Demystifying the art journal. Part 4: Page materials and layout possibilities.


Let the fun begin in our art journals as we examine how to use a spiral notebook in this role. Grab the closest ball-point pen, marker, crayon, or pencil. There is no right or wrong method to art journaling; however, I generally approach an art journal page in one of two ways…as a chronological log or diary with doodles and illustrations to express how my day progressed or I just start scribbling, doodling, drawing and writing on a blank page. Occasionally, I like to use a layout to organize my thoughts and artwork.

An infinite number of layout possibilities are available for you to explore, limited only by your imagination. You can start out simply by dividing your page into halves, quarters or other fraction; or, you could use various shapes like: circles, hearts, stars, or speech bubbles. How you use each element on your page is totally up to you. You can write, draw, or doodle in them. You can even glue things down into them.

Here are a few layout templates I created using a black fine point Sharpie permanent marker, a ruler and round lids to help me draw different size circles on my page.

Here is a complete art journal page from last week, where I used a black, fine point Sharpie permanent marker, color pencils, a black Paper-Mate Liquid Flair x-fine point pen, and a black fine point Uni-Ball Vision pen.


Any marker, pen, crayon, or pencil are great tools to use in a notebook art journal. Next time, I will talk about how to use paints and collage in your notebook art journal. Vincent van Gogh inspired the design of my art journal page since his birthday is coming up (March 30th). I used 3 of his quotes in it, too:

“I dream of painting and then I paint my dream.”

“For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.”

“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?”

I encourage you to start creating in your art journal. See what emerges as you express your heART.

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


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