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Art Journaling for Kids + Teens

"The artist must possess
the courageous soul
that dares and defies."
Kate Chopin

"stories," my younger daughter created this 9x12" art journal page when she was 8
loose watercolor paper, neocolors + water

"love," my younger daughter created this 8x11" page when she was 9
colored pencils on loose black card stock

"without paint," my older daughter created this 9x12" page when she was 9
loose watercolor paper, neocolors, watercolors

"candy," my older daughter created this 9x12" art journal page when she was 12
loose watercolor paper, neocolors, oil pastels, watercolor

I wanted to share with you some examples of the work that kids can do on loose paper or in a bound journal. My kids started doing a bit of art journaling simply by playing around with the art materials that I had out on the table. They use the same materials that I use for art journaling.

The key word is PLAY. If you want to work with kids to inspire them to start a journal, or a journaling habit, I suggest letting them see you work in your journal. It is so much fun, and your exhuberance will inspire them to try something creative.

Be sure that they know that they really can't make a mistake in their very own journal. It is not about the pretty page at the end! It is about enjoying the part where you create the art. The part where you get thoughts out on your paper.

➸ How to start an art journal? Art Journaling 101
➸ Materials for art journaling? Art Journaling 102: Materials

Art journaling is a great outlet for kids that love... the freedom of a blank canvas, to explore color + images + words, to decorate their thoughts, to get messy with paints. Young kids are so free about exploring creatively.

As kids get older, they often get concerned with what others think, get more critical of their work, less free with their creativity, more likely to worry about "rules" for whatever form of art they are doing. That's why art journaling is important. It focuses on the DOING not the RESULTS. Kids, especially tweens and teens, are more likely to play creatively if you don't give them constraints or set expectations. Please don't see this as an assignment, with rubrics and requirements. For moms who art journal, it's also a wonderful way to stay close and keep the lines of communication open -- by arting with your kids!

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Reader Comments (6)

Wow! I wish I had exposure to this when I was a child...

04.30.2014 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Gibbons

What a wonderful tool for kids (people) to use and it's a good thing to be introduced to this early!! Any time we get clear on who we are and what we just benefits ourselves and our relationships!! I, of course, need to practice some in an art journal...and with text alone....i'm free...but start asking me to put color and shapes to my words and I freeze!! Words- alone...i'm ok. Art-alone...i'm ok. But mix the two together and I get timid!!

05.2.2014 | Unregistered CommenterEden

How cool is this? Really wonderful.

Also: All this time I've 'known' you, you've had three daughters? for heaven's sake! I can't get everything done and I only have one dog. Who doesn't talk back.

{Tammy} I should clarify! Just two daughters; I indicate the age when they created the work, because I went back through my digital photos to find examples. And our dog DOES talk back. She controls our every move, I think.

05.2.2014 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Both my kids have art journals. I love seeing how they both fill them. Victoria lives colour and paint and does not care about the other pages once she has done them. She just plows on. Fearlessly...without worrying about ruining pages or wasting paint or creating mud.

Sebastian is very much into black and white creating comics and superheroes. I love both of them. They are so them.

{Tammy}: I love that each child is free to do what he or she wishes in the journal. This sense of creative freedom is refreshing and something that I know you are nourishing!

05.6.2014 | Unregistered CommenterNatasha

Hi my friend and I are very eager to do the art journalling, we live in South Africa, we can get a lot of the supplies, I have a question I painted a tree with acrylic pastels, first time ever. My problem is that the acrylics are rubbing off on my open pages. Is there a product I can use to seal these acrylic pages? Please can you help with any info, I will try to send my picture, so that you have an idea. Kind Regards Sylvia Erwee Regards Sylvia

{Tammy}: Thank you for your question. I don't coat or protect my pages, but I am sure a google search will help you locate a product to do that. I'm not familiar with acrylic pastels, but if you use just acrylic paint it won't rub off on another page. You can always put a sheet of wax paper between pages until they are fully dry. Just keep practicing and experimenting!

08.3.2014 | Unregistered CommenterSylvia Erwee

I have been journal writing since I was a kid, but I have just started art journaling within the last year and absolutely love it. Your complete list of supplies will come in very handy and I'm looking forward to trying this stuff out. I do more journal activities at work (I work in an inpatient psychiatric unit) and the patients seem to find it therapeutic. The kids I babysit for have started to show an interest, so this will be fun to try with them, too. Thank you so much! LOVE your blog!

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