Kick-Start Your Art Journal (Part I)

There's a handy index of all of the kick-start prompts.


Remember that you can start a page anywhere, with any concept, any idea, any word, any image, any photograph, any paint, any quote, any shape, any color, any direction. Then take it a step at a time until you feel the page is finished, you run out of time, or you just don't feel like working on it further. 

Pick one or try them all. Take the first step. Go. Here are some tricks to get in gear and get messy in your art journal. Use the prompts as written or embellish as you wish.


❑ album: Create an art journal page to celebrate one of your favorite albums. Could be a CD or 33 rpm platter but a collection of songs sold together in a group. When I was in college, Jackson Browne's "Saturate Before Using" calmed me down when I was sad. 

❑ blue The color for your page is blue. Museum quality Oval Room Blue to city Pitch Blue to spring Blue Ground. Paint a background with thick heavy body acrylics using your fingers to create wild texture. Write about the blues in your life. What rooms in your house are painted blue? Blue nail polish? Topaz earrings? For blue inspiration, see No Frills Prompt #15: Blues.

❑ one sentence journaling At Creative Liberty, Liz discusses the concept of one sentence journaling. One sentence per day. I like the idea of taking the entire day to give that one sentence a chance to develop into something that helps you focus and document your thoughts, your day, as you choose. You can play around with the words as you go about your day. You could build a page around a week or month of "sentences" or build a page around one sentence or the key words.

❑ balance: On a blank journal page, write a sentence about something that really pisses you off. Under that sentence, write something cheerful on top to balance out the pissiness. Go back and forth, on two different topics, griping and cheering. Draw boxes and doodle around various words in colored pencil or marker.

❑ zu zu's petals: Collect flower petals from your garden and put them in a little tiny handmade envelope, and staple or stitch the envelope to your art journal page.

❑ pocket: Incorporate a fabric pocket on an art journal page, it could be an actual fabric from an old pair of blue jeans or stitch fabric onto the page. Hide something in the pocket, perhaps your journaling.

❑ the weather is here, wish you were beautiful The base of the page is a postcard. A postcard you grabbed at the last hotel visit, from a flea market, a hello from Key West, a coupon from your favorite car repair shop. Glue/staple the postcard to the center of the page. Watercolor or doodle around the postcard, creating some flow between the stuff on the postcard and the page. Continue a sentence, doodle some ivy going off and on the postcard. Paint the rest of the page colors from the postcard. If the postcard has ocean waters, use aquas, for example.

❑ circularity For this page, work with watercolors or gouache or thinned acrylic paint. You can thin acrylics with water or fluid matte medium; thinning makes them more transparent. Draw 21 of circles all over your page, in different sizes, with lots of overlaps. You can even have three circles overlap or one inside another. Number the circles in pencil. Paint all of the circles with numbers 1, 7, 11, 20 in one color. Paint circles 2, 5, 8, 9, 18 in a second color. Paint circles 3, 6, 13, 19 in a third color. Paint circles 12, 16 in a fourth color. Paint circles 4, 15, 17 in the fifth color. Paint circles 10, 14, 21 in a sixth color. The colors overlap, mixing new colors! Journal in black marker on a few of the larger circles.

See all of the Kick-Start Prompts.

* A short history of the Kick-Start Prompts. The prompts began in 2009 as part of the growing collection of prompts here at Daisy Yellow. They continued for two years until there were 23 sets of prompts. In 2014 I did a massive overhaul and divided up all of the prompts into about 12 sets. If you like the Kick-Start prompts, you can find prompts galore in every issue of the Daisy Yellow Zine. Yes. Even more prompts.