Art Journaling for Beginners: Why Keeping An Art Journal is Good for You!

By Elaine Allen | Uncategorised

Jan 12

We've made it through the Holiday Season!

And 2020! Whew.

I'm celebrating that, but just yesterday I heard a family member say they were sad the holidays were over. It's winter grey and we'd love some light right now.

Here's one solution that's been proven by science: the act of engaging in a creative endeavor can lift your mood and emotions.
Think that might be valuable, considering the year we’ve just been through?
Are you willing to explore what a creative practice can do for you?

Imagine if you had an outlet where you could set aside time just for you—a time to create, have fun, and tap into your playful side.

That’s where art journaling comes in.

Art journaling is a simple and inexpensive way to relieve stress and practice your creativity.

But what exactly is an art journal?

An art journal is similar to a traditional journal—it allows you to document and process your experiences using images rather than just words.

I keep an art journal for several reasons: to express gratitude, to work through emotions I’m feeling, record trips I take or moments I want to remember, and when I want to take a few minutes to decompress and create.

Whether you are an art journal beginner or have loved the practice for many years, I invite you to join me for my upcoming Art Journal Challenge!

From January 21-27, I’m hosting a 7 Day Art Journal Challenge. Throughout the week, I’ll share with you art journal supplies, tips, and inspiration, as well as loop you into my own creative process. You’ll join a community of others who are committing to making time for creativity too!

But maybe you’re wondering… why keep an art journal in the first place? 

Below are 5 reasons that art journaling can bring a splash of joy and fun to your life.


1. Art journaling is therapeutic.

Although I’m not a therapist, I can tell you that acknowledging and expressing our emotions with art lifts a weight from us. When we keep our emotions suppressed, it can lead to heavy feelings that affect our work, relationships, and mental and physical health. 

Art journaling is one way that we can express these emotions in a wordless, therapeutic manner. It gives us space to process our feelings in a healthy way. 

My art journal is a helpful tool when I need to work through something I’m ruminating about—it allows me to express myself when I don’t have the words.


2. Art journaling makes you happier and relieves stress.

I’ve seen this firsthand in my own life and in the lives of my art students: Making art moves the bar on happiness up a few ticks. And now scientific studies back up what long-time art instructors like myself have known all along.

One study from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro found that study participants reported higher levels of happiness while participating in a creative activity, such as writing, playing music, or creating art. Researchers concluded that everyday creativity offers a positive effect on psychological processes.

Stressed at work? Art journaling can help you with that, too.

Studies show that creating art can help mitigate stress. Yay for that!

Art journaling is a fun, informal way to process emotions, relieve stress, and make you happier—all without needing tons of supplies or practice in order to do so! 


3. Art journaling is good for your brain.

We’re all looking for ways to keep our brains sharp as we age—and creating art is one of the ways we can keep our minds in tip-top shape.

A study found that retirees who attended regular hands-on art classes had improvement within the brain’s “default mode network, which is associated with cognitive processes such as introspection, self-monitoring, and memory.”

Whether you’re retired or not, your brain will benefit from engaging in active creation through art journaling rather than passive consumption like social media scrolling or watching too much television.


4. Art journaling is a fun and fulfilling way to record memories.

I recently had the pleasure of leading an art retreat in Venice, Italy (before the pandemic!). As a way of documenting our experiences in a creative, personal way, I taught retreat attendees how to keep an art journal throughout the retreat.

By the end of the trip, the women had art journals full of their thoughts, views, and memories from our magical time together.

When I showed my own art journal to others upon my return from Venice, I had so many people asking me if I’d offer an art journal class.

That’s where I got the idea for my free 7 Day Art Journal Challenge.

This January is the perfect time to begin or to recommit to art journaling. My Art Journal Challenge will give you the support and inspiration you need to get started.


5. Art journaling allows you to express yourself creatively and improve your art skills.

What I love about art journaling is the simplicity of it—it’s not about creating a masterpiece, but simply recording experiences in a casual and creative way that fills your soul with inspiration and rest.

Plus, when you regularly art journal, you’ll notice an improvement in your art skills as you allow yourself to experiment and play with color and technique.


About the Author

Elaine Allen is a lifelong artist who loves to share her love for art and her expertise with anyone who would love to discover their creativity.