The Blank Page: Tips for Starting Your Art Journal

Blank Page Syndrome is a thing, right? These ideas will get you from a blank page in your art journal to creating within seconds. These prompts are perfect for beginners and also fun for those who have been art journaling for a while. Try them all! :)

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I’ve been art-journaling for years, and I still get blank page syndrome every once in a while. You know what this is, right? It’s when you have a beautiful brand new art journal and it feels too nice to mess up. Or it’s when you suddenly can’t think of one thing to write or draw in your art journal. Is it because the pages are so white that they become threatening? Are we afraid to mess it up? I’m sure there are a whole list of reasons why blank page syndrome exists, but today we’re going to face them, and I’m going to share several tips for starting your art journal. Use one, or use them all. And definitely, have fun!

Tips for Starting Your Art Journal

1. Fill the page with an amusing message. My first tip is to admit this is a kind of funny predicament to have. I mean, you have a beautiful art journal in hand, and most likely, you also have some art supplies to use. But you’re nervous to use them.

What makes this funny (to me) is 99.9% of the time, no one is even going to see my journals, so I have to wonder to myself why am I nervous? In times like these, I draw a sign like the one below.

Goodbye blank page!

Blank Page Syndrome is a thing, right? These tips will get you from a blank page into creating within seconds. Try them all! :)

2. Make a dedication page. I’ve created a page like this many times. It usually happens when I’m completely stuck (or completely happy that I have a new journal.) You can write the date, your name, or a little message to yourself. Then turn the page, and you’re off and running!

Blank Page Syndrome is a thing, right? These tips will get you from a blank page into creating within seconds. Try them all! :)

3. Make a permission to create page. If perfectionism is your bane, you might need to give yourself some old-fashioned permission. Acknowledge that you’re a creative person and that this is a journey. Admit that this journal isn’t going to be perfect, but it is going to be fun. (The page below is from my book, The Creative Retreat :))

Blank Page Syndrome is a thing, right? These tips will get you from a blank page into creating within seconds. Try them all! :)

4. Swatch it out. Pull out your markers, pens, pencils, or whatever art supplies you have on hand, and create a swatch on the first page. I used markers and then added water to them for the page below. This is also a great way to get to know your supplies better.

Blank Page Syndrome is a thing, right? These tips will get you from a blank page into creating within seconds. Try them all! :)

In the image below, I did something similar for a new set of Tombow markers. I love how one end is a felt brush marker and the other is a fine-tip felt marker.

Blank Page Syndrome is a thing, right? These tips will get you from a blank page into creating within seconds. Try them all! :)

5. Use all the colors. Have you ever used every single color you own? You can do this exercise in many ways—simply scribble the color like I did below or create a picture and use every marker, pencil, etc. that you own. It makes for a wild picture, that’s for sure! I discovered I had many more varieties of green than I realized when I created the page below.

Blank Page Syndrome is a thing, right? These tips will get you from a blank page into creating within seconds. Try them all! :)

6. Scribble. For the page below, I grabbed a fist-full of colored pencils and swooshed them back and forth over the page, toddler style. Now I know why they do this! It’s actually a lot of fun. :) You can also cover the page with doodles.

Blank Page Syndrome is a thing, right? These tips will get you from a blank page into creating within seconds. Try them all! :)

7. Leave the page blank. Yep, this is totally allowed. Not sure what to do with that first ominous page in your art journal? Just turn to the next one and get started. I’ve done this before in super nice journals. That first page felt like it should be engraved or something.

8. Glue or tape a coloring page over the blank page and color it in. There you go. Blank page, be gone!

9. Write a list of your favorite things. This also makes your first page really positive and nice to revisit.

10. If you have a little kid around, let them take care of the first page. Children don’t have the hangups we do when it comes to creating and art-making. They just dive in. Watching my daughter’s freedom of expression has loosened me up a lot and made me want to create more.

11. Jump right in. In some of my journals, I immediately start collaging, writing, or painting. In the image below, I used the journal to draw out my newsletter (for this blog) for the week. I wrote and drew a story, and before I knew it, that first page was complete.

Blank Page Syndrome is a thing, right? These tips will get you from a blank page into creating within seconds. Try them all! :)

It can be frustrating to have the desire to create and then suddenly feel stuck, so I hope these tips for starting your art journal help you out.

And as always, if there are ideas you’ve used to get past blank page syndrome, let me know in the comments. We can all learn from each other!

Have a wonderful {and creative} day!

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4 thoughts on “The Blank Page: Tips for Starting Your Art Journal

  1. Oooh I love art-journaling! (I say that, but I don’t do it very often!) The very reason I even started mine was to do collage-type stuff with pictures cut out from magazines, which can be really fun! Another thing I did was cover my whole hand with paint and slapped it on the page! That was really fun. I looove to get messy with paints. :)
    Maggie recently posted…Touch the Stars // Card TutorialMy Profile

  2. I always leave the first page blank, they taught us in school. Even now, my little girls leave the first page blank because it’s a rule. It looks neat and pretty. I love art journals, I should totally make one again but I already use my crochet notebooks as art journals. :D
    Ramona recently posted…A Little SpringMy Profile

  3. I know just what you mean about that first page being sacred! I sometimes leave the very first page blank. Fantastic other ideas too. I love the scribbling one!

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