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An open bullet journal held by a hand with the word October and various natural items drawn in it

Exploring the vast realm of artistic ideas and journaling can spark joy of ideas and, at times, feel like a wild goose chase when trying to find that one theme that genuinely aligns with your style. Trust me, I’ve been on this ride too! After countless hours dipping my fingers into numerous artistic journals and dabbling with varied ideas for art and themes, I uncovered some truly unique and amazing ideas for art that set my creativity alight.

This article offers 12 great ideas and captivating themes for you to delve into in your art journal. Each great theme is thoughtfully curated to light up inspiration and transform every blank page-themed art journal into a piece of art.

So grab those brushes; together let’s awaken our inner artists and splash our imagination across the canvas of paper!


Key Takeaways

  • Artistic journaling combines art, writing, and personal thoughts to express yourself.

  • You can use themes in your artistic journal like gratitude, self-portraits, or mood mandalas.

  • Collages of hopes & dreams or using mixed media adds variety to your journal.

  • Travel journals, food books, and book-themed journals provide unique expressions.

  • Themes based on love & romance, nature, pets/animals highlight different aspects of life.

A bullet journal with various nature scenes in it.

Understanding Artistic Journaling

Artistic journaling is a creative combination of art, writing, and personal introspection. It crafts a unique space for self-expression, where you can visually illustrate your thoughts, emotions, or experiences.

Distinct from traditional written journals, artistic journals provide an outlet for those who love music and prefer to express themselves with images and colors rather than words alone.

At its core, artistic journaling can lead to profound therapeutic benefits. Every stroke of color works as an emotion amplifier that paints the canvas of our minds on paper. Whether it’s doodling during a mind-numbing meeting or sketching out vacation memories in vivid detail, it becomes more than just documentation; it’s catharsis encapsulated within the folds of your bullet journal.

Engaging in this practice invites mindfulness into daily life by shifting focus from external stimuli to internal reflection. The captivating power of combining words with visual elements transforms everyday moments into extraordinary memories captured artistically on these pages.

In essence, choosing what creative themes to explore in artistic journaling that resonates deeply with you is what truly sets each journey apart in artistic art journaling! From nature-inspired sketches capturing enchanting sunsets to mixed media collages dedicated entirely to beloved pets, the realm of creating themed art journals teems with endless possibilities waiting just for you! This fusion offers numerous opportunities not just to document events but also allows room for growth and transformation as every page turns into an artistic reflection of the self over time.

Inspiring Themes for Artistic Journaling

Artistic journaling can soar to new levels with creative and inspirational art journal ideas and art journal themes. From constructing a gratitude journal and self-portraits to intricately designed mood mandalas, creative art journal themes and ideas give you get a chance for personal reflection.

Capture your unique aspirations through a hopes & dreams collage in handmade journals or assemble diverse elements in one journal through mixed media collages. Chronicling adventures come alive in travel-themed art journals, while book lovers might find joy in curating an art journal about books they love.

A food visual diary & recipe book could be an artistic celebration of gastronomic delights whereas love & romance-themed art journals let you illustrate heartwarming moments. Bask in the serenity of nature-inspired, art journaling themes, cherish pet memories using animal journals, or dive into the enchanting world of fairy tales; the choice is all yours! A beach and sea theme offers tranquility, while music lovers may pour their passion into a music-themed art journal; limitless possibilities await in the realm of artistic art journaling!

Gratitude Journal

Using a gratitude journal as a theme in artistic journaling is a powerful way to express your feelings. It allows you to visually represent the things you are grateful for and appreciate in everyday life.

On days when you feel down, flipping through your gratitude journal can bring positivity back into focus. Remembering the good times has never been this easy!

Creating an art journal dedicated to expressing gratitude doesn’t have to be complex. You might choose pictures that make you happy like snapshots of family or pets, ticket stubs from memorable concerts or events, quotes that inspire you, or even simple doodles of everyday items. Whatever favorite things that bring joy into your daily life. There’s no right or wrong way to do it! The goal here is simply to create something personal and fill blank journal pages with positive affirmations about life’s small and big delights!


In the realm of artistic journaling, self-portraits play a significant role. They’re not only for artists who can sketch or paint; even if you consider yourself a novice, this theme is for you too! A self-portrait to start an art journal entry or entry or page might include pasted photographs, magazine cutouts resembling your physical traits, or features that define your identity.

Alternatively, it might just be colors and patterns that resonate with your mood theme ideas, and personality. It fosters an intimate exploration of oneself. Every stroke of color reflects an emotion. Every shape hints at personal growth and evolution.

Self-portraits prominently display emotions enabling us to understand ourselves better while improving our mood and mindset.

Mood Mandala

Mood mandala serves a crucial purpose in artistic journaling. It’s a compelling pattern drawn within a circle, symbolizing the universe’s wholeness and unity. The beauty of creating your own mood mandala journal, or art journal page is the freedom to use colors that resonate with your feelings on any particular day.

This interactive way of tracking emotions encourages you to be mindful of your mental state and facilitates self-expression in an aesthetically pleasing form. By drawing these intricate patterns, you not only stimulate creativity but also engage in a therapeutic process potentially beneficial for mental health by improving mood and mindset.

Incorporating mood mandalas into your art journal could take you on an enlightening journey towards self-discovery and emotional well-being!

Hopes & Dream Collage

Creating a Hopes & Dream Collage in your artistic journal is an inspiring way to manifest your aspirations. This unique theme invites you to dig deep into your desires and transfer them onto paper using different materials like seed packets, photographs, doodles, or illustrations.

As I arrange these visual elements on my journal page, it feels as if I am shaping my future. The process of designing this collage acts as a powerful visualization tool that not only enhances creativity but also serves as a morale booster during challenging times.

It’s an ongoing reminder of what motivates and moves you toward achieving those goals!

A bullet journal open with various nature stickers and items written to inspire you

Mixed Media Collage

Unleashing your creativity with a mixed-media collage can be one of the most enjoyable endeavors in artistic journaling. It helps to create diversity in textures and color palettes, which not only enhances aesthetics but also improves mood and mindset.

This technique incorporates bits and pieces collected from daily life. Think about incorporating ticket stubs, sheet music cuts, or tea bags!

You can bring a further element of surprise by cutting shapes into your art journal pages for hidden images or secret messages. The blend of different elements like acrylic paints, colored pencils, paper scraps, and more will result in an impressive visual representation that reflects your unique perspective on things around you.

Mixed media collage truly allows for artistic expression to shine through every journal page.

Travel Journal

A travel journal embodies adventure and creativity in equal measure. It’s a perfect way to capture your experiences and collect memories from each journey you embark on. You don’t have to limit yourself to words, feel free to use sketches, colors, and textures. Anything that brings your travels back to life! Attach tickets or mementos that remind you of special moments.

This kind of artistic journaling transforms each page of a dream journal into a map charting both inner emotional journeys and outer physical ones. Looking ahead, I plan on sharing more great art journaling ideas here for making your travel journal truly unique!

A Book About Books

Creating an art journal themed, “A Book About Books” can be a unique and inspiring journey. This art journal theme allows you to explore your favorite books, authors, or literary quotes artistically in dream art journal.

You could dedicate pages to various genres or specific chapters of most-loved novels. Make use of the technique from the book for hidden journaling by creating miniature doors on some pages which when opened would reveal quotations or drawings related to particular stories.

Consider designing unique shapes like a bookmark on page edges in homage to this riveting theme. Unusual collages might feature characters crossing between unrelated novels. Think Austen’s Elizabeth Bennet meeting Tolkien’s Gandalf! Using contrasting colors for each genre gives your artistic journal visual intrigue while celebrating literature through vibrant imagery and thoughtful layouts.

Food & Recipe Book

Diving into the world of culinary arts, a Food & Recipe Book theme can turn your first art journal idea into an illustrated cookbook. You will be combining your love for food and drawing to document your favorite recipes in this creative outlet.

Using vintage cookbooks or modern printouts as inspiration, you sketch appetizing meals and list ingredients with their measures directly onto the pages of your journal. This transforms the entire journal of everyday cooking into a work of edible art! Doodles, pictures cut from magazines, stickers related to food or even printed photos from finished dishes find their place here too.

Love & Romance Journal

Incorporating love and romance themes into your artistic journaling can be a wonderful way to explore these emotions creatively. You could dedicate pages to expressions of gratitude for the love in your life, create vision board spreads that symbolize your romantic dreams, or design unique shapes that symbolize different aspects of love.

For those who have some digital flair, going online with an art journal is another option. This allows you to save paper while still providing ample opportunities for creative expression.

Don’t shy away from deep emotional writing either on these pages. Try adding letters, perhaps ones written to past loves or future partners. These words not only help convey feelings but they also contribute beautifully intricate textures to the page when seen as visual elements.

After all, the beauty of an art journal lies in its ability to transform everyday thoughts and experiences into tangible pieces of artwork that reflect our inner world. A true testament to the power of love and romance in our lives.

Nature-Inspired Journal

Drawing inspiration from the outdoors can bring a breath of fresh air to your artistic expression. A nature-inspired art journal idea that taps into the soothing, therapeutic benefits of nature seen in daily life.

Imagine filling pages with sketches or watercolors inspired by leaves, flowers, trees, or even unusual insects you’ve encountered. You may incorporate found objects like seed packets and pressed flowers for a tangible touch of nature.

Photographs taken on hikes or during calm moments in your backyard provide excellent visual prompts too! This creative theme indeed brings an earthly twist to the traditional art journaling practice.

Pets/Animals Journal

Incorporating the theme of pets or animals into your art journal can spark diverse creative expressions. You might sketch your beloved pet in various poses or create one journal with a colorful bird collage.

Try crafting mixed media art pieces featuring exotic animals you admire in art yourself. Turning the pages of art itself, you’d be greeted by art done with fond depictions of fluffy felines, vibrant butterflies, or majestic horses.

Include snippets of interesting things and facts about creatures that fascinate you and let this enrich your artistic exploration! No doubt, creating a pets/animals journal not only enhances mood but also nurtures an appreciation for these amazing companions furry friends we share our planet with.

Fairy Tales

Fairy tales serve as an incredible theme for your own art journal ideas. They unlock a world of magic, mystery, and enchantment that can fuel your creativity when creating art journals. You’re free to recreate scenes from favorite fairy tales or reinterpret them in new ways using different artistic techniques.

Perhaps you’ll illustrate the moment Cinderella’s pumpkin transforms into a carriage, or when Jack first discovers his beanstalk’s grown overnight! Fairy tales also offer copious characters. Princesses, wizards, beasts, each waiting to be sketched on your art journal ideas or pages! Lastly, if we think about why these stories resonate with us so deeply; it’s because they revolve around universal human experiences and emotions. Love, loss, adventure, and triumph over adversity, which are all powerful themes to explore in our artistic and word art journals, too.

It brings not just nostalgia but also opens gateways for imaginative narration on those blank pages of yours.

Beach & Sea Theme

Artistic journaling with a beach and sea theme stirs feelings of serenity and relaxation. It’s the perfect avenue for documenting precious seaside memories and favorite beach destinations.

You might sketch seashells found on travels or collate blue hues to capture ocean colors. This theme can serve as a form of escapism, transporting you to sun-soaked shores whenever you open your journal.

The beauty of such a theme is its flexibility; it easily adapts to individual preferences and artistic styles, from watercolor waves to charcoal sketches of marine life. I encourage exploring different techniques and materials. Consider using sand or salt in your medium for more texture! Journaling this way also strengthens our connection with nature, enhancing our appreciation for the extraordinary depths of our beautiful oceans.

Music Art Journal

There’s a uniquely inspiring rhythm to creating a music art journal. Rooted in the melodies, lyrics, and emotions of your favorite tunes, these handmade art journals really can become real-life soundtracks on paper.

You can cut out sheet music and layer them onto pages, or sketch images that spring to mind when you listen to certain songs. Plucking words from lyrics of other artists that resonate with you and interweaving them into your collages will add depth to your creations, inviting others into an exploration of your musical tastes.

These types of journals not only celebrate our love for music but also serve as powerful reminders of how it shapes our thoughts, emotions, and experiences.

A bullet journal open with Gratitude log written on the top and items listed

Tips for Starting Your Art Journal

Starting your art journal can be a thrilling journey of self-discovery and creativity. Your first step is to choose the perfect art journal idea and great art journal theme that resonates with your personality and artistic preferences.

Next, gather essential supplies like colored pencils, acrylic paints, papers scraps for mixed media techniques. Creating a ritual before you begin each session could help in enhancing focus and creative flow.

Keep an open mind when you start your new art journal – it’s about expression, not perfection!

Choosing the Right Journal

Starting your artistic journaling journey begins with picking out a great art journal idea and the right journal. Here’s a helpful guide to walk you through this essential step:

  • Size matters: Think about how big or small you want your journal to be. A large journal provides more space for creativity, but a smaller one can be more portable.
  • Evaluate the paper quality: You need a robust material that can hold up to various mediums like paint, ink, and glue without tearing or bleeding through.
  • Look for flat-lying pages: This feature makes it easier to work on both sides of the book simultaneously.
  • Consider spiral-bound books: They offer flexibility as you can easily remove pages if needed.
  • Leaf through the blank pages: Make sure they inspire you because this is where you will create your art.
  • Think about digital options: If physical journals aren’t your thing or if convenience is key, consider online platforms that provide tools for creating digital graphics and doodles.
  • Don’t forget personal preference: Most importantly, choose a journal that speaks to you—it should inspire creativity every time you look at it!

Gathering Essential Supplies

Starting an art journal involves more than just a pen and paper. Here are the essential art journal supplies that you will need:

  • Journal: Pick a journal that can handle a wide range of media, from watercolors to glue.
  • Art Supplies: Stock up on sketch pencils, colored pencils, markers, watercolors, acrylic paints, and pastels.
  • Adhesives: Grab a reliable glue stick or craft glue for attaching cut-outs to your pages.
  • Scissors and Cutting Tools: These are handy for creating unique shapes or trimming images.
  • Decorative Items: Collect items like stickers, ribbons, washi tape or even sheet music to give your pages extra personality.
  • Mixed Media Supplies: Consider using photographs, ticket stubs or interesting bits of pretty paper from your daily life.
  • Protective Equipment: Don’t forget plastic sheets or newspaper to protect your workspace!

Creating a Ritual

Diving into art journaling isn’t just about the visual process. It’s equally essential to create a ritual that paves the way for your creative journey.

  • Find a peaceful spot: Make sure you establish a quiet and undisturbed place in your home where inspiration can flow freely.
  • Set aside consistent time: Carve out a specific time each day for your journaling, even if it’s just 15 minutes.
  • Gather all supplies beforehand: Have your art supplies at hand before you begin so that nothing interrupts your creative process.
  • Begin with mindfulness: Start by doing a few minutes of deep breathing or meditation to clear your mind and enhance focus.
  • Lightly skim through previous pages: This helps offer some continuity from previous sessions without distracting from new ideas.
  • Don’t rush: Allow yourself to work slowly, embracing every detail and color as part of the artistic adventure.

Techniques to Enhance Your Art Journal

Experiment with layering, textures, and collage to bring depth to your own art journaling while monoprinting and stenciling can offer unique visual effects. Dive deeper into these techniques in the full article. Don’t wait – start creating!

Layering Techniques

Experimenting with layering techniques can be a game-changer in your art journal journey. Here’s how you can add depth and intrigue to your pages:

  • Start by laying down a base color. You might choose acrylic paint, watercolor, or even crayons for this initial layer.
  • Once the first layer is dry, apply the second layer. This could be another color of paint, some patterned paper scraps, or even a page from an old book.
  • Allow the second layer to dry completely before proceeding. I recommend using a heat gun to speed up the process.
  • The next step involves adding details with pen or pencil: scribe meaningful quotes, positive affirmations, and secret messages. It’s entirely up to you!
  • Now we get creative: try unique shapes by cutting edges into waves or half-circles to create contrast and interest on each page.
  • Combine images that wouldn’t typically go together for an unusual collage effect; the sky is truly the limit here!
  • If you want to create contrast pages, use contrasting colors on each page of your art journal spread.

Textures and Collage

Diving into the world of textures and collages opens a new dimension in your art journal page.

  • Layer materials to create depth: Start with a base layer with acrylic paints, pastels, or colored pencils. On top of that, add paper scraps, sheet music, or printed images.
  • Experiment with texture: Elevate your page’s visual interest by incorporating tactile elements like lace, fabric scraps, or dried leaves.
  • Play with dimensions: Don’t just stick to flat pieces; use objects such as buttons or ribbons for a 3D effect.
  • Utilize unusual combinations for collages: Mix images that might not typically go together to spark interest and evoke unique interpretations.
  • Create hidden pages: Cut shapes into pages and hide messages or images underneath them for added intrigue.

Mono-printing and Stenciling

Diving into the world of mono-printing and stenciling can truly transform your dream art journaling too. These are some steps you can follow to incorporate these techniques into your dream art journaling routine:

  • Start by selecting a stencil or create one based on your design preference.
  • Apply ink or paint to the textured side of a mono-printing plate and place the stencil over it.
  • Press your journal page onto the plate, applying even pressure throughout.
  • Slowly lift up the page to reveal the print.
  • You can also experiment with materials like leaves, feathers, and lace for unique imprints and textures.
  • Make sure to clean your mono-printing tools after use.
Woman sitting at her desk with art supplies surrounding her while she is creating art in her bullet journal.


As you can see a bullet journal is not just for keeping track of your schedule, it’s so much more! Unleash your creativity with artistic journaling! Explore unique themes and fill blank art journal pages with beautiful memories, dreams, art journal ideas, and experiences. Let’s redefine the way we see what creative themes to explore in artistic bullet journaling, by using more ideas and incorporating more creative art journal ideas.

Start today to experience the joy of expressing yourself through artistic journaling! If you have more questions about any of these artistic journal themes please leave a comment below and I will dig even deeper to help you out. Also if there are any other artistic themes that you enjoy creating in your bujo, please share them below with the community so we can also enjoy from your discovery.

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