Travel Journal Ideas

I love how many artists are sharing their journaling ideas. Here are some videos I fell in love with, talking about travel journaling ideas.

Video URL:

rainbow stripe dividerHere’s another short (five minute) video about assembling a travel diary or journal. It’s clean, simple, and something you can create on-the-road, or after you get home.

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This next video – also about five minutes long – shows how to create a travel journal before your trip. As she works, she talks about her plans to tour London. As you’ll see, she’s very organized, and leaves space to expand her journaling as she travels. I’m impressed.

Video URL:

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This is another travel journal flip-through. It’s a basic design, but may give you ideas of things to save (and add) as you travel. I’m not sure you need to watch all five minutes of it, because you’ll get the idea fairly quickly. But, I like this because it’s a realistic travel journal… the kind that anyone can create and enjoy.

Video URL:

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Art Journaling Background Techniques

Sometimes, our art journals begin with a background. Those colors and textures inform everything else we do with the page.

Here are a few videos that may inspire you to try new background colors and techniques.

The first is by Purdy Creative Things. I love the variety she achieves, so quickly and with such simple techniques.

Next, this 8-minute video by Mercurial Milk presents some juicy colors and varied ideas, with useful tips for five different art journaling backgrounds.

The next video is by Maremi’s Small Art, and she shows how to create a textured, magical art background.  This video is nearly 10 minutes long, but worth watching, even if you skip ahead as you understand each step.

The next video is by that same artist. It includes several one-minute background techniques. All of them are simple and use just a few colors and tools.

The video is about 7 1/2 minutes long, if you watch it all the way through. The techniques are repetitive, but each background is unique. I think the variety will inspire you to try some of her ideas, yourself.

And, in Mark Montano‘s video – about 4 1/2 minutes long – he assembles completed artist’s journals pages.

I’m including this video because many of his techniques are fast and easy ways to create vivid, unique journal page background, too.

After watching these, I’m ready to work on my journal. I hope you’re excited about these materials and techniques, too.

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Magpie Journals

Magpie Journals - videos, how-to, free clipartA magpie journal is a wonderful concept. (Magpies are known for collecting all kinds of things, especially shiny objects… but that may be just a legend.)

What are magpie journals, in the art journaling community…?

They’re an assortment of things you’ve collected, organized as (or in) a journal. Or something journal-ish.

  • They may be random or themed.
  • They can be entirely paper, or mixed media, and include random objects.
  • Items can be glued, sewn, clipped, or collaged to your pages. (There are no limits.)
  • Don’t want to attach the item? Can’t attach it? Some items could be in pockets or fold-outs.

The earliest magpie journals I could find were from a 2012 Swap-bot swap.

Magpie Journals, in Videos

Here’s a late 2013 video – about 7 minutes long – of one of those early, Swap-bot magpie journals. You’ll get the idea in the first few minutes. It’s by Diane Baker-Williams.


Next, take a look at this 2-minute video by Wishfulkelly, and it’s described as a smash book / glue book / Magpie journal. It’s a very quiet video, with music playing faintly in the background. It’s fun.


The next video is by Paula Foerder. It’s about 20 minutes long. (Her magpie journal, shown page-by-page, fills about 15 minutes of the video.) Even if you watch just two or three minutes of this, I think you’ll glean some delightful ideas.


Next, Elizabeth Metz (Conifer Crow) creates “magpie bundles,” which are mixed media journals you can leave as-is, or take apart, embellish, and add to. The following is a 6-minute video showing one of her smaller bundles. (This one has already sold.)

I like this video as a starting point, to imagine my own mixed-media magpie journals.


Also, you’ll find lots of inspiration at Theresa Mask’s Magpie Journal Pinterest board.

Free Magpie Clipart

If you’d like to create your own magpie journal, here’s a sheet of printable clipart to get you started. It was created at 300 dpi, which means you could probably enlarge the pictures to double their size (at 150 dpi) and they might look fine.

The original is black & white. If you print it on heavy paper, you could color it with paint, pens, colored pencils, etc.

I’ve tried to place the images far enough apart that you can cut each one out (or tear it out) to use in collage.

Free magpie journal clipart

To download, click on the picture
or use this link:
(You can share that link, too. It’s a PDF at Google Drive.)

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Permission to Play With Mixed Media Art

by guest blogger Michelle G Brown

Mixed Media Art is a craft where anything goes, mixing unusual mediums to create wonderful works. And there are so many artist creating wonderful things, that some times we tend to forget that these artists had to start somewhere too. Often we are too hard on ourselves, seeing a lovely picture in a magazine, using it as inspiration for our own work and then being disappointed when it doesn’t look as good. Sometimes we may even give up, thinking “I was never artistic anyway”.

I don’t know about you, but I can be pretty hard on myself and get easily overwhelmed when I see those pretty magazine pictures. But that doesn’t need to be the case. Artistic skill is like any other skill, it can be learned and developed with nurturing and practice. Let’s look at a few tips to free ourselves up and give ourselves permission to play.

Catch that internal voice

As with many things that are in our heads, we need to have a stern talking with that little voice in our heads. The one that tells us we aren’t good enough or that we are wasting time (always a problem when we are trying to do lots of things at once). You tell that voice that we have set aside this time to craft and whatever happen is okay, regardless of the outcome. Some days will be creative and productive, other days maybe spent tidying up or fueling our brains with new ideas.

Also, it is JUST art – we are not trying to create world peace or solve world hunger (however noble those causes are). And yes it is important to us and we want to create things, but if you are being stopped before you even begin, then tell that voice to sit aside for a while and see what happens.

This also takes practice but once you begin to take note of that voice and tell it to play nicely, as you would an errant toddler, then there becomes more mental space to begin your next creative endeavour.

Permission to play

Give yourself permission to play, to try things out, to experiment. Even with no end idea in mind. Depending on what type of person you are, you can simply say aloud to yourself “I give you permission to play” or you can make up a sign on the computer and hang it above your art space. There are many different ways to set your mind in this direction, so choose one that works for you and DO it!

Remember the aim here is to try things out and experiment. When you get started, don’t put too much thought into it. Use materials that you have lots of so you don’t need to worry about “ruining” your good papers (this is where cereal box cardboard comes into it’s own!). If you feel the need, jot down ideas and thoughts into your art journal under the heading of “Play Day”. Just follow along and see where it takes you.

Sometimes being spontaneous and open to new ways of doing things can be hard. Make note of when you get grumpy or hit a mental block; what is that telling you? Are you just being a stubborn toddler? Or is there a real reason why those two colours can’t go together?

Seek support

If you are still getting stuck, give yourself a break, sleep on it and look at it with fresh eyes the next day. I often surprise myself when I see my art in the new day – hey, that looks good! I am doing okay! We are often our own worst critics.

Look for local groups that can be supportive. Search online for internet groups that have a regular meetings in your area. This is really important if you don’t have much support from home; “Is that all you have done?” will not inspire confidence to keep trying and experimenting, so avoid those critics as you would that little voice.


Remember our New Year’s resolution to “Make more mistakes”? – this all falls under the same mindset. Once you shake off the limits of “should” and “musts” your real artistic ability will come to the forefront. So have a stern talk with that little voice in your head, seek artistic support and give yourself permission to play!

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Michelle Brown is a mother and an engineer, who is passionate about all aspects of mixed media art.

See more at: Mixed Media Art and What is Mixed Media Art?

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Art Journaling with Magazine Images – Part 1

Art journaling with magazine collages - how-to videos and tutorialsI’ve always been enthusiastic about collages made with images from books and magazines. It’s something anyone can do, with no art training at all.

Since the 1990s, that was one of my missions: To show people – especially women – that they could express themselves in art, no matter what.

Initially, I focused on torn-paper collages, because they were easy and were supposed to look a little “messy.”

Also, some of the words & slogans in magazine advertisements… wow! They can be great lines to include in your artist’s journal.

If you’re art journaling with magazine photos and text here are some videos that may inspire you.

First, a short video of Kelly Kilmer flipping through some of her artist’s journals. She uses lots of magazine images in her work, but also pens, paint and other fine art supplies.

Not seeing that video? It's at where you can find more of Kelly's art journaling videos, too.

In the next video, you’ll see how pitje4life adds magazine images – one over another – in her journal. (This starts part-way through the video, where she’s actually putting the images on the page.)

I don’t recommend using white glue to attach paper, because you risk it bubbling the paper, even after it’s dry. But… I’ll talk about that, later. First, the video:


Instead of white glue, I recommend something like Golden acrylic medium (Soft Gel, Gloss). I apply it gently with a sponge brush. Then I place the paper where I want it to stay. After that, I leave it as it is.

Do not smooth it, or you’ll stretch the damp paper and it will stay bubbled after it dries.

(I learned that technique from collage artist Claudine Hellmuth, when we both taught at Artfest.)

Also – from my experience – I have better luck letting the collage air-dry, instead of applying heat. (Your mileage may vary.)

Or, you could try gluesticks, as Jenn does in the following video. It’s about 10 minutes long, and she shows you exactly how her two-page collage came together. It’s from the “One Magazine Challenge.”

Her YouTube channel is Art Therapy with Jenn. Video link:

And, if you’re wondering where artists find delightful and deliciously quirky images for these kinds of collages, here’s Colleen McCulla‘s seven-minute video explaining her resources.


I hope those videos inspired you to create some magazine collages in your artist’s journals. (I can hardly wait to start a new journal, after seeing these.)

If you have any questions or tips, I hope you’ll leave a comment, below.

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Folded Paper Art Journals

Folded Paper Art JournalsArtists’ journals can be as big – or small – as you like, especially if you make them by hand.

You can even start with a single sheet of paper and – in just a minute or two – fold it into a simple journal.

Here are some videos to inspire you.

Folded Journal One

First, here’s a video by Cathy Johnson. She’s probably best known for her watercolors and mixed media art. Here’s part of her longer video about folded-page journals.

To see the entire video from the beginning, visit

And, you can subscribe to Cathy’s YouTube channel … she’s posted many videos to inspire you!

Folded Journal Two

Of course, you don’t have to stop with a single sheet of paper. For a larger journal – or a journal-inside-a-journal – you could add more (and larger) sheets of paper.

LK Ludwig – part of the original artists’ journals movement – filmed this several years ago. In less than a minute, you can see various ways she uses fold-out pages in one of her handmade journals.

I think those are brilliant folding ideas, to get the most from any artist’s journal.

Here’s the link to her YouTube channel: Lk Ludwig

But maybe you want something small, different, and a little quirky. The next couple of videos may inspire you.

Folded Journal Three

This one is a journal-in-a-journal, best if you want to expand an existing journal. It’s from Paper Pixie, and it’s a fun idea.

You can watch this video and others at Paper Pixie's YouTube channel:

Folded Journal Four

This video is longer than the others – a little over six minutes – and filled with ideas. In some ways, it’s similar to Cathy’s video… but this is simpler. Also, unless you attach a couple of these – back to back – it produces an art journal with fewer pages.

I love this concept if you’re starting with scrapbooking paper, or sheets of paper ephemera.

It’s one of many projects Maremi features at her YouTube channel.

What are your favorite folded journal ideas? I hope you’ll share your thoughts in comments, below.

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Video: How to make an altered book art journal

This is a lovely demonstration by Art by Silas. It shows how to create a mixed media artist’s journal. It includes torn paper collage – one of my favorite techniques. And it’s a good way for a beginner to get art journaling ideas. (The video is about five and a half minutes long.)

Here’s the video:

[ezps_tp_post_layout video=”GNJqKVtb_ac” description=”Welcome in my altered art journal tutorial when I´m showing you how to make an altered book journal. This video is also full of art journaling techniques and it´s great for beginners.”

#alteredartjournal #alteredbook #silasart” subscribe=”UCRRDf_Fljqsfh3S-AASHaqw”]

If you like this video, be sure to see Silas’ other videos at YouTube.

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Art Journaling – The Benefits


by Guest Blogger Cynthia Devening

Art Journaling is like having your diary in living color. A drawn, painted, and written account of your thoughts and emotions. You can go from boring hand written pages that you will never revisit to personal works of art that you will love to look at again.

Not only is art journaling going to fuel your thoughts with color, it also has some other great benefits.

The Benefits

  • Self discovery and learning about yourself.
  • A picture book of your history.
  • A safe place where there are no rules, whatever you want goes.
  • A place to record lists, to-dos, everyday ramblings.

Through journaling you can find insight about yourself. Finish a daily or weekly journal and then look back. I’m sure there are topics, ideas, and inspirations that keep coming up. When you will find them you will realize they are important to you.

Do you ever feel like you forget as much as you happen to remember? If you super busy take time out to journal. It will not only leave you feeling refreshed and relaxed it can give you a snapshot in time. Try including a weekly summary of what is going on in your life. Then even if your over crowded mind forgets you will still have a record of little treasured memories!

Drawing and painting is a great way to vent on paper. You can get everything out of your system, down on paper, take a deep breath, and move on. Need a place to record your hopes, dreams, and goals for the future? Keep track of them in your journal. You can get as extravagant as you want. In fact its important that you do, don’t hold back, these are your dreams.

It’s easy to get started art journaling all you need is a journal and some drawing supplies.


  • Pens
  • Markers
  • Crayons
  • Paint
  • Pastels
  • Charcoal

Supplies can include a bunch of different mediums or a single medium. Entire journals of drawings in ink can be quite stunning.

Sharing your art journaling is completely optional. It can boost your artistic confidence when you get feedback on your journal pages. It’s also great to have pages that are just for you!

Journals are very portable. The right set up and your art journaling can travel anywhere. I picture it as my own personal therapist I can just whip out of my purse as needed! Look for small journals and satchels for your art supplies if you’re going to be doing a lot of journaling on the move.

I hope you will give art journaling a try, today is a great day to start enjoying the benefits!

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Cynthia Devening‘s past projects include

Article Source:—The-Benefits&id=6006975



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Journals as Story Bibles

When I’m not working on art, I’m usually researching and writing books… mostly fiction, but some true-life stories, as well.

Journaling your story bible - a tip for fiction writersSo, I was excited when I saw someone talk about journaling as a way to plot a book.  (Here’s the article that sparked this idea: RJ’s Guide on Creating a Story Bible.)

What’s a story bible? Well, it’s a notebook (or some other system) where you keep your ideas for your book:

  • Locations
  • Characters
  • Background information, like history (real or imagined)
  • Plot ideas
  • Plot twists
  • Sequel ideas, if you might make this into a book series

There’s something rich and juicy about using pen-and-paper as much as possible, when writing.

Often, by using a journal as a story bible – mixing writing & graphics – my books seem to write themselves.

Oh, I’m still writing my books in Scrivener.  For me, that’s the easiest way to create Kindle books and printed manuscripts. (I also use voice recognition software, so I don’t have to type anything, if I don’t want to. That’s a time-saver and avoids carpal tunnel issues.)

But the idea of using a journal – written and visual (art journaling) – plan a short story or novel… I really like this.

Let me know if you try it, and any tips you have for fellow artsy writers. Leave a comment – or question – below.

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Journal Your Way to Happiness

Journaling is included in this TED talk about the “happy secret” approach to living a more fun, productive, rewarding life.

It starts with how you feel, and how positive you are.  Your emotional level — how happy you are — determines how happy your life events are.

Click the Play arrow to watch it.  The video is about 12 minutes long, and very worthwhile.

If you’re in a hurry (though I hope you’re not), the screenshot below shows you the point to fast-forward to.  Start at about the 11 minute marker.  (The graphic, below, is a screenshot… click on the video above, to watch it.)

All of those suggestions can help.

Of course, “meditation” will mean different things to different people.

Journal your way to happiness - studies show that it works!They may include things like:

  • Prayer
  • Conscious meditation
  • Admiring art in a museum, gallery or studio, or even
  • The simple act of “being there”… being in the moment.

I believe the more of these elements you can include in your life, the happier you’ll feel.

Journaling each day — making notes (words, images, a recording, etc.) about one happy event of that day — can make a big difference in your happiness.

The studies were based on a 21-day practice of… well, whichever of those choices seem most appealing to you. 

Sometimes, people will become happier the first day.  Others will need to develop the habit, and — somewhere around day 21 — the person will pause and realize that she (or he) is feeling happier.

Colors seem brighter.

There seem to be more opportunities, more fun, and more whimsy in daily life.

Serendipity is in your favor, and life is better.

Maybe you can journal your way to happiness. It’s worth trying.

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