Demystifying the art journal. Part Three.


Art journals and their beginnings (history) were defined and discussed in part one of this series; and, in part two of demystifying the art journal, a specific type of art journal, an altered book was introduced and discussed. As an empowerment and creativity coach and artist, I have employed an art journal to incite self-expression and develop creativity in myself and my clients. As mentioned last time, we could purchase a designated and often pricey “art journal” from an arts and craft supply store; however, any type of notebook or composition book will serve our needs. Most of us already have these at home; moreover, you can even use a three-ringed binder and standard notebook paper to get you started. Let us explore the different materials we can use as an art journal.

A notebook is familiar and convenient. And, for beginning art journalists, standard spiral notebooks are a great place to start because we can start with common writing and drawing materials like a standard ball-point pen. How many of you were like me, who had class notes covered in doodles in grade school and in college? Scribing notes and scribbling doodles are a great way to initiate an art journal.


A composition book has the same familiarity and convenience as a spiral notebook. They are also a bit more durable because the pages are bound with thread. Also, you can introduce some wet medium with composition book paper, as the quality of paper is a bit thicker.

A three-ring binder provides the art journalist with options and possibilities. You get to choose the type of substrate (such paper or cardboard), which means you can experiment with more media that would have weakened or damaged unprimed, raw paper in notebooks and composition books. The substrate/paper you use in a three-ring binder can either be kept in plastic sleeves or you could hole-punch your pages in order to keep them in the binder.

In all three options, you can bolster regular notebook paper by gluing 2 to 3 sheets together and/or using a medium called Gesso to give your page layer for paints to adhere. The Gesso also provides a bit of strength to the paper. Next time, I will discuss the different ways you can create art journal pages using both common office supplies to art materials and recycled materials.

All rights reserved. ©2016 by A.K. Orobko


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