What is art journaling?
Art journaling is the same concept as a written journal, except instead of using words to tell a story, the artist will use images to record their thoughts. Art journaling allows an artist to draw, sketch or paint an idea that describes how they feel an inspirational moment or a specific thought they have had during the day. It is a visual diary that records an artist’s ideas.
Do you have to be an artist to keep an art journal? No, anyone who likes to doodle can keep a visual diary.
What can you use to create images in an art journal? You can use anything to create an image on an art journal page, including pencil, charcoal, watercolor paint, acrylic paint, oil paint, pastel, fountain pens, or your favorite art medium.
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Will Art Journaling Make You A Better Artist
You enhance your artistic skills every time you draw or paint something. Art journaling is a great way to strengthen your skills quicker because you will draw or paint an idea daily. You will learn how to be more efficient with the different mediums you like to work with, so when it is time to create a finished piece, you will already know how to use them.
Drawing in an art journal will also have you drawing different things that you might not typically work on for your original artwork, experimenting with different colors, or trying new supplies.
You will also be able to flip through your journal pages to come up with different creative ideas for new projects.
How To Pick The Best Art Journal For Your Journaling
The mediums used for your art journal will determine the best journal and paper types.
To help you decide on the best art journal for you, answer these questions below.
What size are your drawings? Some people like to draw larger objects, while others want to sketch smaller subjects. Art journals come in a variety of sizes. You will want to buy the right size paper for your journaling ideas.
What mediums will you use for your art journaling? Will you use a wet medium or a dry medium? Wet mediums are products like acrylic paint, gesso, and watercolor paints. Dry medium refers to graphite, colored pencil, and charcoal. You will want to purchase a type of paper that will work well for the mediums you will be using. For example, if you use watercolors for your journal, you will want to purchase a watercolor sketchbook.
Are you looking for a smooth surface for pen and ink drawings or a surface with many “tooth” for charcoal drawings?
What type of binding and cover do you prefer? Many artists prefer spiral binding journals because spiral-bound journals are easier to flip and keep the pages flat; however, sewn bindings are very durable.
How thick do you need a single page to be? A thin paper will warp if you apply too much ink or paint to them. If you like to add multiple layers of graphite to your drawings, you will also need heavier-weight paper. A lighter-weight paper will work fine for light sketches, black pen sketches, or rubber stamps.
How much are you willing to spend on a journal? The costs of journals will vary depending on the quality of the paper, the binding, and the cover. Set a journal budget and shop for a journal that falls into your budget range.
A great journal will handle the medium you use, have enough drawing surface for your drawings, strong binding to last a long time, and something within your budget.
Artist Top Picks For Best Art Journals
The Strathmore Softcover Mixed Media journal comes with a velvety dark brown softcover. It has 64 professional quality paper pages excellent for gouache, acrylics, watercolors, colored pencils, pen-and-ink, pastels, markers, and graphite. The paper is an acid-free paper made from 100% cotton fiber. This art journal is a top choice by artists who use both wet media and dry media.
The Strathmore Hardbound 500 Series has the same quality paper as the softcover journal and comes in three different sizes, 8.5″ x 5.5″, 11″ x 8.5″, and 14″ x 11″ pages. The Smyth-sewn binding allows the books to lay flat when opened, making them easy to paint on. The Strathmore hardbound is a good choice for traveling with your art diary for new art ideas.
This watercolor journal holds 48 acid-free pages ideal for watercolors. Other mediums like acrylics and gouache also work well on the pages. Two different watercolor paper sizes are available. 5.5″ x 8″ landscape and 9.75″ x 7.75″ portrait.
These are perfect for artists who enjoy sketching with graphite. The journal holds 80 12′ x 9″ lightweight pieces of paper, which is ideal for practicing dry media techniques with pencil, charcoal, and pastels.
This journal is excellent for sketching with pencil, ink, and pastels. The journal comes with 192 acid-free pages and a red ribbon bookmark. There are two sizes available, 4.5″ x 6.5″ and 6.5 x 8.5. If you are looking for a smaller drawing surface, the Fabiano journal is an excellent alternative to the Strathmore Metallic Journal.
This portable journal is perfect for painting and drawing with watercolors and other wet mediums like acrylic paints and gouache. The 8.5″ x 5″ acid-free, cold press paper is thread bound into a black-bound cardboard cover making it perfect for travel.
Amateur and professional artists prefer these top-picked journals, but the perfect journal for you is a personal preference. It will be determined by the medium you work with, the cost, and the quality of the paper. If you still have difficulty deciding, ask some of your friends what their favorite journals are. If you are new to art journaling, you might consider purchasing Strathmore visual journals. Strathmore is well known in the artist community. Look at the different series to see the best paper for your type of art.
Art Journaling FAQ
What is the purpose of art journaling?
Art journaling is a way to record thoughts with visual art rather than words. It allows artists to record their memories and emotions with pictures instead of words on traditional bullet journaling.
How do I start an art journal?
Starting an art journal is easy. All you have to do is purchase an art journal and start drawing your thoughts and memories. Make it a habit to sketch your ideas every day in your diary.
What Are Some Art Journal Ideas?
Your diary is a collection of your thoughts. It can be something as simple as something you bought today, a special place you visited, a happy memory of the day, a friend or family member you visited, something you saw in nature, etc.
What are mixed media journals?
Mixed media paper journals have thicker paper designed for painting with a heavier medium like acrylics or black gesso.
Final Thoughts On Best Art Journals
Now that you know what paper quality you need to record your art ideas, it is time to purchase some art journal supplies.
The critical thing to remember is that the best journal for you is your preference. Art journals are not expensive, so experimenting with different styles will not break the bank.