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8 Artistic Journaling Ideas To Try Today

An artistic journal offers a space to play around with ideas and track inspiration. However, it’s sometimes hard to come up with fresh art journal ideas of our own. That’s where creative art journal prompts come in handy.

In this article, we’ll share 8 artistic journaling ideas anyone can use, whether or not they consider themselves experienced artists. First, we’ll start by explaining what artistic journaling is and why you should give it a try.

What Is Artistic Journaling?

Think of art journaling as a visual diary for creatively expressing thoughts, ideas, memories, and emotions through various art forms. In other words, artistic journaling allows for self-expression, combining elements of art, creativity, and personal reflection.

Unlike regular journaling, which primarily involves writing, artistic journaling lets you visually engage with your thoughts and emotions.

All you need to get started is an art journal, which can be a sketchbook or notebook, preferably something with thick paper. While consistency is valuable in creative journaling, there’s no obligation to make daily entries in your art journal.

Also, there’s no need to worry about creating masterpieces; the focus should be on expressing yourself as best as you can when journaling.

Benefits of Artistic Journaling

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Artistic journaling is more than a hobby; it can enhance various aspects of life. Here are some key benefits you can expect when you incorporate an artistic journaling habit into your daily life and routine:

  • Emotional release: Expressing your feelings through art can be therapeutic, especially as it does not necessarily require stringing words together. A creative journal provides a healthy emotional outlet, reducing stress and promoting emotional well-being.
  • Creative exploration: This form of journaling encourages experimentation; you can try new techniques, styles, and materials to foster your creative growth.
  • Self-discovery: As you engage in this less structured creative endeavor and let your creative juices flow, you’ll most likely uncover hidden thoughts, desires, and patterns in your life. Regularly doing this can lead to greater self-awareness.
  • Improved problem solving: Visualizing challenges and potential solutions on each journal page can help you think more creatively and find innovative solutions to problems. Also, research shows that art journaling can help individuals manage trauma and negative emotions.
  • Increased mindfulness: If you have difficulty being present, art journaling can help keep you grounded in the moment. Engaging in the creative process encourages mindfulness, helping you stay present and focused on the task at hand.
  • Goal setting and achievement: Using collages to create visual representations of your goals can make them feel more tangible and achievable.
  • Enhanced communication: Artistic journaling can improve your ability to communicate complex ideas and emotions with others.
  • Strengthened resilience: Reflecting on past entries can remind you of how you’ve overcome challenges, boosting your resilience and confidence.

Whether an experienced artist or a complete novice, you can leverage these benefits to unlock your creative potential and fill each blank page.

8 Artistic Journaling Ideas and How to Get Started

kayak expedition journal

Now that we’ve explained what artistic journaling is and its benefits, let’s look at eight creative prompts to kickstart your journey. Each idea comes with instructions to help you get started.

1. Collage Your Dream Vacation

Create a visual representation of your dream vacation using images, textures, and colors from magazines and travel brochures. You can even use your own drawings or sketches; the idea is to transport yourself to compose a visual love letter to your ideal getaway.

How to get started with this journal idea:

  • Gather your materials: Assemble the items you’ll need, including magazines, scissors, glue, and, of course, a dedicated journal for your artistic endeavors.
  • Explore your dream getaway: Go through magazines or brochures to find images and materials that resonate with your dream vacation spot.
  • Craft your collage: Carefully cut out your preferred pictures and arrange them thoughtfully in your journal. Feel free to add personal touches, like your name or a brief description, to make the collage uniquely yours.
  • Ponder your collage: After you’ve pieced together your collage, take a moment to contemplate how this visual masterpiece makes you feel. Think of what it tells about your travel aspirations and desires.

2. Explore Emotion Through Colors and Shapes

Dive deep into your emotions using colors, patterns, and abstract shapes ― no words necessary. Let your emotions guide your hand as you create an abstract masterpiece in your journal. Remember, this is a personal exploration, so don’t worry about achieving gallery-worthy perfection.

This unique approach allows your inner emotions to shine through, revealing a vibrant and vivid representation of your emotional landscape.

How to get started with this journal idea:

  • Gather your materials: Collect colored pencils, markers, or paints ― whatever mediums you feel drawn to.
  • Center yourself: Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and focus on your emotions. Let them become your creative fuel.
  • Begin with an open mind: Next, open your eyes and start drawing or painting on a blank journal page without any preconceived notions. Simply let your emotions guide your hand.
  • Follow your emotions: Lean into your emotions and let them dictate the colors you use and the shapes you draw or paint. This process allows your inner world to come to life on the page.
  • Reflect on your creation: Once you’ve finished your artwork, take a moment to contemplate it. What do the colors and shapes signify to you? What do they represent?

3. Problem-Solving Journey

Want to try artistic journaling ideas that combine words and drawing? Go ahead and transform your journal into a map of your problem-solving journey.

You do this by documenting a recent problem or challenge you faced and visualizing your journey toward a solution through a mix of illustration and written reflections. Track the twists, turns, and revelations that led you to overcome the obstacle and gain clarity in the process.

How to get started with this journal idea:

  • Identify a recent challenge: Reflect on a recent problem or challenge that you’ve faced. Choose one that you would like to explore and learn from.
  • Sketch your journey: Draw a path or road in your journal that represents your journey from the problem or challenge to resolution. Feel free to use a two-page spread for a larger canvas if you need more space to fully depict your problem-solving path in detail.
  • Illustrate key moments: Add visual elements along the path to represent key moments, obstacles, and breakthroughs you encountered during your journey. Think of these illustrations as visual milestones.
  • Add descriptions and reflections: Write brief descriptions or reflections next to each illustration or element. Explain what each moment (represented by a visual element) signifies and how it contributed to the problem-solving process.
  • Conclude with insights: In the final part of your artwork, write the resolution you reached or what you learned from the experience.

4. Daily Routine Doodles

Transform the ordinary into something special by doodling your daily routine. Chronicle both the mundane and remarkable moments of your life through playful sketches.

Whether it’s your morning tea ritual or a chance encounter with the unexpected, these visual snippets of your daily life can become charming snapshots of your world.

How to get started with this journal idea:

  • Choose a day: Pick a day in your life that you would like to chronicle in your art journal.
  • Sketch throughout the day: As your day unfolds, create quick doodles of scenes, objects, or people you encounter. Remember, it should be fun, not a chore, so don’t overdo it. Also, don’t worry about artistic perfection; instead, focus on capturing the essence and emotion of each scene.
  • Add captions: Include short captions or descriptions for each doodle. These annotations offer context and meaning to your sketches.
  • Identify and reflect on patterns: After you’ve completed your doodles, take some time to review your day using your playful sketches. Reflect on any patterns or surprising moments.

5. Design Your Ideal Future

This is one of the most powerful artistic and creative journaling ideas; it allows you to craft the picture of your ideal future, helping you to achieve the right frequency for manifesting your desires.

Regardless of your preferred artistic medium, this journaling technique offers the chance to ponder what your future holds and think of ways to bring it to life.

How to get started with this journal idea:

  • Define your focus: Begin by setting a clear intention for the aspect of your future you want to explore (it could be your career, relationship, or a specific goal).
  • Craft your ideal future: Starting with a blank page, draw or collage images and visual elements that represent your ideal future.
  • Enhance your creation: Add labels, affirmations, or motivational quotes to deepen the significance of your creation.
  • Contemplate your future: Reflect on how this visual representation motivates you to work towards your goals. You increase your chances of taking inspired action when you think deeply about the ideal future you just created.

6. Nature-Inspired Sketches

Take your journal outdoors and sketch the beauty of nature. Focus on the intricate details of leaves, flowers, or landscapes. Allow your creative mind to observe and capture rich textures and captivating patterns in the great outdoors.

How to get started with this journal idea:

  • Ready your essentials: Grab your creative journal and a set of pencils or watercolors, and head outside. Use whatever mixed media calls to you.
  • Look for inspiring surroundings: Find a spot that truly inspires you, whether it’s a tranquil park, a lush garden, or a hiking trail in the woods.
  • Find natural elements that call out to you: Choose a natural element to sketch, like a tree, a blooming flower, or a serene pond.
  • Observe: Pay close attention to the details and textures of your chosen object.
  • Sketch: Capture the essence of the natural world in your artwork. Remember to jot down any notes or observations that increase your connection to your surroundings.

7. Vision Board Collage

Create a vision board within the pages of your art journal to manifest your short-term and long-term goals, dreams, and aspirations.

Gather a collage of images and words that deeply resonate with your desires and artfully arrange them into a visual representation of your future. This journaling technique serves as a powerful source of motivation and a reminder of your limitless potential.

How to get started with this journal idea:

  • Gather inspirational materials: Begin by collecting magazines, images, and materials that align with your goals and dreams. Make sure to choose only visual elements that truly resonate with your aspirations.
  • Compose your collage: Cut out and thoughtfully arrange images and words that represent your aspirations. Incorporate colors and elements into your board that evoke positive feelings and inspire action.
  • Revisit your vision board regularly: Don’t let your vision board collect dust. Make it a habit to look at your vision board consistently. Doing this will keep you motivated and inspired to work towards your goals. Feel free to review your collage from time to time.

8. Memory Lane Illustrated

Revisit a cherished memory and illustrate it in your journal. Use your artistic talents to recreate that moment’s sights, sounds, and emotions. Relive the joy, laughter, or even the tears.

How to get started with this journal idea:

  • Select a significant memory: Choose a memory that holds special meaning from your past — a moment you would love to revisit and immortalize.
  • Engage your senses: Close your eyes and immerse yourself in the memory, recalling as many sensory details as you can. Envision the sights, sounds, scents, and emotions that define that moment.
  • Illustrate the scene: Begin to bring your memory to life on the pages of your art journal. Use drawings, colors, and words to recreate the scene as vividly as you can recollect.
  • Include personal reflections: Infuse your visual creation with personal reflections or anecdotes that capture the essence of the memory.
  • Relive the joy and nostalgia: As you craft this visual keepsake, embrace the delight and nostalgia accompanying revisiting cherished moments with this new journaling habit. That’s how you can use your artwork to create a bridge between the past and the present.


These artistic journaling ideas are just the beginning. Experiment with each one and discover which resonates with you the most. Feel free to adapt and personalize these journaling prompts to suit your unique creative style.

The key is to let your imagination run free and enjoy the journey of self-improvement and expression through artistic journaling.


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