Art Journaling 101 – The Many Faces of an Art Journal

Art Journaling 101 - a FREE e-course designed to gently introduce beginners to the basics of art journaling so you can find your way with more ease and less fearThis article is part of my FREE e-course Art Journaling 101 – which has been designed to gently introduce beginners to the basics of art journaling so you can find your way with more ease and less fear. If you’re curious about art journaling or overwhelmed with how to begin, sign up for the full free course HERE.

Art journals can come in many shapes, sizes, colors, and styles because each is an expression of the “artist” and everyone is unique. Today I’m sharing with you a few images of visual journals from some amazing women, loosely categorized by the dominant feature on the page.

Of course, this is by no means a complete list of styles that are out there, and you can see how even those in the same “category” are vastly different from one another.


(by Hope Wallace)

(by Julie Ann Shahin)

(by Josiah)


new journal
(by Pam Garrison)

5-6 XII
(by martynaw84)


Moleskine page 13(by Joei Lau)

(by Pam Garrison)

(by Jenn Olson)


what happened with Wednesday ?
(by Magda Bolinska)

(by Dina Wakely)

(by Linda Brun)


Connie Hozvicka
(by Connie Hozvicka)

Mary Freeman
(by Mary Freeman)

These images are not meant to be a reference to compare your journal pages to, but should be more of an inspiration to understanding that art journaling is interpreted differently by everyone. Art journaling is not defined by any certain “look”. There is no right or wrong way to go about it.

Whether you feel more comfortable writing with minimal color, or playing with layers of paint with minimal words, or perhaps a unique mixture that only you’ve come up with… it’s the right way for YOU.

Want to see more art journal pages? Visit my Art Journal Pinterest board. It’s full of inspiration!

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  1. Thank you for the shout out. I am honored to be in the company of all these talented artist.

  2. great pages that certainly are full of inspriation, kristal, it shows just how different we are! I bet you could give a promt for a page with the same products to use and each one would turn out completely different!

  3. my journal is not nearly as wonderful…but I love that I even HAVE one! LOL!

    • YES, bravo for continuing to art journal! Many people give up (or don’t even try) if they can’t produce stellar looking pages from the get-go. Your journal is YOU, and if you’re not happy with the way it looks, just know that it will improve over time to meet your expectations!

  4. So much inspiration from gorgeous artists!! It’s so good to see different types of art journaling, very inspiring!

  5. Hi Kristal, thanks for having me here, so honored to be part of this talented women, it was a great inspiration for me too. Thanks again.

  6. The artsy one’s are my favorite! But I like them all!

  7. First time on your blog .. came from Willowing. Enjoying your Art Journaling 101! Thank you for sharing it with beginners like me.

  8. Susie King says:

    I love looking at all the different styles. individual and unique in their own way. My own journal might have an awesome page and then you turn and the next few are “eh” but it is there just the same. Not every one is a masterpiece. Sometimes just playing with paints and inks are fun enough. That is the key for me…fun. I need the escape from every day stress and my journal lets me do just that. Thank you for sharing. :)

  9. Some very inspirational journal pages! I love the Doodle-y pages and the artsy pages.

  10. Haven’t gotten started yet, but working on it. Too many doctors appointments, and problems with apartment. Have to move, so seeing what I can find to work with. I am enjoying seeing what others have done.

    Thanks for letting me join……..Maggie

  11. Well, i have to say that some months ago i was afraid of the words art journal!…started searching for the best and !voila! found Visual Jornal -Strathmore and started working autodidact, (hope that is the word)…after a workshop online i am in love with this “too”, but i needed something else. Yesterday, watching your place found Art Jornaling 101, and here i am, with lesson #1…thanks for the opportunity of helping the needed! love, Petrin

  12. Thank you very much for your email lessons! I love it!

  13. Emma Camacho says:

    Signed up the other day for your free email art journaling course. I’m so excited to start getting serious with my art journaling. The ideas are a great inspiration and will bring so much into my art. Thanks for offering the class! Love it, Emma

  14. This is my first day here. It has been SO COLD where I live that I haven’t been able to get out to the store for supplies, but just looking at these beautiful journals has inspired me–and the cold will make its way into my journal early on, I am sure. I love the list look and color of Josiah’s journal page,but I am tempted by the collage format, too. My own journal is probably going to be a mixture of a lot of styles for a while until I am comfortable with what I like for myself. Thanks for sharing these pages and ideas Kristal!

  15. I agree in you art journal everything and anything goes. There’s no wrong answer.

  16. I know that no journal is alike but do you have a art journal or sketch book that would be best to start with? I was going to use an old book but after thinking about it, buying one might be the easiest? Any recommendations?

    • Hi Cody! Lesson 4 will cover the many different journals/books you can use. It really just depends on how much prepping you want to do, and how much water mediums you’d like to use. A journal with thinner pages will need to be prepped with gesso or by gluing pages together to get them thick enough to handle water without warping much. I personally have used cheap composition notebooks, handmade journals with thick mixed media paper, and moleskine sketch books.

  17. Daphne Boder says:

    A friend told me about art journaling and I am overwhelmed at all the possibilities. Thank you so much for posting an online class that’s free. Perfect for my budget. I look forward to trying some of the ideas you have put together.
    Again, thank you!

  18. Jessica McClain says:

    This course is wonderful. Being a stay at home mom with a wild 3 year old it’s hard to find time to do anything, since starting the course we both have our own journal and have a quiet 15 – 30 minute break to get creative in . He loves it as much as I do.

  19. Helen K. McMaster says:

    Thank you for posting this series…I have been wanting to art journal for the longest time but have been afraid I didn’t know how to do it. Seeing all of these examples lets me know that there REALLY is no WRONG way to do this….the only wrong way is not doing it at all. Thank again.

  20. Patrizia says:

    Thank you so much. I’ll try soon to make a journaling

  21. So glad to have signed up to your Art Journaling 101. Looking forward to tomorrow’s post already!

  22. I really enjoyed seeing the different styles and creative-ness of different people!

  23. Laila Fyhring Bernstein says:

    Thank you so much for such sharing theese very inspiring and beautifully different samples of art journal pages! Just love them

  24. I’ve had Lucia Caapacchione’s Creative Journal and a supply of watercolour pencils for about 2 years. Not a thing done, despite really WANTING to and having wild imaginings about what could be done.

    For someone like me, who has spent a lifetime relentlessly cramming their creativity down because of a drive for approval, the idea of “just start where you are and do it” has always been paralysing. Just seeing and hearing a real person explaining that it’s OK to do that is somehow qualitatively different than reading it.

    So I’m thrilled to bits to be signed up for the 101 course.

  25. Thanks for sharing all these gorgeous journal pages. My type of journalling so far (I’ve only been doing it for the past month, the 2 previous months being spent making embellishments and journals) tends to lack words. I paint more than write. I guess the very name “journal” seems to necessitate some form of writing to qualify, but I just never write in mine… Not sure if I actually do art journalling now lol.

  26. je trouve toutes ces pages superbes,que d’imagination,bravo a toutes

  27. I am thinking of starting an art journal, just to have a place to experiment with art. Not to journal my thoughts but to learn new techniques, figure out what I like and what I don’t. Really looking forward to it (buying an album soon).

  28. i really like to see other journals … helps me to figure out what i am doing…

  29. Ok-so I’m seeing journals that I totally get and are more like what I invision-does that put a persons idea into a category…as a jumping off point with the full understanding that styles change…as the process evolves…like in photography?

  30. Beautiful images!!! Thank you very much!!! >Greetings from Buenos Aires, Argentina!!

  31. Cyndy Beller says:

    I’m not chatty, my drawing skills are minimum, so I thought a journal would not be for me. Yet I feel the desire to move colors. Seeing these pages reminds me that there is no formula, no blueprint that must be followed. Put down what images feel right to me at that moment and if no words arise, so be it!

  32. What an inspiration these women are! Thank you.

  33. Paulettearlene says:

    Just want to say thank you for this course and the ideals!

  34. Myrna Williams says:

    Monday Nov 21/16
    Today was my 1st ArtJournal lesson using your free lessons Kristal. What I learned is there isn’t a step by step formula that I was looking for. However the good news was as I started to record my feelings I realized I was looking for a map so then I began to draw a map,a self portrait of sorts and list what things I have done and want to continue and what I want to try. So what I realized is that I like being a jack of all trades master of none and that if I don’t excel at everything that is ok.

  35. Thank you for the inspiration! I’m so excited to start this journey!

  36. some very talented people. Now I am looking at mine thinking it’s not nearly as good but I am new to art journaling so hopefully, I will get better. These pages are so inspiring and diverse, loving it.

  37. Magnifique. J’adore. Une source d’inspiration. Je vais m’y mettre !

  38. Teeesie says:

    I’m so excited to be starting this course !
    It never occurred to me that I had an ounce of creative skill or imagination until I got my cancer diagnosis — and then suddenly I felt this irresistible urge to create something….
    something which expressed how I was feeling and over which I had some semblance of control.

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