If you’re concerned about finding enough inspiration to create art journal pages regularly, you might like to make an art journal with a specific theme. In this blog post, we look at 12 ideas for art journal themes you can get started on today.
You could make any number of themed art journals you like if you find it helps you create more regularly. Anything that helps break down the walls stopping you from spending time making art is a good thing as far as I’m concerned!
If you’d like a free downloadable tutorial to learn how to make your own journal, enter your name and email address below. You’ll also receive a free creative tutorial by email every Saturday!
12 Ideas For Art Journal Themes
Too often the simple pleasures in life are overlooked for the big, expensive things that are more obvious. Making a journal full of simple pleasures is a great way to think about the little things that matter to you. It also gives you a reference point if you need a quick pick-me-up, since the simple pleasures are often easy to come by and they’re generally cheap or free too!
Anything that makes you do a little happy-sigh deserves a place in this journal. Think getting into bed with clean sheets and clean PJs just after a shower, or watching a beautiful sunset. I’ve listed 50 simple pleasures in this blog post but I’m sure you can think of more!
This is kind of linked to the simple pleasures art journal above. Instead of creating a journal full of the simple things that you love, you choose something that you’re grateful for on that particular day. This could be as small or as big as you like.
You might have heard of people keeping a written gratitude journal, or even a gratitude spread in their bullet journal. I think a visual representation of the things you’re grateful for could be a great way to take this further.
If you’re a reader, this is a great art journal to keep. For several years now I’ve kept a list of all the books I’ve read that particular year, but it’s struck me that a visual record could be really cool too.
You could draw the cover of the book, include a quote, make a note of your thoughts and feelings, or give it a star rating out of 5… You could even make the colours you use in the spread fit with those in the cover to tie it all together.
Food & Recipes
If you’re a foodie, this kind of art journal would be a great representation of what you’re into at a given time. You could make spreads dedicated to delicious meals you’ve eaten out, recording the courses that you ordered and the drinks you had with them. You could also include recipes, both old favourites and new ones you’ve tried. And you can make spreads dedicated to your favourite (and least favourite!) foods, and the things you want to try eating or cooking in the near future.
I love to keep tickets, receipts and other ephemera from the holidays I take, and I have quite a stash of stuff that would make a great travel art journal. Think about including envelopes to keep tickets etc safe if you’d rather not stick them onto the pages.
You can include a map of exactly where you went and also make pages dedicated to the local customs, weather and food. As well as this, it’s great to incorporate your memories and a few of your favourite photos.
This kind of art journal is really useful for remembering a longer trip you might otherwise forget the smaller details of.
While we tend to remember to document the bigger trips we take, the day trips we take in our own country (or even our own local town or city) can be neglected. So why not keep an art journal solely dedicated to these smaller outings?
Add in little envelopes to store ticket stubs etc and note down little details such as when you went, who you were with, what the weather was like. You can also add in funny memories, or doodle any interesting things you saw.
I’m sure we have certain quotes that mean something to us. One of my favourites goes something along the lines of, “Whether you believe you can or you believe you can’t, you’re right.” (It’s something like that, anyway!)
A quotes journal is a great way to remember all the quotes that are special to you, or hold some kind of meaning. It’s also a useful way to practice your hand lettering, if that’s something you’re working on.
This kind of journal is also fantastic for recording meaningful song lyrics, or your favourite lines from movies.
Momentous Occasions & Events
Think of the really big stuff that has ever happened to you — the big, life changing events. This theme can cover many different life events, but a couple of obvious ones are getting married or having a baby. You could easily make entire journals based on these subjects, incorporating your feelings and thoughts, magazine clippings, advice or tips from other people, photos, sketches and quotes.
Other ideas could be moving to another country to start a new life, embarking on a completely new career, or even going on a gap year or sabbatical.
An art journal based on a relationship would make a lovely gift. The first relationship you think of might be a romantic one, but there’s nothing to say this is your only option. You could also do it for a member of your family or a close friend.
Basically, anyone who has been in your life for long enough that you have enough lovely memories with them is a good candidate to receive this journal as a gift. You could even leave them a few blank pages to continue the story if you think that’s something they might enjoy doing.
For a bit more inspiration relating to this, you could take a look at the tutorial I wrote on how to make a ‘52 Things I Love About You’ mini book from a deck of playing cards.
One of my favourite things to chat about with friends my age is the things we remember from our childhoods. There’s always some toy that’s the latest craze, TV shows we watched, sweets we ate, and things we loved to do. These memories make a great theme for an art journal, and they are sure to make you smile when you remember them too.
People often talk about the things they would love to do before they die, and some even go so far as to make a bucket list. So how about making an art journal filled with things you would love to achieve or experience during your lifetime? You could devote a page to each item on your list. And don’t forget to incorporate a way to record when you’ve ticked each thing off your bucket list!
Art journals often feature at least a few words on their pages, but there’s nothing to say this has to be the case. Filling an art journal with pages of mixed media art that don’t feature any words is a great way to practice your drawing, painting, collage and doodling skills.
It will also challenge you to think of ways to express yourself visually rather than with words. You might find your art begins to take a different shape, or you begin to favour a different colour palette or medium than usual.
So those are my 12 ideas for creating art journals with specific themes — can you think of others that might be a good addition to this list? If so, let us all know in the comments below 🙂
And if you’d like that free downloadable tutorial to learn how to make your own journal, enter your name and email address below. You’ll also receive a free creative tutorial via email every Saturday!