How to add Journaling to your Art Journal

An Art Journal spread with lots of text (this is part I of III in a series of posts about text in your Art Journal). I finished this page this weekend as I sat outside in the sun and thought about what music means to me;

Art Journaling journaling: Can you hear the music
Art Journaling to me is working with art in book form. Most of the time it’s a combination of visual elements, colors and text.

It can include doodling, drawing, acrylic painting, watercolors, stamping and gluing with all kind of papers! It’s especially fun when you start making collage papers of your own, cutting them up and combining them on a page. I’ve made “backgrounds” using my new brayer, water soluble crayons and gesso and bubble wrap for example. Any method you prefer works fine!

Can you tell I get carried away with this subject?

Text details (Copyright Hanna Andersson])Anyway. Journaling is the writing you add to the page. Combining the visual elements with writing is one of the most difficult things to master when you’re new to Art Journaling if you ask me. If you start with the writing part it will be difficult to fit in any images later. Crayons or paint added after the journaling takes place will mess up the writing. When you add texture it might be difficult to write on top of that. You’ve got to find the right kind of pen for your surface. And then if you get caught up in creating you’ll fill the page and there will be no room for words. We want to be in that state of creative playful flow, but still find room to add journaling? That is a lot to ask of yourself.

When I started to keep an art journal I got rather frustrated with this, wanting to write but never finding the right spot to do it on. Still I would rather be in the creative flow than plan my pages and get stuck! Always.

And as the months passed I did find my writing spots amongst all that color. As I continue to experiment with many different styles I always find that I add text to my pages. Handwriting or other. I have found that there are several good ways to add text elements in your journal! Some easier than others. They also work in your mixed media art. I think chunks of text is an important part of my collages.

I’m dividing my thoughts into three posts, so stay tuned this week. I’m trying to run out of posts, to take a blog break over the summer… I will have a break, soon, but to run out of things to say? I can’t. I will never. Ever.

I totally agree with Michelle Ward who thinks that Visual Journaling is not about writing, it’s about the creative art process, something she says in her latest post on the Street Team blog. This month with Crusade #30 Cat got your tongue, about adding journaling/text to your book. Because I’m a writer at heart I love words. So let’s start with a look at my latest spread.

Here is the same spread, but before the writing was added:

Journal Spread Before Writing

Very inspired by Kelly Kilmer’s style, not my normal messy self this time. Gluing things down like this is mindless to me. I sit with a file folder of papers and just chose pretty ones and random magazine clippings. It is a joyous and easy process to me, kind of like cleaning out old images and finally using them. I can do quite a few of these pages in a row, and then later, I come back to look at them again. With a pen, some acrylic paint or more collage details. Little stickers, or cut out words… Anyway once again, to go back to today subject: adding the text… here are two ways to journal on your finished page.

What to write: pick a subject and write down a few thoughts about that subject. On this page I’ve written about music. What is in my ipod, how it makes me walk faster and almost dance and sing out in public, how I used to feel that I inherit music from other (and now claim it as my own) etc.
Where to write: Write on scrapbook papers! Scrapbook paper is great to glue down and write on, especially if it is pastelish or mellow. If it’s to bold and patterned you can mellow it down with gesso paint.

What to write: Make a list! A list always works. If you don’t know what to write on a page but still want to add the element of text and letters I suggest you write a list. A simple what-to-do-today if that’s all you come up with. Otherwise, your favorite anything. Favorite music for example. Here I’ve listed a few bands & artists that makes my heart sing right now.
Where to write: Magazine images! I love to write on the smooth surface of a magazine page. Find images that has a lot of bright space around or inside them. Go back to my spread above to view the b/w woman photo again. I’ve journaled on the white space surrounding her but also letting it overlap her face and blouse when I needed more space!

That’s two ways to make space for your writing and two ideas for what to write. I’ll be back soon with more ideas.

Usage of text in Art Journaling

Check out part II on How to use Text Elements as backdrops for collage and part II on how to Find the right spot to add your text.

Further inspiration elsewhere

Go visit;

*Cat got your tongue? – Crusade #30 and it’s contributors (I’m just one of many thinking about this in April)
* Kelly Kilmer’s blog – always lots of art journal inspiration with a great sense of combining lots of her journaling writing with lots of yummy visuals!
* Ateljer XT’s journal – I was looking through her cool sketch journal with collage and writing today, and I love every single page! Mucho lindo!
* SuziBlu Daily Vlog – Suzi has a 365 project! She inspires me ever day by talking about writing morning pages, thinking big, doing art, wearing wigs, enjoying life, etc.

Also, a humongous Thank You for humoring me by eating cake with me, celebrating my birthday and my 1000th blog post! Love you! Friday is next big date: this blog will become five for heavens sake!


Take care, until next tutorial.

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22 Responses to How to add Journaling to your Art Journal

  1. Mindy says:

    This post was perfectly timed for me. I have been struggling with feeling artistically inspired and inspired to write at the same time and feeling like I am leaving pages unfinished. A lot of times I will just do a single page with kind of a “message” to myself. For instance, all my last page said was “Make yourself happy”. On other pages I have left room for journaling, but haven’t been inspired. I think I need to let go of feeling the need for the pages to match the words. I used to scrapbook so I think this is a holdover from that. This post was really helpful.

  2. Zom says:

    I like this Hanna, great post and I look forward to more.
    I have been using a larger journal and sometimes just leave some of the pages for journaling. But I haven’t been so pleased with how it looks visually. I like the writing over the collage.

    I love it when you post about art journaling.

  3. Shell says:

    About three months back, I started pasting images on journal pages then started writing over them. I never thought of doing themes, or lists. Now you gave me new ideas. I liked how you showed your journal pages with pictures then after with the writings.

  4. Lydia says:

    Congratulations on your anniversaries!
    I always look forward to your posts, may they always continue!

  5. KeKe says:

    Awesome post! I’m just getting started (again) journaling. This time I’m art journaling without rules!!

    Thanks for sharing!!


  6. Kim Mailhot says:

    You have some great tips here, Hanna ! Love the page !

  7. dang! i missed the cake! happy birthday and 1000!!! whew!
    you have shared so much of yourself hanna – what a gift.
    and this! a terrific post about writing. thank you for breaking down your process to encourage others. i look forward to the follow up posts. (i’m need a magnifying glass so i can see if you’ve listed you-know-who in your music faves *wink*)

  8. iHanna says:

    Thanks for your comments girls!

    Michelle Ward: No, I haven’t! Though I have listened to the first five seconds of their video, the one you have on your sidebar… many many times now!! ;-) *wink wink*

  9. U2kitteh says:

    Big ::HUGS:: to Hanna!
    Happy belated birthday from me and add my congratulations to all of the anniversaries coming up! Wow!
    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this posting. This is exactly what I’ve been wanting to hear about, and especially from you as I just love your style and colors in your journals…yet I am so afraid to jump in and try it myself!
    Woohoo! I am so inspired to maybe pick up my old neglected journal tonight…
    Thank you Hanna!

  10. iHanna says:

    Felicia (U2kitteh )!
    thank you!
    How strange (serendipitous) that you just commented tonight (here at least). I was reading back on e-mails and found yours (again!) and I’m mad at myself for not responding sooner (or at all yet), so it’s not just you who is neglecting important stuff (like journaling). :-)
    You have to do some art journaling play this week my friend! Just don’t think to much, have fun, play with your materials! I was affraid at first too, I hesitated for weeks and read books about it instead. But there is nothing better than just jump in! Do it girl!

    And thanks again for your e-mails and mucho love! Hugs back at ya!

  11. Kelly says:

    Hi Hanna! Thank you for your kind ‘virtual hug’. It was sweet :) And I’m glad you like that song…I’ve actually got a lot of my friends around here hooked on it too.

    I also really like your newest post. I was reading it earlier today actually and the first thing that caught my eye was what you wrote about listening to new music and how it makes your heart glad. I was JUST talking to my friend about that the other day. We were saying how we don’t understand how there can be people in the world who don’t like music. How can anyone not like music?? Unfathomable. :)

  12. iHanna says:

    Hi Kelly, thanks for coming back here and making a commented even though you already read the post! There must be lots of girls like you who visit here and never comment I guess… Hi all!
    I get why some people don’t like music; I totally adore silence and I need it too! Maybe they just haven’t been looking around for the right kind of music for them? This is what I’m investigating right now: my taste. And finding tunes you can fall in love with is just… lovely! :-)

  13. Hi HannaI! I just joined this month’s crusade on using words, and typically for me, did it the other way round. First joining by writing and posting a haiku with my digital collage, and afterwards reading your entry!! Seeing all your excellent words on writing in journals, I simply have to sit and read everything very carefully tonight, as I don’t want to miss it, I long for more information on this topic. So thank you!!
    And: I love your journaling…

    Regina Dwarkasing
    St. Maarten DWI

  14. iHanna says:

    Thanks Regina, I visited your blog and am fascinated by your art piece – wow! I’m glad the information here is helpful, more is coming soon, I promise. I think I’m in love with this subject + my art journals, they are my babies! :-)

    Take care!

  15. Regina says:

    Fun page & inspiring, too.

  16. Lu says:

    wonderful post.

  17. tess says:

    How to you add your artwork to your blog? Are you scanning the images or are you photographing them and uploading as a photo? It looks great — and that’s why I’m asking. thanks, tess

  18. iHanna says:

    Thanks for your nice comments girls!

    I have a good camera and a scanner. The images in this post is from a photo of my art journal that does not fit into the scanner. I lay it flat on the floor and take pictures when the outside light is as good as possible – or I go outside. :-)

  19. Chris says:

    You know, Hanna, I just find your blog so easy and so inspiring and interesting. I love clicking from one place to another and finding so much. You give a LOT. I would love it if you published another blog book. I know it’s hard, though. But at least I have them all here, when I want to see fun and beauty!


  20. ari says:

    hey hanna I think you can help I have been trying to write a journal, but I have never done that.. is about college how can I start, how to do it?? pleaseeee help me!!

    thanks a lot

    • iHanna says:

      Ari, the only way to start is by getting a notebook and start writing. Write about your life, what you eat, what you like, how you feel, what you do… Try it for a month and see if you like it! A great starter prompt is to describe the room you are sitting in: how does it look and what things are you surrounded by?

      Good luck!

  21. anja says:

    I came across this post via pinterest and I love it!!! I’d love to see more of your journal pages on your blog that I follow, but I haven’t followed so many years back as this was from 2009. It was the year I only started my own blog and discovered mixed media. I have noticed there are other pins to take so I will place them on my pinterest board dear diary. Thank you for sharing so generously!

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