Creative Ideas to Start your own Unique Art Journal

Creating an art journal can allow you to experience the beauty and wonder of each season! It can slow down and capture moments that otherwise fly by unnoticed. Rumriver Art Center Founder Larry Weinberg has highlighted a few ideas below to create your unique Art Journal.

  1. Select an Art Journal

My favorite way to keep drawing is through my art journal. I bring it everywhere, so if something catches my attention I can do a quick sketch or sit down and take my time. Choosing the right art journal is important, you want a journal that is small enough to go anywhere and big enough to express your creativity. The one I love is the Canson Sketch Universal – 100page microperforated with a spiral spine.
Size: 5.5 X 8.5″ (13.9×21.6cm)
Paper: 65lb (96g) – You need at least 60lb paper.

2. Personalize your art journal cover.

Step #1: Coat the cover with a gesso, use 2 to 3 layers of thin gesso to prepare the cover. Let the gesso dry.
Step #2: Design your cover in pencil.
Step #3: Use your choice of permanent art markers (not crayola or any washable markers) watercolor pencils, oil pastels, acrylic paint ect.
Step #4: Let dry and use a Gloss medium varnish (I use liquitex). Coat the cover with a thin layer of the varnish and let dry. The varnish will dry in just a few minutes and will protect your journal, its a permanent finish.
Step #5: Attach your favorite mechanical pencil to the wire spine and write the date on the inside cover.

3. Create a Journal Two Page Spread

One of my favorite art projects is doing a two page spread, it frees students from having to keep their ideas on just one page. To get them started I like to use a landscape artist, for this project we will use Vincent Van Gogh 1888 painting “The Sower”.

Step #1: Open journal to two empty pages with no images on the back of either page. Using a sketching pencil draw the horizon line about a third of the way down from top of the journal.

Step #2: Continue to sketch in the main details; the wheat field, farm house with trees. Then Add the sun rising from the wheat field. Make sure the rays from the sun go right to the edge of the page. See the example above.

Step #3: Next choose your medium to finish your work, in the example below I used soft chalk pastels. Chalk pastels or Oil Pastels work the best for Van Gogh landscapes, they give students the tools to mix, blend and layer color.

Step #4: When using chalk pastel you will need to spray the finished work with a final fixative to preserve the work.
Step #5: Create your own two page landscape now that you have been inspired by Van Gogh.

If you’re looking for an extra boost of Art journal inspiration and community, check out these upcoming classes:

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