The First Rule of Art Journaling

It’s Art Journal Friday over here, and time for a peek into one of my painted journals again. I want to share a few pages and details from them today. But I also need to share the most important, and only, Rule of Art Journaling, with you guys…

First (and only) rule of Art Journaling by iHanna - read more at

The first rule of Art Journaling, as I see it, is: You should always do what ever you want to – in what ever way you want to. Period. Being inspired is awesome, being told what to do and how, is not. Finding new ways to create is fun, but having someone tell you which layer to start with is just plain boooring. Am I right?

I see a lot of tutorials posted over on pinterest on How to Art Journal, or How to create a Layered Page, and that makes me cringe. I hope I don’t write captions like that. There are too many rules in regular life, and lot of how-tos about how to blog, do social media and so on… In Art Journaling, and art in general, I need to be reminded of the fact that there are no rules!

The How to Make Perfect Art Journal Page-posts you see is not worth reading. I wanted to let you know how much bullshit that is. And I’m saying that just after posting the fact that I am teaching something about Art Journaling (21 secrets Workshop Fall with an Early Bird Special posted this week), where I am actually hoping that some of you will want to buy it and learn from me and the other 20 teachers there…

Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use do the work you want to see done.
Austin Kleon

I think it will be an awesome workshop, with both tutorials and inspiration.

But the truth is, I am making the kind of Art Journal workshop that I’m interested in taking: with inspiration, enthusiasm, suggestions and options. I want to to be more of a stepping stone for your growth than a step-by-step tutorial for one single page. In my classes I will always present you with a lot of options and ideas, not prompts or tutorials. I show you a lot of different materials to try out and play with, in hopes that some of them will be interesting, and available, to you. I talk a lot about how you can show your personality and taste on your page, and make it more your own thing.

Don’t copy, be inspired by.

Art Journal Detail: Red tulip drawing by iHanna of

My hope is that the Ideas I talk about in my 21 Secrets videos will inspire you, weather you are a seasoned artist or a newbie art journaler with a willingness to soak up all new information. And Art Journaling is all about experimenting with the materials: paint, crayons, pens, and collage.

Maybe the The First Rule of Art Journaling, or at least the second one, should be: there are no rules, because there can’t be! There can’t be rules when you have the freedom to do what ever you want to do, how ever you want to! Taking a class though, gives you more knowledge which will lead to more options to choose the creative ways that speaks the most to you! I love learning new things, and there are so many inspiring artists to learn from out there.

Finally, here is the full spread in my Art Journal.

Peek into iHanna's Art Journal: Tulip and patter by iHanna of
Collage, crayons, acrylic paint, pencil, mark making. I think it’s one of my favorite pages in this journal.

Let me know in the comments if you like it too.

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9 Responses to The First Rule of Art Journaling

  1. Jenny says:

    hi hanna, i like ~ LIKE ~ like your page. it’s whimsical and peaceful. i agree, art means having fun-no rules. well said!! xo

  2. Dianne C. says:

    You make a very valid point~ expectations to make the Perfect page are self-defeating! However, I do think that some of us need more guidance than others. Sometimes ‘no rules’ can really scare people and they don’t know where to start.

    The world needs teachers like you who are helping us experiment and try ideas, rather than ‘cookie-cutter, make-it-look-just-like-mine’ art! wonderfully bright and beautiful pages you’ve shared…love me some polka-dots!

  3. Beth in IL says:

    Like the thought of no rules in art journals. I often need a jumping off point. Your pages inspire me.

  4. Marit says:

    Amen, Hanna! My workshops are like yours… no ‘rules’, no ‘step-to-step’… inspiration and fun. You said it so well: a stepping stone. I just KNEW you are like that too… have a great weekend dear one and hug from Holland. P.S. Love your journal page b.t.w.

  5. Jill Holmes says:

    Love this post! And your pages are so beautiful and refreshing! I just want to breathe them in. :-)

  6. Mathilde says:

    Inspirerende innlegg. Liker fargebruken i alle dine kunstverk. Du virker s fri i mten du lager kunst p og det er noe jeg nsker bli flinkere til.
    Fortsett inspirere og lyse opp dagene til alle som finner bloggen din.
    Hper det var greit at jeg skrev p norsk :)

  7. Chris says:

    I really would love to take this. I’m hoping I can. I missed your last stint on 21 secrets!

  8. Tina says:

    I love this spread. You make me feel very inspired and confident. I really think I am going to give painting a try!

  9. Tammy says:

    Yes. 100% agree. It’s about the doing, so perfection is never the goal or the intention.

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