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Why you should art journal (and what it even is)

In college, I almost didn’t pass art class (a whole other story/blog post for another day). But, I still remember one piece of advice that I am grateful I actually did listen to: never throw out an old art journal.

It can be tempting to throw out old art journals, especially when they’re filled with art that you look at and can’t quite tell WTF you were thinking (or is it just me?). Sometimes, especially when we move house, and I’m feeling REALLY ruthless, my old art journals are stacked in a pile by the door, ready to be thrown away - but they always make their way back into my ‘miscellaneous momentos’ box ready for next time. But I am SO GLAD I never threw them away! Now that some time has passed and I have - hopefully - grown up a bit, I see the value in all of these journals, filled to the brim with weird and wacky ideas and musings, and The Used lyrics in my particularly early ones, ha! Art journals are amazing, magical things full of often terrible art (KIDDING, no such thing as bad art!), amazing ideas and inspiration - they’re also like a time capsule!

But maybe you have never even had an art journal before and have no idea WTF I am on about (or who The Used are).

An art journal is literally a book full of inspiration - whether it be photos you’ve glued in there, a feather you found on the ground, perhaps a cute piece of origami paper, and/or your own sketches, paintings and writing. It can be whatever the heck you want!

The beauty is that it doesn’t need to be neat. It doesn’t need to be full of ‘perfect’ art (remember, perfect is NOT a thing, repeat, NOT a thing) - it’s just a place for you to put all your ideas, practice and inspo in one place.

My art journal is a watercolour sketchbook - check out my free guide here to find out where I got mine! This is so I can paint in my art journal and not worry that the paper is gonna turn to mush or that my paint will bleed through the whole book. So, I paint in my journal, as well as sticking cute pieces of paper in there, sometimes I write things or sketch with my pencil. There are no rules!

Art journals are so freeing because there’s no anxiety around what people will think (reminder: it doesn’t matter what people think anyway!), because the only people who see it will be you and anyone you decide to share it with! You can take it with you everywhere you go and jot down ideas and inspo, and you can build on those ideas later. If you paint something amazing that you love, just rip it out and chuck it in a frame!

I 10/10 recommend art journaling to anyone who wants to get started with art, or even if you’re well and truly established with art - it’s a way for you to express yourself totally freely, to come up with concepts and ideas, or just practice your technique! Plus, in a few years time you can look back through at the things you’ve learned and the progress you’ve made.

If you're looking for ideas for things to paint/to practice your skills I have a bunch of YouTube tutorials available - a new tutorial published each week! These are great for relaxing, learning and creating.


Tess xo


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