Art Journaling 101: Why Art Journal?


by Tangie Baxter

Art Journal Caravan Itinerary #8 by Tangie Baxter

Creative Team Member

Julie Ann Shahin, Creative Team Member

Art Journaling 101:

Why Art Journal?

by Julie Ann Shahin

You may have heard of Art Journaling and have wondered “what is all the fuss? Why should I Art Journal? What will I get out of keeping an Art Journal? I’m already a ( ____”insert noun here such: as scrapbooker or a card-maker or an artist or a photographer___), why should I try this as well?”  Let me give you 3 reasons to Art Journal.

Creativity often consists of merely turning up what is already there. Did you know that right and left shoes were thought up only a little more than a century ago?

Bernice Fitz-Gibbon quotes

by Julie Ann Shahin

Art Journal Caravan Itinerary #20: Understand by Julie Ann Shahin



I believe anyone who wants to exercise their creativity muscles can benefit from keeping an art journal. Just like any other muscle, if you don’t use it often, it will get weak.  If you don’t have time to work on your normal project, you can whip up a quick art journal page just for the fun of it to keep your creative juices flowing.

If you have been scared to try a new technique, an art journal is  the place to do it.

by Spunmonkey aka Jo

Art Journal Caravan Itinerary: Reinforce by Jo aka Spunmonkey

Where a scrapbook or a card may have a certain style to it, an art journal can get as messy and as ugly as need be as you explore in it. This is the place to experiment if there is no other place.  One such resource for encouraging you to try new things is the book Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith (

Here is a page I did in my own Wreck This Journal Book, a prompt to poke holes in the page… something that I never would have considered doing before, as I said, an art journal is all about experimentation.

Wreck This Journal

Wreck This Journal Art Journal Page by Julie Ann Shahin

Since this is the blog for Tangie Baxter, I will take a moment to say that if you are interested in learning new techniques in both digital and hands-on art journaling via online video instruction by Tangie herself, you will be treated to such delights by joining the Art Journal Caravan. Instructions on how to join are here.  You can watch see an example of Tangie on Youtube with her Junque Journal tutorial here, parts 1-3.

Junque Journal Intro by Tangie Baxter



Some people like to write in their art journals as a diary and add illustrations to it. Some like to use their art journal for their favorite affirmations or quotations.  Some like to use their art journal for cathartic emotional healing.  (See this Flickr group: Healing thru Art Journaling) It would be up to you whether to keep these pages private or to share them with others. Sometimes the sharing of the page is what is more helpful when you get positive feedback from an online community of other art journalers, whether a Flickr group or Art Journal Caravaners like the group at

by JoAnn aka joannknnrd

Art Journal Caravan: Itinerary - Paused by JoAnn aka joannknnrd

Often it is helpful to find creative prompts that will jumpstart your journaling in this process. Whether you google art journaling prompts or decide to join and use the Art Journal Caravan Friday Itinerary Prompts with Studio Tangie,  you’ll find yourself filled with inspiration.

Source: via Michelle on Pinterest


Direct Link to source



If I haven’t convinced you so far, then perhaps just the sheer joy of  “PLAY!” is a good reason to crack open an art journal, and just have at it.

  • Do you have scheduled “Me” time?
  • Is your scrapbooking or other craft-time really “Me” time or are you doing it for others, are the pages about you or about the ones you love? Is it really “PLAY”?
  • When was the last time you totally lost track of time in free play?
by Jo aka spunmonkey

Art Journal Caravan Itinerary: Travel by Jo aka spunmonkey

Art journaling gives you PERMISSION TO PLAY! Yes, we, as adults, have a need to play just as much as children do in the goal of living a balanced life. “Grown ups forget to play. But play, it turns out, is just as important for adults as it is for children. Adults spend too little time at play according to research, and would benefit greatly from spending more time at it.” (Source: Dr. Tian Dayton)

by Julie Ann Shahin

Art Journal Caravan Itinerary #2: Thrive by Julie Ann Shahin

Play gives you a chance to have a break from your everyday “role” as a businessperson, Mommy, Daddy, etc., and have a chance to take on a different role – here for example, as an artist.  Plus you get to experience such positive feelings as:

Involvement Complete focus and concentration, either due to innate curiosity or as the result of training.
Delight A sense of bliss and positive detachment from everyday reality.
Clarity Great inner clarity and a built-in understanding about the state of affairs.
Confidence An innate sense that the activity is doable and that your skills are adequate to the task. Additionally, you don’t feel anxious or bored.
Serenity A sense of peace and an absence of worries about self.
Timeliness Thorough focus on the present and a lack of attention to the passing of time.
Motivation Intrinsic understanding about what needs to be done and a desire to keep the moment of play moving. 





The above art journal page was created by Teesha Moore, who happened to be interviewed by Tangie recently. You can read the interview in the Art Journal Caravan forum, if you are a paid member.

Art journaling gives you a chance to practice new techniques, speak your mind, and just have fun. If this sounds like something you would like to start now, you can join us at the Art Journal Caravan 2011.

by daniaj
Hybrid Art Journal – Not Complicated by daniaj



Julie Ann Shahin is a New York-based art journaler, scrapbooker, mixed media craftster who specializes in hybrid and altered art techniques. She will be blogging regularly for on Tuesdays and Saturdays. You may contact Julie Ann directly at julieann dot shahin at gmail dot com

23 Responses to Art Journaling 101: Why Art Journal?

  • Carolyn says:

    Fabulous post. I loved all of the visual examples and really enjoyed reading everything and looking through the links.

    • Julie Ann Shahin says:

      Thanks Carolyn for visiting. I’m so glad that you enjoyed this post. We’ll be posting more Art Journaling 101 articles soon.

  • Su Hall says:

    This is an excellent post! I want to get started on my art journal right now! LOL
    Thank you!

  • Anne says:

    girl! I love every word!! I am screaming this link to the world! excellence!!!

  • Dania says:

    What a great post! Art journaling is the perfect way to learn new techniques without perfection. I love learning from other’s viewpoints.

    • Julie Ann Shahin says:

      Thanks Dania so much for visiting! I appreciate the feedback so much. :) xoxo

      Julie Ann

  • Wonderful article, Julie Ann! Thank you so much! Hugs!

    • Julie Ann Shahin says:

      *Smiles*! :) I’m glad you enjoyed it Anita. Thanks for stopping by. Look for more Art Journaling 101 articles coming very soon.

  • Balinda says:

    I am constantly trying to make converts of people!! Awesome article!!!!

  • Sandra says:

    I love all the visual inspiration, I need to go art journal now! :smile:
    Thanks for a great post JA!

  • Lelle Taffyn says:

    :lol: i love this and you have reinspired my visual diary joy – thank you so very much i am so refreshed and delighted – the sky really is the limit (sorry wrong) the entire universe is not!(the limit) we really are limitless when we do follow our bliss

  • carla says:

    I loved it.

  • Anne Porretta says:

    What a wonderfully inspiring post, Julie Ann. I’ve been ignoring my art journaling for a while, but I’m inspired to go right to my “studio” and create!

  • Leah Norville says:

    I think the problem I’m having getting started is I tend to over-think things. I bought some paper I wanted to use and now am not sure it’s what I want or should want. Like writers block, I get just stuck. I even wonder if I should put my time into something like a journal. Any words of wisdom? :sad:

    • tangie says:

      Hi Leah! I totally know how you feel, sometimes I have those same thoughts (still after all these years) and my best advice I can give is just starting is 90% of the battle. Don’t worry about what you are writing, or what you are including, just scribble, doodle and get some thoughts down on paper–try it for 10 days and see if you don’t just feel amazing afterwards!

  • hannah says:

    Nice work! :grin: How do you start an art journal :?:


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