Friday, November 22, 2013

Choosing Art Journaling Supplies

Now that you have picked out your journal, you have picked out your journal, right?.. it’s time to decide what supplies you’ll begin using in your art journaling. You don’t have to make a forever decision right now but, if you’re new and just getting started, you need to choose what supplies you would like to begin with.

Don’t let the idea of supplies shy you away from beginning to art journal. You don’t have to have a room full of expensive supplies in order to get started (or continue, for that matter.). I began with a Composition notebook and a cheap set of gel pens…and had a ball playing, doodling and journaling with just those for quite a while.

Some of my favorite art jounalists also use minimal supplies. Andrea Joseph uses a Moleskine journal and ballpoint pens. That’s it. But look what she does with those two little supplies:


Kelly Kilmer, who I adore, uses no paint at all…just papers, images, glue stick, tapes, and her chosen mark making tools which, I believe, are generally pens. Look how beautiful:

See what I mean? Two beautiful art journal spreads by two different art journalists using totally different sets of tools. You will find your style, too.

So the bare minimum that you will need is your journal of choice and some kind of mark making tool(s.) That is the absolute basic must-haves to begin.

Most art journalists like to add pictures or drawings of some sort to their pages. They can be clipped from magazines, the most popular place for images, or they can be printed on your printer (be careful about copyrights and remember that some inks run,) or you may want to sketch, doodle, paint or watercolor your images.

Just know that however you choose to go is absolutely PERFECT.

I want to let you know right now that there is not one correct way to art journal. There are thousands of right ways to do it. However YOU decide to make your journal your own is the right way for you at this point in time so don’t sweat the details. This is supposed to be fun. not something else in life to add stress in your life. I find it to be something that removes stress and relaxes me.

Back to supplies.

To make it easier, How about I make a list (with comments)…I love lists. Oh, and besides the first two, the others are ALL at your discretion…choose what you like and leave out what you don’t like.

  • Journal of your choice (see this post: Choosing a Journal)
  • Mark making tools. This can include any (or all) of these: pens, gel pens, ball point pens, fountain pens, any and all kinds of pens. Markers, sharpies, paint pens, calligraphy pens, charcoal, pencil, graphite,…anything that you can make your mark (journal) with is good. What are you comfortable with?
  • Images, magazine clippings, computer printouts, personal photos, copies of photos, your own art or copies of it, junk mail, fliers, take-out menus, weekly coupon inserts, and anywhere else you can think of to obtain images.
  • Ephemera-I had never heard this word until I started in mixed media art. Ephemera is basically scraps from your everyday life. The definition from is: items designed to be useful or important for only a short time, especially pamphlets, notices, tickets, etc. So just start saving and collecting things from your life that you find interesting.
  • Adhesive…you can take your pick of how you want to stick your images and/or ephemera to the page. There are glue sticks, tape, staples, glue (beware, some kinds can wrinkle your images and paper), gel medium. adhesive runners, glue dots.
  • Paint (if you decide to add paint), including craft paints, acrylics, watercolors, tempera paints, gouache, casein, spray paint, or pastels.
  • Color – There are other ways to add color besides paint. Such as beautiful papers, cardstock, colored pencils, watercolor pencils, inks, pastels, watercolor crayons, regular crayons, gesso, spray inks, gelatos, fabric, ribbon, colored masking or washi tapes. Use your imagination and see what other ways to add color you can think of?
  • Extras – This list could get long so I’m just going to name a few for now. Stencils, stamps, masks, paper scraps, rub-ons, chipboard letters or other elements, buttons, charms, stickers, yarn, embroidery floss, beads, words/letters cut from magazines, flowers, sequins, stick on jewels, ribbon, tapes (washi, masking, etc.), there really is no end to the things you can use in your journal. Use what speaks to your soul.

I hope that I haven’t overwhelmed anyone, Just keep in mind that you don’t have to use all of the things I have listed. This is an all encompassing list that you can refer back to over time. Print it out and stick it in your wallet so you'll have it if/when you find yourself wanting some new supplies.

My suggested supplies for a beginner would be:

  • your journal,
  • a few gel pens,
  • a little stash of images to use,
  • and a glue stick….
  • also, if you’re going to use paint, grab some 2/$1.00 craft paints to use in the beginning and
  • some cheap brushes. 

If you think of things I’ve forgotten to list, let me know so I can add it in (and I’ll give you credit for it, too.)

Next up, we will be getting started and taking on the blank page so be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss a thing.

Oh, and I do hope you’ll spread the word about Art Journaling Wednesdays (even if a few other days are thrown in here and there) so that others can learn along with us. Thanks!

Peace & Love,


  1. I've always been an artsy-fartsy kind of girl and it never occurred to me to add art media to a journal. I'm so glad I stumbled upon your page. I greatly appreciate your advise for a beginner such as myself. Thank you and have a Happy Turkey Day.

  2. Thank you for this, I am SO glad you came back, I missed you!! I love the way your blog posts make it simple. I don't get much time for art journaling and feel quite overwhelmed by my stack of supplies. Thank you for coming back, I look for your email each day.
    Michelle in Australia xx

  3. I saw your beautiful inspiring ideas and work on Pinterest and have decided to try to begin my own journal. I have lots of supplies as I have always drawn and doodled but have never thought to put it all down permanently! Thank you for the inspiration! Happy New Year from Oz.

  4. Love this post :) I think art journalling might be my new favourite kind of therapy! x


Thank you so much for taking the time to drop by. I am open to any comments, questions, suggestions, critiques, etc, so lay it on me...
Peace & Love,

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