How To Make Your Own Art Journal for 2023

Mina Murray once said, "Journaling is like whispering to one's self and listening at the same time." 

As artists, one of the many reasons we turn to art is to release our emotions and turn them into a visual reflection of our greatest hopes, fears, and dreams. This is why art journaling is perfect - when words aren't enough, you can turn to sketching, drawing, painting, and coloring instead.

A beautiful floral art journal spread by Nathalie with a watercolor background

Vibrant Liquid Watercolors

Crafting a personalized art journal is a great way to express your creativity and document your ideas, memories, and artwork. Not only is it a powerful way to connect with yourself, but it also helps you learn new techniques and track your progress as an artist! 

What Are Art Journals and What Makes Them Different? 

You may ask yourself, "what's the difference between an art journal and a sketchbook?" An art journal and a sketchbook are both incredibly valuable art tools, but they are different. A sketchbook is typically used to practice techniques and develop sketches that may eventually turn into finished artwork pieces. At its core, it is a place to experiment with new mediums or become proficient in tried-and-true art supplies without the pressure of achieving perfect results. 

Make beautiful art journal spreads by using washi tapes, illustrations, and stamps!

Woodless Coloring Pencils

On the other hand, an art journal is usually more personal and often includes mixed media art, doodles, written musings, collages, and other visual art, such as drawings and paintings. It's an excellent tool for self-reflection and an expressive outlet for people of all ages to let their creativity flow. Not only is it creative, but it is also therapeutic. 

Why You Should Start an Art Journal for 2023

An art journal provides a convenient and portable space to document your art and thoughts in one place. From documenting life events to simply having fun with art supplies, art journals offer endless possibilities for exploring creativity. You can use it to track personal growth and give visual form to abstract emotions or visions. You can also record your growth in art skills over time, or it could be something entirely personal meant only for yourself. The possibilities are vast and exciting, no matter how you decide to utilize art journaling.

You can set your goals, make a visual collage of the things you want to achieve for the new year, or even make a scrapbook page of your best memories. Whatever it is, having a record of your highlights and milestones of 2023 would be a nice thing to look back on.  

What Materials Do You Need for an Art Journal? 

Art journals are a safe space for you to explore and unleash your creativity and emotions. With some basic art supplies, you can begin your own art journal!

Add stunning texture to your art journal pages with embossing paste!

Embossing Paste

To start with the essentials, you will need art supplies like a sketchbook or notebook, art mediums of your choice, and other supplies like stencils, stamps, dies, etc. Depending on individual style and preferences, you may also use materials such as washi tape, photos, receipts, tickets, markers, watercolors, magazine or newspaper clippings, small found objects, and more. By sitting down with a blank canvas, some art materials, and imagination, you'll be ready to bring your ideas to life! 

How To Start Filling Up Your Art Journal’s Pages 

Once you have your art supplies, it's time to start creating! To help you jumpstart your journey, here are some art journal ideas, prompts, and tips to help you fill up your pages for 2023:

1. Envision Your Page’s Theme or Layout

When making your first layout, try to imagine the overall goal of your page. Is there an art journal prompt you're following, or maybe you just want to visualize a particular emotion? 

Perhaps you have a poem you'd like to stylize or a sketch you've had in your mind for some time. In art journaling, there is only one rule: there are no rules!

Make one-of-a-kind spreads by using metallic watercolors with your black art journal backgrounds!

Metallic Watercolor 14 Pan Set

Whatever you do with your pages, whether you center it around a specific color scheme, fill it with pictures, or even paint a watercolor scene against some song lyrics, envision your layout. It will be easier to do the actual process when you have an outline of what you want your page to be about.  

2. Make Your Page’s Background

After deciding on the theme, you can start making your background. You can use acrylic, watercolors, gouache, stamps, stickers, embossing folders, and other materials - anything goes! You can even make a collage of torn scrap paper, patterned paper, and washi tape. Again, there is no limit to what your background should look like. The idea is just to have a starting layer for your page's other elements

Spruce up your art journaling by adding the vibrant and bold colors of alcohol markers!

Alcohol Markers

3. Add Embellishments for Texture and Dimension 

Adding 3D elements to your art journal is an excellent way to make it more unique and interesting. This could mean literally anything - from buttons and stickers to die-cuts or even something as simple as a sequin or paperclip! Raised decorations can add texture to an otherwise flat surface, instantly giving it a dynamic feel. 

A great art journal idea is to pair your pages with wow-worthy 3D die-cuts!

Stationery and Tools

Even found objects from nature, like rocks, leaves, or sand, can lend themselves nicely and create an entirely different look each time. Combining these items with traditional art mediums such as paint and markers adds exciting layers you may not have previously thought of. If you're ever feeling stuck creatively, grab some of your favorite items around the house and see what kind of art is waiting just beneath the surface! 

4. Play Around With Your Page’s Composition 

Creating art can help bring to life the ideas stored away in our minds. Experimenting with compositions and textures in your art journal is key to expressing yourself artfully. You're free to let it all out as you play around with unique color palettes and art materials--there are no limits to what you can create! You can write in different directions, stamp upside down, and make unbalanced positioning - whatever your mood entails, let it show through the arrangement of your page’s elements.

Make beautiful patterns with masking tape and experiment with different layouts!

Satin Masking Tape

5. Include Some Writing, Typography, or Calligraphy

Writing, calligraphy, and typography can all bring an art journal to life! The artful blending of words with art can generate both a visual and an emotional response when you view your pages. Adding written components to art journals allows you to share stories, thoughts, or feelings connected to the art itself. Using writing alongside your images, sketches, and paintings allows your art journal to tell your most personal stories. 

 Another great art journal idea is to experiment with stamping for some gorgeous textures and patterns!

Papers & Surfaces

You can write your favorite poem, song lyrics, what you felt during the day, your fondest memory, goals for the next five years, or your holiday wishlist. You can even write a letter to your future self - again, let your creativity dictate what you put on your pages! 

6. Add Doodles, Markings, Sketches, and Scribbles

Even the simplest sketch, doodle, or scribble can add character, interest, and personality to your art journal. Using different shapes, strokes, and symbols conveys feelings, creates balance, and draws the viewer's eye throughout your art journal.

 Find the perfect water-based markers for all your art journaling and doodling needs at Artistry by Altenew!

 Hawaiian Shores Brush & Fine Tip Pens (Water-Based)

With each art journal page you make, you have a blank canvas that's ready for your signature style. Everyone has their own unique markings that put a personal stamp on their art, so make your own!

Bring Your Creativity to New Levels With Art Journaling!

In conclusion, art journaling is a great way to get in touch with your inner thoughts and emotions as an artist. It can be a fun, creative way to express yourself and document your journey as an artist. As 2023 rolls around, try starting one for yourself - you might just make art journaling a habit! 

If you're looking for more inspiration on art journaling, painting, sketching, and other artsy projects, stay tuned for our upcoming Artists' Creative Corner series! We'll be featuring more fantastic artwork, techniques, and advice from artists around the world. Thanks for reading!


  • Artistry by Altenew

    Thank you for your kind words, Sunny! We appreciate it so much. <3

  • Sunny

    I really enjoy reading your blog. Inspires me.

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.