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12 ideas for art journal themes

12 Ideas For Art Journal Themes

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If you’re worried about finding enough inspiration to create art journal pages regularly, try making an art journal with a specific theme. In this blog post, we’ll look at 12 ideas for art journal themes you can get started on today.

Although it might seem counter-intuitive, sometimes actually narrowing your focus makes it easier to feel inspired.

That’s why picking an art journal theme can actually help you feel more creative.

You could even make a few different themed art journals if you find it helps you create more regularly. I say do whatever works to help you get creative more often 😊

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12 Art Journal Themes To Try

1. Simple pleasures

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.

Take a look at my article for even more ideas: 50 of Life’s Simple Pleasures

2. Gratitude

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 is a great way to take this further.

3. Books

If you’re a reader, this is a great art journal theme. For several years now I’ve kept a list of all the books I’ve read that year, but keeping a visual record could be really fun 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.

4. Food and recipes

If you’re a foodie, this kind of art journal would be a great representation of what you’re loving at a given time.

You could make spreads dedicated to delicious meals you’ve eaten out, recording the courses 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.

5. Travel

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.

You can include a map of exactly where you went and make pages dedicated to the local customs, weather and food. And of course it’s great to incorporate your memories and some of your favourite photos.

Think about including envelopes to keep tickets etc safe if you’d rather not stick them onto the pages.

This kind of art journal is a lovely way to remember those easily forgotten little details of a longer trip.

6. Day trips

We’re likely to remember to document the bigger trips we take, but 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
  • What you ate or drank
  • Funny memories

It would also be fun to add some doodles of any interesting things you saw.

7. Favourite quotes

Many of us have quotes that mean something to us. One of my favourites goes something like: “Whether you believe you can or you believe you can’t, you’re right.”

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.

8. Momentous occasions and 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 going on a gap year or sabbatical.

9. A relationship

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. It would also make a lovely gift for a family member or close friend.

In fact this would work for anyone who’s been in your life long enough that you have some lovely memories with them!

You could even leave them a few blank pages to continue the story if you think that’s something they might enjoy doing.

10. Childhood favourites

Who doesn’t like a nostalgic trip down memory lane? One of my favourite things to chat about with friends my age is what we remember from our childhoods.

Think about:

  • Whatever toy was the latest craze
  • The TV shows you watched
  • The music you listened to
  • Favourite hobbies, activities or things to do
  • Places you loved to go
  • Even the sweets you ate!

These memories make a great theme for an art journal, and they’re sure to make you smile when you remember them too.

11. Bucket list

People often talk about the things they’d love to do in their lifetime. Many of us have an unofficial list in our heads, but some even go so far as to make an actual bucket list.

So how about making an art journal filled with things you’d 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, and how it felt to achieve it!

12. No words

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’ll 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 to 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?

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About Stacey

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I’m Stacey and I’m a blogger, abstract artist and freelance writer. My aim is to help busy people feel inspired and get more creative with tutorials, hints and tips.

I live in Cardiff with my partner and dog, and in my free time you’ll find me hiking, reading, painting or sampling a craft beer or two.

4 thoughts on “12 Ideas For Art Journal Themes”

  1. Wanda Rascje

    Thanks for the suggestions. I am just starting out with my art journaling and welcome any suggestions and tips on what to put in it.

  2. Wanda Rasche

    Thanks for the suggestions. I am just starting out with my art journaling and welcome any suggestions and tips on what to put in it.

  3. Vintage and steampunk are other ideas for aesthetic journals. So are journals based on nature and hikes and cultures and customs. Great ideas in your list! Thanks!

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