Art Journaling 101 – What is Art Journaling?

You may have seen the many art journal pages floating around the net, but have you wondered what really defines an art journal? Or perhaps you’ve thought that art journaling is only for artists?

Well, I’d like to clear things up a bit. Art journaling is for EVERYONE, no special skills required. You don’t even have to know how to draw a stick figure. Promise!

So, what is art journaling? Watch this short, fun video to learn more about what art journaling is, the history behind it, and what the process is really all about.

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

Images used in the video with permission:
My 1st Art Journal Spread by Irmute
Art Journal – Stress by thekathrynwheel
Journal Page by paulateachstm


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 fear
This 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.


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  1. Theresa Merkling says

    Thank you for sharing – the video was particularly liberating. I also find that I feel my pages don’t compare so maybe I shouldn’t – you’ve convinced me that I should. Thank you.

    • Glad you enjoyed it Theresa! Everyone has that urge to compare, but journaling is just one of those things that you really shouldn’t. It’s all about putting YOU on paper (or in a book), and there is only ONE YOU in the world! ;0)

  2. Hi – great video Kristal on encouraging folks to try art journaling! I think once we compare ourselves to others we stop being authentic. As an avid art journaler i find that like you mention it’s the process rather than the finished project that’s important.

    Thanks for sharing your poignant thoughts on something which is near and dear to my heart.

    Love, Violette

  3. Kristal, I so enjoyed that video!.
    You’ve given me confidence in myself and encouragement to find my own style of Art and Art Journaling and to say that “it’s ok to be my creative self”, whatever that maybe or whatever the page turns out like!
    As you say, its the “process” that frees your mind. I’m starting to learn and relax with my Art now!
    Art and Art Journaling should be fun and enjoyable not stressful and disheartening and comparing with others people’s, We should be getting the inspriation from others people’s not thinking we’re not good enough!!!
    I’m so looking forward to your next video kristal
    thanks for all your great support
    love your blog and tips….. i’ve been taking photos, doodling and taking colour inspriation this busy weekend !
    have a good day,
    paula x

    • Paula, thank you so much for your ever flowing kindness! You have definitely been an inspiration to me also. I’m so happy to hear you are enjoying the videos and that you are feeling more free in your art. Keep at it girl! ;0)

  4. I am so excited about this. It is so great to be “raw material” as an artist~in~training because of what you are sharing! Thank you! : )

  5. Krystal,

    Thanks for letting me know about this. I’ve done art journal ing before but not like yours. I just doodle and draw. I would like to paint and do mixed media though. So, I will try your class. What kind of paper does the journal need to have? I have lots of supplies so I’ll just jump in! Your awesome for giving this for free. :)

    Your fellow flyer, Chandra

    • Hey Chandra! Thanks for stopping by. There are so many different forms of art journaling (as you’ll see in the next lesson), so don’t feel you have to jump in with a ton of supplies like so many other mixed media artists do. Drawing and doodling in your journal is a perfect start.. just try adding in some (more) color to it!

      As far as paper, it depends on what mediums you’ll be using, or better yet how much water you’ll be adding to your mediums. You’ll need something that can handle what you’ll be putting on it. I went into detail about deciding on what journal to use on day four.. here’s the link: Hope you enjoy the course!! :)

  6. this is great, kristal! i’ll be following along because even though i’ve kept sketch books *and* journals since i was a kid, my art journals are booooooring. despite magazines and books full of technical inspiration, i haven’t made any serious time for art journaling until just a few weeks ago when i decided that perhaps that’s where i could explore some of the “darker” stuff i don’t necessarily express in my art – what perfect timing ;)

  7. Love the video and can’t wait to watch the rest! You have a way with the camera! (She typed in a non-cheesy way.)

  8. Sandy King says

    Hi Kristal… love your videos and I’m having a great time playing with this new expressive process. I too have doodled my whole life. Love collages , so this is perfect for me. But wow my questions have to do with the process. I have Gesso and Medium Gel Mat, as well as Modge Podge. Lots of acrylic paints and watercolours. I’m trying to watch what you do and see if my products are working .

    So helpful to have the links for reference, but may need to take some of my questions off blog and email you ? But I’m loving what your doing and the videos are terrific. Looking forward to the rest.

    • Hi Sandy, I’m glad you’re enjoying them! Gesso, Gel medium, acrylics, and watercolor are actually my top supplies for art journaling, so you have everything you need. Just play around and see what you come up with. Have fun!!

      Feel free to email me if you have specific questions. If its too much to answer via email, it may inspire a blog post! :)

  9. I actually love your whole art journalling series! Please keep posting!
    I particularly like the backgrounds post. Such beautiful work.
    Thanks again

  10. I am just getting into this art journaling. it is an “anything goes” kind of thing. YOu just can’t make a mistake. thanks for sharing. I look forward to your videos

  11. Email on the way Kristal .with specific questions .. Can you tell I’m keen :0… Found my way down the rabbit hole of your Pinterest site . That was such fun . I think this is a great way and safe learning environment into mixed media art. Loving it.

  12. Hello, i will thank you for taking me in this art journaling course. I am Norwegian and not so good to write in english so hope you all will understand me. :)

  13. I love your website and your ecourse on Art Journaling 101. I wish I’d seen this earlier. I got started in art journaling about 3 months ago and found it incredibly liberating. I’ve been so excited about this that I started with eight of my grandchildren by helping them make their own art journals. I’ve been blogging about art journaling and collecting pics and websites on Pinterest. My problem is buying a lot of cute stuff for journaling that I don’t really need.

  14. Looking forward to the classes!

  15. Thank you for the work you have put into your blog and getting the word out about art journaling. It wasn’t until my mother died that I discovered my ability to actually draw something other than a stick figure. She was very artistic and I was always envious of her artistic ability. I believe I have now gained that ability as a means of keeping her memory alive. I cannot wait to get a book that I can use for a journal so I can begin my journey down this amazing road. Thank you soo very much!!!

  16. Hi Kristal, just ran across this site and flt like diving in. I have just been spending lots of time looking at all the lovely art journal pages on the internet, I mean many days looking. How do I start? I feel overwelmed by all the products and techneques that are used. I have bought some supplies and some from the childrens craft cupboard.
    Why arnt more men journaling?
    Looking forward to your daily inspirations.

    • Hi Peter! So great to have you here! Why aren’t more men journaling?.. that’s a great question and one I’ve pondered about myself. Perhaps it has something to do with how society seems to frown upon men expressing their emotions. But that seems to be something that should/would be changing in this new world of ours. I’ve stumbled upon a couple men journal artists: Jonathan Manning aka the “Artistic Biker” at and Dave + Eric over at

      As for where to start? So many of us (me included!) have fallen into the “research trap” of watching youtube videos, reading blogs, etc about journaling before even beginning. It’s tough to begin, but just remember that art journaling is for YOU. You don’t need to learn a ton of techniques or purchase a ton of supplies. It’s the process of journaling, more than the finished result that is rewarding. Good luck on your journey! :)

  17. Hallo Kristel,

    Thanks so much for the first lesson! I loved it and am looking forward to the next!

  18. Okay…lets get started! You got my attention, and I think I am going to find this to be an interesting journey!

  19. I love this and I can’t wait to start out!

  20. Kristal, thank you so much for putting this course together and offering it so freely. I feel your heart longs to bless and encourage the vital component of creativity that lies within each person, whether they consider themselves to be creative or not. May many blessings be multiplied back to you for your generosity, in all areas of your life and art.
    Blessing hugs,

  21. Wonderful! I squirreled all of your emails away, and now I am watching the videos. I’ve journeyed from altered books to collaging, painting, & stamping to journaling in Brené Brown’s course to yours. I haven’t been writing much, but I used to, and now I plan to try a writing/art journal.

  22. I just want to say a big THANK YOU !!!!!! I am from Greece where art journaling is just like a newborn child which is eager to learn more and express itself freely! I am so excited to learn so much from you!!!!!!!!!!

  23. This is a great description of art journaling. I always wonder if I’m good enough to art journal and I doubt my skills after seeing so many wonderful pages around the web. Thank you for sharing your view point on this. It definitely inspires me and encouraged me to move on with my journal. Thank you.

  24. I’m a musician and lately I’ve felt this void in creativity. I found this course and it all makes complete sense to me. It’s filling a huge void for me. Thank you! I look forward all the lessons!

  25. I am new to art journaling. I have been interested in this for quite a while now, and don’t know how to even begin.
    I was so excited when I found your website! Thank you for offering this! I am looking forward to learning more….
    Take care.
    Debbie Reed

  26. Carolyn N. says

    Thanks so much for sharing your time and talents with us. This is invaluable information for those of us who are just starting out! Blessings to you……..

  27. Hello Kristal,

    I stumbled across your blog a day ago and it was exactly what I needed. I loved the first lesson and I’m really looking forward to the next ones.

    Especially what you said about comparing your art journal to examples on the internet was important to me because I’m always hypercritical with my own work. Thanks a lot for giving me encouragement and new motivation!

    Greetings from Germany


  28. Thank you so much for this. I have a couple of art journalling books which have sat on the shelf for a couple of years, right next to the unused art pens and watercolour pencils. Despite their assurance that there’s no right way of doing this, and despite knowing intellectually that art is personal and subjective, it took seeing you saying this for it to get through. There’s a great deal to be said for the power of video.

    I’m very excited about this course.

  29. j’ai visionner quelques vidéo et j’ai essayer c’est pas top mais c’est un début,merci pour tout ces conseil et ses aides qui me sont bien précieuse…plus sa va plus j’aime le mixed media….

  30. Just have to ask if that’s an Irish Clauddaugh (sp?)ring you’re wearing…I never take mine off and it is that size…am new here and have friends I hope will join too…

  31. Thank you for the video Kristal. I especially liked the part about comparison-your body to model-I’ve been a hobbyist photographer for 5 years now and that is one thing a budding photographer has to learn-so I’m hoping to be able to apply that to art journaling-

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