"Art journaling is about the creative process
of pulling together color, words and images
as you wish, on a page. Unlike many other
forms of art, it is not about the outcome." 
Tammy Garcia

We all need a way to focus our energy on positive things especially when negative things seem to surround us. My scope here at Daisy Yellow is simply art. Free form art, playful art, art that lets you lose yourself and keep moving forward with more clarity. 

Mixed media art journaling typically includes words, imagery & color. But {and this is important} there are no rules that you must follow. So you can do a page with any combination thereof. Just paint,  just imagery, even just words! You can skip the words, incorporate words as imagery or write #deepthoughts. Or just drizzle paint over everything.

art journaling is an open-ended and unstructured form of creative work.

Art journaling is play, exploration & experimentation wrapped into one. It's about doing an unstructured form of art in a bound journal, on loose paper, even a cardboard box. Even leather-bound planners with darling Miss Kitty stickers. The term art journaling means something different to each artist. You do not need to have in-depth knowledge of composition or color theory. I'm actually a former accountant and quantitative analyst so I'm highly analytical, yet I find energy and freedom in this art form!

Art journals, artist's books, illustrated journals, urban sketchbooks, visual journals... and altered books.

When I started art journaling I tried a bit of everything, and you should too! You can set up a fresh journal for any reason whatsoever. Journals can be used for testing art materials, documenting color palettes or paint swatches, practicing techniques, sketching architecture, the human body or nature, doodling, designing patterns and repeats, making collages, painting, designing fonts, tracking habits via bullet journaling, constructing daily diaries and writing about adventures. 

The journal itself is not precious.

The freestyle kind of journaling that I share and talk about ad infinitim here at Daisy Yellow... is the result of your creative immersion, your experiments, your play-time. If anything is precious it should be the ACT of making art.

you may find a story in your work.

Based on what you choose to do, the shape and characteristics of your lines, the elements you choose for your collages, your work will develop a style or personality. Each journal may gradually tell a story, although it might not be clear until many years later! You'll look back and see that you were trying to clarify a decision, or get through a difficult phase in your life, to work through an injury, cycle through a variety of mediums...

It will likely take a few years for your creative process to evolve, transform and morph into something that flows and enriches you.

There is no rule book.

You do not need a kit, a coach, a lesson or a guidebook but you do need to discover {or rediscover} your sense of fun! 

The more you work, the more ideas you will have, and the more fuel for your creativity. The key is to figure out what works for you. 

Tammy's fav Paints, Papers, Mark-Making Tools, pens & Materials for Art Journaling

I've been art journaling for about a decade and that means a zillion experiments, tests, happy accidents and discoveries about mixing mediums on paper. Whether you're just starting your first journal or delving into your 7th of the year, there are always new things to learn and explore.

So I thought it would be helpful to put together a list of my go-to materials for art journaling. this list is the result of extensive experience in my journals + altered books, and in working with artists in my mixed media workshops

Collect papers, ephemera & journal fodder.

Art journalists collect papers from everyday life and tape, stitch, clip, adhere, glued, staple, tuck, fold or otherwise attach to journal pages! Things to collect for your journal: Ticket stubs, museum maps, pages from old textbooks, receipts, product packaging, clothing labels, photographs, vintage postcards, lottery tickets, polaroid photos, postage stamps, raffle tickets, hand-written lists, old greeting cards, subway maps, airline tickets, event announcements, advertisements, maps, ribbon, fabric, tarot cards and images cut from magazines. 

Top Posts About Creativity

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» Taking Stock [Documenting all of my Finished Journals]

How many journals do you need? 

Each of my journals takes a different direction & focus. So by default I have a lot of journals and altered books in progress. If limiting yourself to one journal works for you, that's cool! And if actively working in 17 journals works for you, that's cool too!

I love the freedom of having multiple journals, the excitement of having OPTIONS and juggling work in progress. It keeps ideas spinning! No need to attach any negative connotation to having lots of journals in progress. Keeping just one would be stifling to me.

Can you have too many journals?

You can choose to have one journal for everything, multiple journals for many things, themed journals, big journals, small journals, handmade journals, drawing journals, it's totally up to you. I love options, possibilities, journals of different shapes + sizes too. 

I might work with acrylics on a Wednesday in an altered hardback, with gouache on Thursday in a watercolor journal, might draw on Saturday with a pen in a small Moleskine.

You might like having one journal that is a planner and adding something to document each day with words, color, imagery, fold-outs and surprises too.

Define your journals, if you wish, name them, title them, destroy them, work in reverse chronological order, decoupage the cover, leave it out in the sun to test light-fastness. 

Is it ok not to finish a journal?

Of course! I have lots of unfinished journals - if you mean that there are still some blank pages. That happens. It's not that they are melodramatically gathering dust in my attic, but rather I have moved on to other things. That's a natural part of the creative process - trying new things - letting other things go. 

However, there is an exception. If you start a journal, get frustrated, then start another, then get frustrated, take notice and try to figure out what is happening. Step back from bound journals and work on loose paper or index cards for awhile until you get your groove back. They will feel less precious and you may find it easier to LET GO and get started!