Illustrated Journaling | Ultimate Beginner’s Guide

Journaling is more popular than it has ever been before.

Almost any self-help book, podcast, or YouTube video will tell you it’s the best thing since slices bread.

The hype isn’t surprising, considering the large amount of people that attribute their success to this simple daily practice.

But what if you don’t like writing or if you can express yourself better through your art?

If that is the case, illustrated journaling is a great option for you.

art journal ideas for beginners

What is an illustrated journal?

An illustrated journal is similar to a regular journal or diary. It can be used to record your daily life, hopes & ambitions, or even random thought.

However, an illustrated journal is centered around sketches, drawings, illustrations, and paintings rather than text. Keeping an art journal will give many of the same benefits as a regular journal.

Why start an illustrated journal?

Journaling comes with many benefits. And there are even more benefits to starting an art journal.

Not surprisingly, everyone that I asked had a different reason to start.

Here are a few reasons why you should start an illustrated journal:

  • To practice your art on a regular basis
  • To try out different art mediums
  • To capture precious memories
  • To clear your mind and relieve stress
  • To put your experiences into perspective
  • To keep your thoughts organized
  • To record your goals and ambitions
  • To share your life experience with others

If you aren’t quite sure why you should go with an illustrated journal over a regular journal, you might want to read our article on why bother making art.

How do you keep a visual journal?

There is no right or wrong way to keep a visual journal. It’s your journal after all.

However, if you really want to get the most out of your journal, I would recommend making it into a daily practice.

Most people that successfully made a habit out of journaling do it right after waking up or just before going to bed.

If you journal first thing in the morning, you can journal about everything that you want to get done.

If you journal before sleeping, you can journal about everything that actually happened to you.

Ideally you would incorporate journaling into an already existing morning routine or bedtime routine.

However, keep in mind that keeping an illustrated journal takes more time than a regular journal.

Especially if you want to include several illustrations for each day.

So make sure to plan ahead and give yourself enough time when journaling.

illustrated journaling prompts example

Tools you will need

To illustrate your journal you can use any art supplies you already have at home.

Art markers and colored pencils are the best for coloring quick doodles.

Put if you have any kind of paint, you can also add paintings to your journal.

Watercolor paint in particular is quite popular for journaling, but you have to make sure that the paper in your journal is thick enough to handle the water.

Here is a short list of art supplies you might want to use for journaling:

If you don’t own any art supplies yet, you might want to read my article on the easiest art mediums for beginners.

What should I include in my art journal?

You can include anything you like in your art journal.

But if this is your first time journaling, you might have difficulty getting started.

In that case, you can try one of the following illustrated journal ideas and prompts

  • Introduce yourself and add a self-portrait
  • Describe what happened today
  • Doodle the first thing that catches your attention
  • Illustrate 5 goals you want to achieve
  • Explain the dream you had last night
  • Draw the 3 things in your life you are most grateful for
  • Look out of your window and describe what you see
  • Use calligraphy to write motivational quotes
  • Try to combine every single art supply into a single piece

Illustrated journal example

Here are two great examples of what an illustrated journal could look like.

Of course, you don’t want to copy these exactly. I just wanted to share them to give an impression of how you can combine illustrations with text to convey a stronger message.

If you are interested in journaling, you should also read our articles on nature journaling and sketch journaling.

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