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  • Writer's pictureKaaren Poole

Make Your Own Blank Art Journal

I began art journaling back in the summer of 2020 after watching a few of Laly Mille’s videos. Before that, I didn’t really see the point of doing artwork only to have it shut away in a book, but I began to see the value of it, especially when I contemplated the large number of paintings I had with no space to display them. An art journal would be like a little gallery of its own, but with a lot of artwork taking up very little space. Plus, the format seems to encourage freedom in one’s work. And the combination of media, techniques, images, texture, and text invites experimentation. If one chooses, it can be a very private place for personal expression. It can also contain inspirations for full-size paintings. All good things!

My new blank art journal in the upper left, with the other, completed, five journals keeping it company.

About a month ago I finished my fifth art journal, and it was time to make the next one. Yes, I prefer to make my own journals because then I can have exactly what I want – my choice of size, paper, covers, and binding. I find making them fun and relaxing, and thought it would be nice to share the process with you in case you want to try it. Be aware, though, that it does involve hand sewing. I find hand sewing enjoyable, but I know not everyone does.

These are the main steps. Decide what size you want your spreads (the left and right pages when the journal is open) to be and what type of paper you want. Find heavy cardboard for the covers. Prepare the pages by folding your papers in half then punching holes in the fold to allow you to sew the pages together. Add the front and back covers and, maybe, a ribbon bookmark.

I’m always enchanted by how neat and clean a journal is when it’s first born. But as it fills with art, it gets full of texture and color, chunky and unruly. Wonderful! And in the end, you have a treasure on your hands.

In case you want to give it a try, I’ve written up the instructions for you. Inspired? Download my PDF and get started!

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