All About Self-expression through Art Journaling

Have you ever asked yourself about your artistic goals? Why do you paint or why do you wanna paint in the first place? Some people paint for recognition, while some paint solely for self-expression. Either way, both of them are the common goals of painting. However, thanks to modern times, painting is not only exclusive to artists who want to get recognized or gain a living through commissions. The modern world gave an opportunity to aspiring beginner painters to express their subconscious. In this article, we will discuss the importance of self-expression through creativity and how we can put it into practice.

 A photo of two pages of a book


Painting has become a health coping mechanism for a lot of people, especially those who are dealing with mental health issues. It has become a visual language of self-expression that helps people let out their inhibitions by brushing their inexplicable thoughts on a surface. Thus, it is the reflection of your brain’s creativity and imagination. Arguably, painting is also one of the earliest forms of communication. We’ve seen cave paintings around the world, most of which are 10,000 to 40,000 years of age. Despite the massive age and historical gap, there is surely one thing in common between prehistoric art and modern art: self-expression.

We all know that the prehistoric era does not have a formal structure of language. Meanwhile, there are instances of people in the modern era (us) not being able to utter the words that we want to speak. Painting preceded oral language and it did not only allow our ancestors to communicate, but also people in this age–especially children, and even adults like us. We tend to be ashamed to voice out our emotions, so through painting, it allows us to express what we feel. 

The Art of Self-Expression: Art Journal 101

Surely, you might’ve heard about art journaling. If you’re a constant reader of our blog posts, you might remember that it has been discussed in some of the blog posts. But this article would be slightly different because we will focus on the importance of keeping your own journal as well as ideas on how to start one.

A photo of stuffs on white surface


Most people find journaling boring. They find it monotonous and colorless. There’s nothing to be ashamed of if you feel that way. However, expression is still important because keeping everything in your chest is unhealthy for your mental health. A colorful alternative for this is an art journal. Remember: when words can’t speak, paintings will–that’s why a painting contains a thousand words. Here are some of the reasons
WHY you should start an art journal:

    1.  It gives a healthy outlet to express your emotions:

Having a bad day? Start painting the stress away! We’ve discussed how art is the visual language of expression. Starting an art journal can be therapeutic because it’s open to you 24/7 and you can write/paint your sentiments without any judgments. Thus, art journaling, according to a study conducted by the University of Auckland and the University of Nottingham, can help in healing your emotional wounds faster.

    2.  The ideal place to improve your creativity:

A blank canvas can be quite intimidating for some artists, including beginners. Well, art journaling can help you be comfortable with the blank pages by allowing you to fill in different colors, brushwork techniques, and different art styles. You’re free to do whatever you want in your art journal and you’ll feel less pressured because it’s private and it’s up to you if you’ll allow others to see it. 

A close up photo of graphing paper


    3.  Art journals allow you to be versatile:

Been trying to try a different medium but you’re scared to do it on a canvas because you’re afraid that it might fail? Then, try it in an art journal instead! Art journals are usually in the size of a regular notebook, so they’re easier to fill in. You can try different techniques per page and it’s a classic way of practicing mixed media art or incorporating two mediums into one artwork.

A photo of the a white page in a book

    4.  Helps you get over a creative block:

Creative block is one of those dementors that suck the creativity out of an artist. As scary as it may seem, it happens to all artists, so it’s quite normal. The first step in breaking this art block is by opening your art journal and starting to create art. Do it in your journal. Try a new art style or even imitate an art.You’ll be shocked when your creative instincts are back and the block is gone in no time!


Tips for Starting an Art Journal

A photo of a person holding a book


  Gather your supplies:

Remember that it’s your art journal, so you can have whatever supplies that you want. However, we recommend that you start with a heavy duty notebook that can tolerate the “heaviness” of paints and watercolors without damaging the paper. You can also gather up old magazines, newspaper pages, vintage music sheets, and even dried flowers to add some extra sass to every page. Art journaling is not just about painting, so you can do collage, assemblage, sketch, and many more. Other supplies that you might want to consider are:

  • Washi tapes
  • Stickers
  • Stamps
  • Gel pens

    2.  Don’t be afraid to try:

It’s all about trusting your instincts. There’s no such things as judgment and errors when it comes to art journaling. The rules are yours, so don’t be afraid to express yourself and try different art styles, methods, and techniques. If the ideas are not yet coming around, swirl random brushstrokes, do random sketches, etc. just to keep yourself occupied.

A photo of the girl in the heart book


    3.  Challenge yourself to fill at least one page each day:

The main goal of art journaling is self-expression and it also gives you a practice outlet to improve your creativity and artists skills. Remember that you will not improve if you don’t practice enough and if you don’t challenge yourself enough.

    4.  Find your inspiration on the internet:

There are so many art inspirations that you can find on the internet. This can help you stay inspired and creative. Watch art journal tutorials, flip-throughs, and look over art journal photos. By doing such, you’ll find your aesthetic niche in no time!


Don’t forget to have fun!

Art is not just about self-expression and recognition, it’s also for having fun! Don’t be afraid to let loose of your creativity and imagination when you create something in your art journal. And as time goes by, you’ll see your personal growth and improvement with art. We hope we inspire you to create your own art journal so have fun making art!

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