentioned, which in this world, is hard to get any other way. My art journal has allowed me to deeply touch places in my soul I never had access to. Thanks for your wonderful Art Journaling 101, it’s great!

    • Thanks for your Art Journaling 101, it’s fabulous! My art journal has allowed me to deeply touch places in my soul that I never had access to. Art Journaling is everything you said and more!

    • I have been art journaling for a while, however I am primarily a textile artist. Art journaling allows me to play and explore ideas and themes that are outside my current work and gives me a personal space where my art can develop and sometimes even inform my fibre work

    • Elsie

      I see Art Journaling as a natural, creative, artistic extension of my over-fifteen-year Artist Way practice (Julia Cameron) and my use of the intuitive process in my painting, drawing and Zentangle art. It is a safe place to explore feelings, try out materials and express in symbolic ways what cannot be expressed as well in words. Also, it is just FUN!!!!!!!

    • Emily

      I art journal because it has been almost therapeutic to me. I do it because its a way to express my emotions in a free, safe and positive way. When I journal I can let go, create and imagine with no one to hold me back, becuase I can proudly call my work my own. Not only is it a form of expression its a coping mechanism for me when I get stressed and speding time each day on it has literally pulled me through a lot of tough situations.

    • Andrya


      I think this is the first time I am consious about what art jornaling is and I love it.
      I usually have ideas which I can’t work on inmediately so I know my journals will store well my ideas.

      Thank you for sharing and inspiring others

    • kim b

      That video sums it up completely. I am starting this year and trying and I need to do it, to journal it. I LOVE THE VIDEO!!!! Love it!!! Thank you!

    • Vicki

      I have been doing so form or creativity for year but never an Art Journal!! I am now about to start one, thanks to you. You have made it less frightening and given me permission to not paint pretty pictures. lol This was inspiring and I am signed up for the Art Journal 101. Thanks again for your wonderful words as well as your art. God Bless you.

    • Jeanne G

      Am a newbie but am loving combining all the artistic attempts which I’ve made over the past several years – none of them very good; am loving playing with new things like spray inks, etc. It’s just plain fun!

    • Joan

      I art journal for many reasons: memory aide, play, fun, to know myself better, to create an awareness

    • I am still trembling a little at the prospect of art journaling. At 55, I am just discovering that there is an artist within me. I am hoping that art journaling will help me to discover her thumbprint.

    • Mary

      Would love it if you would tell us what the wonderful music track is that you have with this video and who the artist is.

    • Kirsty

      I know once I start I won’t be able to stop .. it is just starting. I love these tutorials and inspirations they are so helpful!

    • I have been writing in journals …forever, I have always doodled on random pieces of paper, why in the world did it take 33 years to put the two together?!
      Its a wonderful eject button button for the mind. Sometimes you just need to get stuff out.

    • Michael

      I have just started journaling. I’m a retired high school art teacher and have been drawing and painting for over 60 years. I never realized how restricted my art was until I found art journaling. It’s hard, after all these years, to crawl out or my security … out of my comfort zone and realize there are no rules. Unfortunately I can no longer draw or paint because of a nervous disorder that causes my hands to shake, but I find that with a little patience I can journal around my disability. It’s like starting my creative juices flowing all over again in a new direction. It allows my mind to keep creating. Thanks, and everyone, keep creating.

    • Maiken

      I’ve never art journaled before. I’ve wanted to for long long time. A while back I bought a little watercolour Moleskine notebook. Now I’ve actually done a few pages in it. Nothing fancy, but hey I’ve never done this before. I get inspired by what I see around the internet – and then make it my own. I don’t have a lot of supplies, but a few watercolours, gel-pens is in my position. I come to realize that I don’t need a lot of stuff to create something; use what you have, and that is enough.

    • Susan

      I really enjoyed this last video about why art journal, something in it really struck me. My answer is I have no idea. It is something I googled on a whim. I have fallen away from my crafty lifestyle and have been missing (!) painting. I have such a full lifestyle I have a hard time fitting in things. I think I am attracted to attempting to start art journaling to see if I really want to get back into painting and crafts again, and at the same time help curb my appetite for creativity. I appreciate your series and am looking forward to seeing where this leads me. Thank you.

    • I want to try to start expressing myself more, in ways that are new and different to me…exciting ways.

    • SM

      Thank you for taking time to put this all in writing and in such a way that it becomes so simple to understand. Turns out I have been art journaling since a long time, I just didn’t know I was doing it. I thought art journals are supposed to be beautiful and complicated. Looking forward to the coming “lessons” :)

    • Hi! I’ve started my art journal 4 days ago :-) I have always loved writing and drawing, but in the past four years I’ve noticed I usually take visual notes in my notebook or planners. So I’ve decided to start a journal where to record the beauty hidden in every day.
      I would like to make it at school with my children (3rd graders). Any advice is welcome!:-)

      • That’s so great Adele! So many of us find it easier to express ourselves and remember things with visuals.

        I think 3rd graders would LOVE to art journal.. my middle child is in 2nd grade, and she just loves it. While on vacation, I brought my supplies to play with the kids, my nephew is in 3rd grade I believe and we made a journal together, then I told him that this is his space, he can do whatever he wanted in it, even scribble! He went on to tell me about an art teacher who would put the kids in time out for scribbling. So sad! He was so excited and lit up by the idea that he had his own special place to scribble and write freely. :)

    • Terry

      I have always had the desire to produce creative things from sewing, to lettering, painting and drawing. However, my inner voice can be critical of my own work. I trace that to my desire for perfection and a mediocre grade on an art project in 5th grade! Seriously, I am 62 years old! I think it’s time to let that go! I used to be involved in scrapbooking but just recently discovered art journaling and mixed media. I am having so much fun experimenting and learning what I CAN do. Thank you and the many others who are so generous in sharing your love. It is such great therapy!

    • SANDY

      I started art journalling in an old diary, I stumbled on a video about altered books and that led to art journalling. I am very interested in the aspect of art journalling as a healing process. I have read some of the articles on your blog and would love more information in that direction,could you point me in the right direction??

      • Hi Sandy, I think the best guidance you will find is right there in your heart. If you keep open, and follow your heart, it will lead to healing. Everyone has their own process, you just need to find yours. With that said, I would love to point you to any helpful articles, but I don’t have any in mind. Perhaps I’ll write something myself for the blog sometime. :)

    • I started going to my daughter’s at class with her this past year because I missed art so much. I didn’t realize it at the time but I believe it was to cope with my father dying a year ago. But I would wish I could do some at everyday but it would take a lot of time and mess. Then I discovered Art Journaling and started 2 months ago and I love it. I bought a book about it that helped me get started but I wanted more information and more techniques not just copying someone else’s methods. So here I am.
      Thank you!

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