Moleskine sketchbook with thicker pages than a normal Moleskine notebook.

Art journaling – week 7 check in.

Today I thought I’d post a few questions on art journaling that I’ve gotten lately in the mail, so that maybe others too can benefit from the answers. I hope. Enjoy!

Moleskine notebook as Art Journal

Nicole’s question: Wishing my journal was as pretty as yours. My reason for writing is that I think I want to give art journaling a try when I start my new journal. I’ve been looking at getting a large Moleskine plain notebook.I saw that you do some art journaling in it, and I was wondering about the quality. I’ve heard some reviews where the paper is really thin, and even pen ink can sometimes leak through. What is your experience? I will be ordering them from Amazon – if I get them – so I can’t test it for myself, and I don’t want to waste $$.

Purple label = art journaling potential

My answer:
Nicole, thanks. There are many different kinds of notebooks that you can use, Moleskine is one brand that is quite expensive but that many people love. I often use the Plain Notebook kind to write in, as my daily journal for jotting down ideas. I don’t paint in it at all but sometimes I do glue in images and make a what I call diary collage. For a painting class with SuziBlue I bought the Large Sketchbook by Moleskine because its paper resembles manilla folder or cream colored cardstock. From the few pages I’ve filled in that particular sketchbook I can tell it will take a lot of glue and paint without curling, though I think the size is a bit to small. I prefer bigger books like cheap altered books where the pages are not so precious. There is also the Watercolour Notebook by Moleskine but I haven’t tried it yet. I hope this clears your confusion and helps on what you want to buy!

Sticky pages

Margaret’s question: I have this problem when I use acrylics that the pages always remain sticky even years later! Clear gesso left the page all gritty and made the ink go funny! Any ideas, other possibilities?! Many many thanks for everything… keep shining your light on us ;-)


My answer: I usually don’t have this problem with my pages, I’m not sure why. My suggestion for sticky pages is;
1) leave the book open over night to let everything dry,
2) use a baking parchment paper or similar between the sheets when you close the book if you’ve painted a lot with heavy acrylics or glossy paint and if this doesn’t help you can
3) coat the whole spread with a layer of matte medium (not gel medium but the thinner kind). I hope this helps. You will need to only use water-resistent inks on the page because the wet medium will otherwise smear anything you’ve written. There are so many different kinds of acrylics too, maybe you should try another brand? Mine can stick but after a few days they are okay to close the book and not stick together even on whole painted pages. I hope this helps, also check out Samantha Kira’s video about sticky pages!

Multiple journals

Question from Cath: Hello there! I always end up asking you questions (seriously you’re just so talented!). Anyway I was wondering: besides your art journals do you keep a writing journal too? I always kept a writing journal (I write way too much) but I really want to art journal, but I don’t know if it’s best to separate them or not. Or at least have one art only. Do you find this difficult or not really? I’m thinking in doing the nudges so I can really start in art journaling.

This is my life, a messy pile of papers everywhere

My answer: Hi Cath! Thanks! I don’t know if you read Kristin’s interview with me over at Journaling saves but there I only talk about my written journal, something I did long before I started art journaling and always will continue to do. I write a lot too and I don’t think it can be “too much” of that. I couldn’t do all that writing in a painted and decorated art journal, that would take too much time for me. So I write in a notebook and do artsy stuff in altered books (with thicker pages) or on watercolour paper that I bind into books. So the answer is that I keep at least two books, mostly because I can’t write page after page of journaling on pretty watercolour paper and I can’t use wet media on thin paper so I need two books for the separate activities.

When I started art journaling I was struggling with writing a lot, where to write and what to express and there is no space left to write on etc. After a while I found what works for me and these days I don’t think much about it. Sometimes I will write on a page, most of the time I won’t or just add a few words here and there.

Art journaling is a process that is constantly evolving. I started with spiral notebooks, went on to altered books and these days I enjoy binding my own journals. When you start you can look for 1000 answers from more experienced artists and look through many books but in the end you can find inspiration but never Your Own Way. The only way to find your style, favorite notebook and favorite art supplies is to dive in head first and start experimenting! That’s what I did. I hope you’ll take some time for your art journal this week end! Thanks and have a great day!