Painting is just another way of keeping a diary

Do you keep an art journal?

I’m juggling a bunch of projects at the moment — did I tell you that I’m writing a book?  Gasp. That’s a post for another day! — and I’m trying to keep this blog going without killing myself in the process.

One of the things that grounds me, and my kids, are our sketchbooks and art journals.

Painting is just another way of keeping a diary

When we have an idea, it goes into the sketchbook. When we buy new markers we test them out in the sketchbook.

I’ve always loved having a visual art journal, and as a parent I encourage my children to keep one as well.

Not only do art journals enable us to capture a moment in time, but they’re witnesses of our past that can fill us in on little secrets, and they’re powerful resources for sourcing new ideas.

When I have a block and need some inspiration, I can flip back through my journals in search of a technique or image that recharges my batteries.

Favorite Sketchbook Resources

Check out my Sketchbook Board on Pinterest, updated frequently with new ideas.

Balzer Designs. You’ll want to check out her gorgeous Art Journal Every Day posts.

Keri Smith, genius in every way. She’ll get you to think outside the box and is so good at pushing you outside your comfort zone. I think I want to be her.

Alisa Burke creates beautiful illustrations. Here’s a peek into her sketchbook and some artsy tutorials.

Journal Fodder Junkies shares some good tips and tutorials on attacking the blank page.

If you’re on Instagram and you’d like to join my FREE Sketchbook Challenge, all the details you need are here: Tinkelab’s Double Page Spread Challenge

What about you? Do you keep a written or a visual art journal?


  1. I just have to give a BIG shout out and YAY to the fact that you are writing a book!!!!!! and trying not to kill yourself in the process…. both good things.
    ; 0 )

    Congratulations girl!

    • Thanks so much Karin! Your comment was sitting in a spam pile and I have no idea why? Anyway, your comment is so sweet and I appreciate the love! xo

  2. Yes! As an artist, my journal is essential to my creative process. As a mother of 2 young kids, it’s essential to my maintaining my creativity when I can’t get in the studio. I introduced keeping a journal to my son when he was barely 3 and it’s so amazing to see his growth as a visual and verbal communicator. Going to start my 2 year old on one soon…

    • Hi Bridgette, It’s so nice to meet a kindred spirit. My kids (4 and almost 2) have come to rely on their sketchbooks as a place that they can store information. It’s not always their go-to spot, but it’s still such a nice, tidy spot to get a snapshot of their growth.

  3. I have kept a journal on and off since I was in second grade! I am so glad I did, as I can go back in time just by opening one up.

    I have done journals with my children on our vacations. I hope they will want to start a more regular journal soon!

    • Aren’t vacation journals wonderful? We like to collect maps from amusement parks and towns we visit, and then tape them right into the books, alongside ticket stubs and photos. Getting into a regular routine with journals can be challenging. If you find something that works for you, please let me know!

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