My Art Journal Highlights

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A week ago I posted a photo on Instagram featuring my art journal and, in the caption, I asked if you would be interested in a little flip through. After compiling four months of art journal sketches, I figured it was time to share some highlights with you all. I’m doing a live flip through on my Instagram Stories this evening, too! If you want to see the full art journal, you’ll have to catch it on my Instagram. The pages featured in this blog post are only the highlights. I hope you all like this!

I started this art journal mid-November last year. I tried at first to create a new entry each day, but I quickly realized that that was unrealistic. Now I try to do two or three a week. To find inspiration, I always go over to Pinterest. Hardly any of these sketches are my own! I’ve never been great at coming up with my own ideas. I find it easier to roughly copy or take inspiration from an image. Of course, I try to add my own spin to it. There’s no point in attempting to make my sketches look exactly the same! Most of my journal entries are watercolors, typography attempts, and collages.

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This was one of my first watercolors. It was based on a painting I saw on a Project Runway episode where contestants had to make clothing out of objects found in a dumpster. I fell in love with it and decided to honor it by recreating it myself. It was something fun and outlandish with loads of bright colors.

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My first collage! This was even before I starting doing these as backgrounds for my blog and Instagram pictures. I loved how everything worked out! The colors and textures all worked together – peachy and floral.

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This is when handy dandy Pinterest came into my life. I’m not the best at finding inspiration on my own. This blue reclining lady on the left is one of my favorite watercolors! Simple. I believe this was a brand’s logo? On the right, a moody mountainscape from a photo I found. Not one of my best. I was still getting the hang of watercoloring.

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Moving on to illustrations and my first stab at typography. Some cute, simple pastel sofa illustrations on the left. My first, and incidentally best, typography, Wild Rose, on the right. Since Rose is my middle name, of course, I had to do it!

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Experimenting with an ink pen can lead to interesting entries… Not all of my art journal entries are successful. Some are complete disasters. To the left, we have one of those. I titled this “Minimalist Sunset” as a bit of a joke. It was one of those uninspiring nights!  On the right, a better attempt at something worthwhile. As much as I try to like ink pens, I think watercolor remains my preferred medium.

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Toying with minimalism and bold primary colors, I created this two-page spread. Simple, yet effective. I oddly like this one? I so often go overboard, hence my inclination for creating maximalist collages on the blog. It was nice to get out of my comfort zone and go back to basics.

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Not sure what happened with the random cactus doodle? Maybe I had a succulent series in mind? The next page is the complete opposite. Patterns and colors galore! I want to do more of this type of watercolor. Crazy, bold, fun! Not a difficult concept either.

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Remember earlier when I said there were a bunch of duds in this journal? Yeah, so, the random doodle page on the left is an example of that. There are a few like this that are just me experimenting with either watercolor techniques or, in this case, my Tombow dual brush pens. Just about every art journaler or stationary fanatic I know is obsessed with these pens, but, quite frankly, I don’t get on with them! On the right, however, is my favorite ink pen entry. Took me over an hour to complete it one night. So much fun to do! And wild to look at!

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This is when I got the hang of watercoloring. Two of my finest entries. Inspiration, of course, from Pinterest. A bold color block face and a dreamy nightscape of an ocean bathed in moonlight. As you can see, I frequently switch my style up.

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Oh, look! Another doodle page. With the Tombow pens, no less. I keep practicing to get the hang of those pens but no luck. To the left is a slightly psychedelic rainbow watercolor surrounding the word “BREATHE”, which I wrote in ink.

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Ah! Another great highlight. An orange slice and an olive branch. I distinctly remember doing these while re-watching The Godfather over the course of three nights. (It’s a long movie…)

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Toying with color blocking in collage form. These were cut up editorials from last fall’s Dazed issue that featured Rihanna on the cover. This was a fun one to do! I like how it turned out. Simple, but impactful.

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I can’t get enough of plant watercolors! It must be the nature lover in me. The circle of branches was featured on my Instagram Stories two weeks ago when I initially asked my followers if they wanted to see an art journal flip through. I did an art journal process series on my stories instead. I love how it turned out! The other page is an experiment with colorful typography.

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An early landscape based off of a photo fashion blogger Lucy Williams posted on her Instagram of the English coast. It was such a stunning image! Bold, rich yellows, golds, reds, browns, and greens blending together so perfectly! It makes me miss the dramatic desert rocky landscapes out West. It was difficult to capture the scene with watercolor, but I think I managed OK for a beginner. On the right, more doodles!

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Collaging continued… For this two-page spread, I cut up one page I ripped out of a discarded British Vogue. I challenged myself to only use that page to create something. An interesting experiment. I also added pastel pink lines using my Tombow pen to the background to create some visual interest. (Look at me trying to pretend I know art… It’s coming off a bit pretentious!)

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What would I do without landscapes?! A little house on the prairie underneath blue skies and puffy clouds.

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Once again, a failed attempt at a sunset watercolor. I don’t mind failed entries if I’m being honest. I hate the pressure to create perfection. I love imperfection. In art, I feel like it shows your personality a bit. The Moleskine journal I use is not meant for watercolors so if I use too much water the pages end up pilling and bunching up. That’s what happened here. On the right, a fun, playful sketch of a poster I saw on Pinterest.

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Koi fish swimming and I’m not entirely sure what? A foggy seascape perhaps? It’s unclear…

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My final entry at the moment. I had to end it properly, right? A colorful and fun typography.

I just want to end this emphasizing a few things. To create an art journal, you don’t need to be an artist. You don’t even need that much creativity. As I mentioned, I borrowed the vast majority of these from artists on Pinterest. Just keep playing around with different mediums. Eventually, you’ll get the hang of it. It’s OK to mess up or lose inspiration. Art journaling should be fun, not stressful! It’s intimidating when you see incredible flip-throughs on YouTube, but you have to remember that many of those are actual artists who have been doing this for years. You don’t even need fancy tools. My watercolor set was $15 from Amazon! So play, create, have fun!

4 Comments

  1. MistressoftheInk

    Oh, such creativity! I especially love the collage and all the leaves/branches-themed pages you did. I know someone who also does an art journal, using watercolors, collages, and felt pens. Sharing this post with her.

    I was about to say I’d love to make one but I’m not as artistic, when I read your words “To create an art journal, you don’t need to be an artist.” Haha. So I guess I’ll consider doing an art journal after all. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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