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How to start your first art journal page

Art journal pages

Art journaling was somewhat of a mystery to me for several years. I kept seeing people’s art journal pages on Pinterest, but I didn’t have a clue as to what it was all about.

As an artist, anything that has to do with art is going to interest me. Moreover, I also keep on hand a supply of paints, brushes, canvases, etc. This means that I need some way to use all these supplies that are sitting around in my house with nothing to do.

So even if you don’t think of yourself as artistic, or you have never done any artwork since your school days, I can show you a simple way to get started in art journaling.

Supplies needed

First thing you should do is to find an old book that has been sitting on your shelf, perhaps collecting dust, and get that thing off the shelf! Don’t have an old book? Buy one at the library, or a garage sale. You could even ask a family member for one of their old books they might not want anymore.

Here is a list of a few supplies to get started:

  • Some glue- Mod Podge is good, or if you don’t have any, use a stick glue, or liquid glue such as Elmer’s glue.
  • Some paint- you can get some cheap bottles of acrylic paints at Walmart or you local art supply store. It’s not necessary to buy expensive paints. The cheap stuff will do!
  • Markers-any kind of markers you have will do. I like Arteza’s markers.
  • Paper- this can be from left-over greeting cards (you have been letting them pile up in a drawer, right?), old calendars, magazines, old book pages! Old sheet music is great, too!
  • Scrapbook paper- I put this separate because you do not necessarily have to use scrapbook paper, but if you have some or want to buy a few sheets, by all means do!
  • Stickers of any kind- from planners, or even kids stickers. Also ribbon, lace, even old scraps of fabric.
  • White gesso- this is a primer for paints. I know the Walmart where I live carries it. Amazon also carries gesso. But if you can’t get any, don’t worry about it.
  • A few paint brushes- small to medium, not tiny brushes, but not large. This is for painting on a page. And one or two brushes should be enough.

Gesso your page

Blank page adding white gesso
Starting with a blank page

First, if you have white gesso, you need to use a small paint brush and spread some gesso across your page. However, it is not necessary to add a lot. Use it sparingly because it’s just to help make your page ready for paints or whatever else you are going to put on it.

If you don’t have any gesso, you can put a light coat of glue, or ModPodge on your page to glue down any paper or stickers that you to lay on your page. It doesn’t need a lot, because it is going to dry anyway, but hopefully not before you glue down your papers.

Decide how to decorate your page

Snoopy page
Snoopy

Do you have a theme in mind? For instance, I love Snoopy and Charlie Brown, so I made a few art journal pages dedicated to them. If you wanted to use Charlie Brown and Snoopy, you could get a newspaper clipping with the cartoons, probably Sunday papers.

If you use a theme, then look for something to go with it. I used newspaper clippings, I found a Charlie Brown day calendar at Hobby Lobby, and then I painted my pages blue, and yellow. Then I sketched out and painted Snoopy’s dog house. It turned out really cute, and I am looking forward to more Charlie Brown and Snoopy pages.

No Rules are Necessary!

The great thing about art journaling is that there really isn’t any rules. You can do what you want. If you want to just paint flowers, or doodles, then do that. Maybe you want to glue some old greeting cards to your page. You could do that and maybe attach a flower or ribbon, maybe even some lace.

Adding gesso on top of the paper
Adding gesso on top on the paper

Glue old clothes tags, pictures from magazines, or an old book, or maybe pictures from an old text book. Once you have done this, paint over the page with watercolors or acrylic paints, or just add washi tape to the pages or ribbons.

Another great item to add to your pages is old pieces of fabric if you have any. I had several pieces of fabric from when I would sew pillows for my grandchildren. They can be cut or ripped into small strips and glued onto your page. This is actually quite fun to do!

Adding a title

Once you have filled the page with all your decorations, or embellishments, then you will need a title for your page. This can either be a word paper pad purchased at the local arts and crafts supply store (or Walmart, if there is one close by), or write your own! That’s what I do!

Using my own calligraphy
Using my own calligraphy’s Spring is here!

Once you have your words, or title, on your page, once you are satisfied with how it looks, you can call it a completed art journal page!

Now, you are done!

Finished product!

Now, do me a favor, would you? Please comment below with your picture of your work, and let me know your thoughts. How was the process? Did you struggle in any area? Let me know if I can help you with anything that might have given you some trouble. I will do my best to help. Also, check out our other posts, and please follow us on Instagram and Pinterest.





We are two sisters that have been making different types of art and crafts for many years, and we want to share what we have learned. We are both married women, with grown children, we are believers in Jesus Christ, and desire to give Him glory in all that we do.

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