I journal in all types of journals, from watercolor journals to vintage books that I repurpose into art journals. I keep a journal for watercolor artwork only, I have journals that were made to take all types of media and ones that are vintage books that I prep to be used with all types of media. This can be done by adding gesso to the pages before you begin your art journaling. I also keep a daily journal in my Traveler’s Notebook that I use mainly for collage, watercolors and journaling. Because I practice different journaling techniques, I keep different journals and use different supplies. I have compiled a list of my Must Have Art Journaling Supplies. Of course, these may not be every art journalers basic supplies but they are supplies that I go to time and time again.
First and most important supply is a JOURNAL.
As you can see above, there are many options and this is only the tip of the iceberg. Starting at the top left is my Traveler’s Notebook that I use for my daily journaling, my vintage record book that I have turned into an art journal, a small spiral bound journal, a small mixed media art journal and finally a small pamphlet style journal that I bound myself. You can use a journal that is stitched or a spiral bound journal. I prefer the stitched journals because I feel that the two-page spreads are more cohesive whereas the spiral bound journals have a gap between the spread. Again, this is personal preference. Once you begin art journaling, you will start to see what style you prefer. Just be sure that you purchase or make a journal that has heavier weight paper (96lbs. or more), or paper that can withstand wet media such as watercolors and acrylic paint.
Next supply is a PERMANENT AND WATERPROOF BLACK PEN AND/OR MARKER
If you plan to use wet media in your journal, then a permanent and waterproof black pen and/or marker are a must. The last thing you want is to have your writing or artwork ruined when you run a wet brush over it. The two options above, Faber Castell PITT artist pen and Krink marker, are both great options. There are also many other options out there. Just be sure that when you shop for a pen or marker that it says waterproof, otherwise, I wouldn’t take the risk.
Another must have art supply is the WHITE WATER BASED SHARPIE PAINT MARKER.
This supply is great for doodling, lettering and adding highlights because it is super opaque. You can also find these Sharpie Paint Markers in oil based but I recommend the water based. They seem to flow and show up better.
Something else that I use in my journals are RUBBER STAMPS
and BLACK ARCHIVAL INK.
I love all types of rubber stamps for my art journals, especially numbers and letters. You can use the numbers to add dates in your daily journal or letters to create quotes or to make bold statements in your journals. I strongly recommend Ranger’s Archival Jet Black Ink because it is permanent and waterproof. They also have many other colors of ink, which I love, but the one color that I use constantly is the black.
And you can’t live without ADHESIVES.
Sometimes I prefer to use matte or gel medium when I’m gluing down collage material and ephemera. Other times I am just gluing collage items and photos down with a glue stick or a dry adhesive. (Starting at the far left) The matte medium is very runny and can be used to adhere papers to a journal page. The gel medium has a thicker consistency and can be used to glue down heavier papers and other materials. A brush is used to apply both mediums to your work surface. Of course everyone knows how a glue stick works. I purchased the UHU stick at Dick Blick’s and love it. I also have pictured the Tombow Liquid Glue which I also like because it has a pointy end for small objects and a larger, rubber tip for bigger surfaces. On the far right is the dry adhesive or also called a tape runner. It is basically double sided tape. This is probably the least messy of all of the options.
Of course you need COLLAGE MATERIALS AND/OR EPHEMERA to add to your journal pages.
I keep this small bin on my art table that contains all types of ephemera. Some of it is purchased and some of it is from art projects that I worked on. I also keep anything that interests me, such as tags from clothing, fabric and postage stamps.
Another supply that is great to use in art journaling is MATTE ACRYLIC PAINT.
Why matte paint you ask? Well, when you use other acrylic paints in your journal that are not matte, the pages in your journal tend to stick together, causing your beautiful artwork to be damaged when you go to peel the pages apart. I’m not saying that I only use matte paints in my art journal but I strongly recommend them.
I’m currently enjoying working in my daily journal with WATERCOLORS.
You can purchase so many different brands of watercolors and you can find them in pans and in tubes. I suggest purchasing a cheap set of pan watercolors to see if you like using them before you invest in an expensive set. The paints shown above are Daniel Smith Watercolors, which are considered extra fine watercolors. I strongly recommend them if you decide to invest in a nice set. I also have cheap pan watercolors that I use from time to time as well. It just depends on what you like. You may decide that you prefer only acrylic paints and that’s fine. Or, you may be like me and go through phases. I may use watercolors consistently for months but the I may switch to using acrylic paints for the next several months instead of my watercolors. I just go with what makes me happy at that moment in time.
Of course you can’t apply your acrylic paint or watercolors to your journal without PAINTBRUSHES.
There are all kinds of brands and types of paintbrushes. The big thing to pay attention to is if you are using the right type of brush for the media that you will be working with. In other words, do not, I repeat, Do Not, use your watercolor brushes in your acrylic paint. That will ruin your brushes. Some brushes are made to be used with acrylic and watercolor, then it is fine. But if the brush is strictly made for watercolor, be sure to only use it for watercolor. I really like the Winsor and Newton Cotman watercolor brushes and Princeton brushes for acrylic painting. You can also find cheaper brushes to get you started, which also work well. I suggest that you purchase a few different brush styles. Pictured above, starting at the left, is a flat brush, a filbert brush and a round brush. I would recommend getting several sizes of each, including a very small round brush for detail work. Of course, as you get going on your art journaling adventure, you will learn what type of brushes work best with your style.
One art supply that I absolutely cannot live without is GESSO.
You can find gesso in white, black, gray and clear. I use all three in my art journals. As I had mentioned earlier, gesso can help add weight and tooth to pages that may be thin. This will help you to build media on top. If you like the background of your page and don’t want to cover it up but need to stiffen it up a bit, you can add clear gesso to it. Just a little side note, gesso is very rough so if you plan to do a lot of journaling or writing on a page, you may not want to gesso the who page or any of the page. It can ruin your pens with its rough texture and make it difficult to write on. Of course, if you add paint on top of the gesso, that may help. Gesso is also really good for applying paint and allowing the paint to be easier to manipulate on the page.
If you are going to work with a lot of wet media in your journal, it is a necessity to have a HEAT TOOL.
The heat tool will allow you to dry your work in stages quickly so you don’t have to wait for it to dry on its own before moving on to the next step on your pages.
And one of the most simple but most important tools if you want to sketch or draw in your journal is a PENCIL and and good eraser.
I love to use mechanical pencils but sometimes I also like to use other types of pencils as well. You will learn which you prefer as you practice. I also recommend a separate eraser (not pictured).
So there you have it. The main art journaling supplies that I use and can’t live without. I hope that if you are new to art journaling, this has helped you in finding a place to start. I know that it can be so overwhelming trying to understand art supplies and which ones that you need to get started. Again, every art journaler is different and this is my personal preference.
Also, I wanted to ask for your support in a Pet Portrait contest that I am in for BLICK art materials. The winner is based on the number of votes and if you would be so kind to vote for my piece, I will be forever grateful. The portrait is of my English Bulldog, Bentley, that passed away one week ago.
Voting started on February 27, 2017 and ends on March 5, 2017. You can vote for King Bentley HERE. Thanks again for your support and for stopping by the blog!