I have a soft spot in my heart for art journals and sketchbooks because they’re these amazing portable treasure boxes that allow us to freely drop in creative experiments and ideas-on-the-fly. Once they’re filled up, they carry an archive of our creative ideas. It’s so much fun to create them, and can be even more fun to look back at an artistic history of where we’ve been. Sometimes those old ideas even prompt new ideas to emerge – a conversation with between past and present self.
If you enjoy playing and experimenting with art materials, here are three ideas for mixed media art journal ideas to get your creative wheels turning.
Be sure to scroll through for a card download at the end of this post.
Art Card Instructions:
- Print the cards and cut them out.
- Place the Art Cards on the table.
- Grab your sketchbook.
Process #1: Use one card to spark new ideas.
Process #2: Sort these cards into an order that makes sense to you and use them all to make one piece of art.
Art Journal Idea #1: Glue Geometric Paper Shapes into a Composition
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Cut geometric shapes from any paper that inspires you: construction, origami, hand-painted book pages (shown here), magazines, etc. Move the shapes around the paper to create a composition you’re happy with, and then glue the pieces in place.
Tips for young children: Pre-cut paper into shapes (as shown on the Art Card), and offer a basket of shapes with a jar of white glue and a brush to paint the glue on the paper.
Favorite glue for this project: Elmer’s Craft Bond Glue Stick
Art Journal Idea #2: Dip String in Paint and Pull it Through a Folded Page
This Art Journal process is so fun and entirely magical since you won’t know how it will turn out until you open the book to reveal the effect. To try this, dip a string in liquid watercolors or acrylic or tempera paint (shown here). Place the string on a page in your art journal (or old book, shown here) in a twisted, bendy shape. Hang on to one end of the string, close the book, and then gently pull the string out one end of the page.
Repeat with other colors, try overlapping two dipped strings at once, and try different lengths of string.
Tips for young children: Demonstrate dipping the string in paint. Show how it’s important to hang on to one end of the string (don’t let go!).
Favorite tempera paint for this project: Crayola Artista II
Favorite liquid watercolor paint for this project: Sargent washable watercolor magic
Art Journal Idea #3: Mask an area out with white paint
This process is works well in concert with others. It’s a layer that plays with whatever precedes it. For example, if you try the string dipped in paint (Idea #2), you can mask parts of your design out with white paint.
This is a fun technique to play with when you want to add depth and layers to your work.
Shown here, the paper was originally filled with charcoal and gel crayon patterns, and then white was loosely brushed over it to blend and semi-hide this layer. More charcoal was added on top of the white, and then more white was added to mask out parts of the charcoal.
What I really liked about the gel crayons shown here is that they bleed when paint is added on top, which adds more color to the page. Look at the blue circles, for example, to see how the white paint smears the blue into the background.
Tips for young children: After your child has created a collage or drawing, offer a small pot of white paint and a brush, and invite them to paint however they like. Try this with washable tempera paint. Our favorite is Crayola Artista washable white tempera.
Favorite high flow white paint for this project: Artist’s Loft Flow Acrylic Paint
Favorite Gel Crayons for this project: Noyo 36 Color Gel Crayons
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Print the Art Cards on card stock, cut them out, and place them on the table.
Grab your sketchbook and then try one of the two Art Starter ideas shared in the instructions. 💛