Want to come into my studio and thumb through my journals? Get a sneak peek to pull back the pages to see which one you like?
Journals are like little friends, each one having its own personality. Some big and showy. Others are petite and accommodating. Getting a new one makes us creatives like little kids again.
Oh, the possibilities! Check out all those new pages! And, of course, whatever should we do with that first blank page? We mustn’t touch it; instead, we must save it and savor it, waiting for the perfect moment of inspiration to fill that beloved first page. Am I right? There’s nothing like cracking open a new fresh journal.
So, today, I’m very excited to share five types of art journals with you and why they’re my favorites.
Why Are Art Journals so Good For You?
Enthusiastically holding your art and life stories, your journals would never shy away from a good brain dump. Whatever you’re ready to lay on them, they are ready to take it in. Whether it be your favorite color pallet to lots of words, they’re here for all of it. Art journals are so good for us to unwind, unload, and follow our curiosity.
Art Journals Can Reflect Who You Are
Don’t you love to know what everyone’s favorite type of art journal is? I know I do. It’s almost like being let in on a juicy secret. I would love to line up every artist I love and take a peek at their journals. There’s something about working in a book, all those pages bound together, endless possibilities housed in those pages. You open the cover to discover colorful stories, heartfelt words, nonsensical characters, repetitive marks, and personal mementos. The type of art journal you choose reflects who you are, how it fits in your hand, and how the spine lays flat or tight, each characteristic personalized to you. It brings up some essential life questions (wink, wink) such as…
- Do you like the long and thin landscape style, or does perfectly square fit your preference?
- What about ink? Can it bleed through or would that drive you crazy?
- Can the pages be whimsical and wrinkle up, or must they be stately and flat?
Yes, indeed, the most important of life’s questions. Haha! What type of art journal will you choose?
Discover Your Favorite Type of Art Journal
Here’s the deal with journals. You’ve gotta try them on.
Like dresses or pants, it’s not one size fits all. That’s why seeing what works for other people is so fun. So you can visualize what you might be missing out on or what you might want to step into and try on. Even if you already have an arsenal of journals you love at the ready, a new journal hold so much possibility.
Don’t you want to dive in, run your hands over those pages (bumpy or smooth? thin or thick? weathered or crisp?), pull out your art supply of choice, and get to work, exploring and getting to know this new journal friend.
So today, for the first time, I’m excited to share my very favorite type of art journal with you here.
Now listen, I’m picky. I bet you are too. Journals are SO personal. So take these ideas, try them on, and see what suits your fancy.
And then let me know in the comments what’s your favorite journal. We’d all love to know (so check the comments at the end to see what everyone has suggested and tell me yours too).
Alrighty, let’s dive into my favorite journals on the planet (thus far).
1. Hobonichi Techno
Two words. Those pages. Gahhhh. So decidedly NOT good for art journaling, and that’s EXACTLY why I love ’em. They put up a fight and object to your layers and washes, inks, and paints. Their crinkly nature shows right through, buckling this way and that, not daring to be tamed. That’s okay because I love the imperfection of it all.
It’s like art journaling for all five senses, including the sound of those whispy pages.
Strangely enough, as daintily objecting as they like to be, they can hold up to just about anything you throw at it.
It can take everything from wet media (think paint or watercolor) to pen and ink.
Plus, the pages are airy thin, meaning you can get away with tons of them in one book so that you can express your heart out.
Remember, tons of pages = tons of opportunity to learn and explore.
Important to Note
It’s got the date on every page, so decide if you like that or not. I originally bought it hoping I’d “make art every day.” Yeah…no. That’s just not me. How can you do almost anything EVERY single day except brush your teeth? Lol. It’s also split into two small books to cover the whole year, which is unique. They are a perfectly adorable pair that can be split up to take and use anywhere.
2. Handbook Field Watercolor Journal
Handbook Field Watercolor Journal-This is like the sister to the Handbook Global Art Travelogue Watercolor Journal down below. Not as formal, more easily tote-able, throw in your bag and off you go type of thing. It’s got the spiral spine going on as opposed to the bound spine, and the cover is just plain ol’ cardboard which is fine by me. I like to fill up my journals, nice and chunky, spilling over with paint and ribbons, doodads, and bobbles, and this one holds up just fine. The square shape makes it a favorite. I bought it one day at some random dark and dusty art supply shop and didn’t think much of it. But it quickly became one that a grab all the time.
3. Canson XL Series Mixed Media 7 by 10 inch
Alisa Burke turned me on to this one. She’s always on for budget art making which has it’s place in an art practice.
Tons of pages, plus a cheap price point, equal lots of free unbridled expression and fun. See a theme here? I’m all about freedom and explorations. This formula is the scaffolding that supports getting to that place of letting loose. And that leads to all kinds of good things related to creativity.
Although close to your standard rectangular notebook journal, it’s slightly off in size, just enough to feel like it’s somewhere between a square shape and a rectangle, which I like.
Oh, and the most glorious part, I LOVE THE SPINE! Yes, I do. That spiral spine gives it room to breathe. You can add so much stuff in there! Collage to your heart’s content, and it can just expand and expand, so you don’t have to hold back. It’s like a little piece of hardware right in the middle of your spread. I love that dimension of that formed wire insert. It feels like jewelry for my journal.
4. Stalogy 018 Editors Series 365 Days Notebook
This little beauty is the perfect handheld. Just big enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Like its namesake, it’s got 365 pages, one for each day of the year. The numbered print is so faint you almost can’t see it, which is just fine by me. It’s got the same crinkly wispy pages that talk to you as you go, like the Hobonichi, but at a fraction of the price. This one stays tucked in my travel kit and comes with me to the beach or whenever I need a tote-able art system.
5. Handbook Global Art Travelogue Watercolor Journals
Can we just talk about the cover for a minute? Run our hand over it? Look at it for a sec? Oh, you perfectly neutral greige linen, how I love thee. I want my couch to be made out of you so I can take a nap on you. I don’t even want to open it because I can’t get past the cover. Dramatic? Yes. But it also makes my eyes twinkle when I see it. The pages are, well, they’re okay. Not the best. Not the worst. But I LOVE the color of them. It’s the perfect shade of white. Not too bluish white, and not in the cream camp, but the perfect shade of warm white, just a tint, just a hairline over into the warm area. It’s simply a beautiful white without being stark white. Apparently, the color of white is essential here.
Which of the Five Art Journals Will You Choose?
So, now you’ve got five new art journal friends to get to know on this list. Some are handheld, loaded with pages that get nice and crispy, and some go rogue away from the standard rectangular size, ready to let you explore. Which will you try? Let me know in the comments. I can’t wait to hear from you.
Pin For Later
If you’d like to learn more about how to set up your mixed media art travel kit using one of your new journal friends, grab your guide HERE!