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10 Tips to Start A Daily Art Journal

As a lifelong creative, I have always looked forward to little pockets of time for making art. A time for my hands to be busy and my brain to relax a bit and just play. 

drawing pad and colorful pencils.jpg

Usually, these pockets of time were found on the weekends, holidays and vacations and weeks and months would creep by without any creative time. 

Craving a consistent and sustainable approach to art – I started keeping a daily art journal.

This quick, loose, no rules, no expected outcome exercise gives me a chance, daily, to play and explore. 

It’s quickly become an addiction that reminds me to connect with creativity for a few moments each day. 

If you’re looking to build or restart your creative habit – and enjoy the many benefits creativity can bring your way, this (IMO) is the way to start. 

As with any new habit, starting a daily creative practice takes a bit prep + pep.  

My best tips, here_

bright ideas art supplies

1. Collect your supplies.

I get inspired to create by working with beautiful quality supplies that make me happy just to be using them. 

That means high quality paper versatile enough for sketching to painting.  

Tools for marking from watercolors, Indigo Ink, markers and sketching pens. 

Collect supplies that make you excited to create. It may take time to find the brands you LOVE but that makes it even more fun- you get to shop around! 

Check out my favorite supplies here!

2. Make the set up special. 

I display our supplies visibly in curated arrangements and make them part of our decor. If that doesn’t work for your home, find a spot that keeps them neat, organized and grab-ready. 

The set up should be an easy invitation to calm your mind and start your practice. 

If you’re scurrying about looking for materials daily,  the process will become stressful and challenging instead of bringing you joy and peace. 

Pick a spot, gather your materials and make it inviting. 

3. Set a goal for your practice. 

I am on a mission to increase FUN and decrease work. 

Creating daily, is an easy reminder to slow down, and enjoy the moments as they go. 

For me, color is an instant shift into my happy place, so I focus on color exploration and interesting combinations in my daily journal. 

Whatever your intention, get clear on it, and remind yourself of that each day as you begin your work.

4. Set a timer, keep it short. 

Start with short daily doses of creativity. Most days, I do mine first thing, with a cup of coffee or tea, for 10 - 15 minutes. 

Other days, if I’m not feeling so creative first thing - I’ll sneak it in right after lunch. My set up is in a corner in my kitchen, so meal times are a gentle reminder to me to make it happen. 

Find a time that works for you, set a timer and keep it short and consistent. 

Jill Elliott Desk

5. Keep a bank of inspiration. 

Start a folder of journal pages, cards, gift wrap, magazine swipe, photos, anything that inspires you.  

Curate a Pinterest board to catalog color combos or art that speaks to your soul

My work never looks like the inspiration, but it’s helpful to have a starting point - especially when you’re new to the practice.

6. Do it for the process, not the outcome. 

The goal of a daily practice, or any creative habit in our book - is to simply enjoy the process. 

Creative practice increases joy + purpose, invites connection and reflection. It quiets anxiety and reduces stress. 

Focus on the process and the benefits. Let the outcome just be.

7. Challenge yourself.

Sometimes what you create will be terrible. Other times you’ll be blown away that you could come up with such a beautiful concept.

Keep your mind open and be willing to try new things.

Push yourself. You’ll never know what you’re capable of unless you do.

8. Make it functional.

Once you get comfortable, get curious. 

See if there are ways you can make your art journal even more helpful to your daily routine.

You can start to add on time to your daily practice to design meal plan pages, shopping lists, travel checklists and so much more! 

Let the fun and play of your art journal blend with functionality to create more parts of your day that you look forward to. 

Jill Elliott colorful desk area

9. Make them a keepsake.

I love to keep journals from different periods of my life to remind me of all the adventures I’ve lived and the ways that I’ve grown. 

Play with the idea of keeping your journals (in a box, on a shelf, under your bed- whatever works) and save them for a rainy day. 

A day when you need to be inspired and reminded of all the love and light you hold.

10. Connect with the artist community.

There are loads of Facebook groups, Instagram accounts, Pintresest boards and blogs dedicated to art journaling. 

Getting inspired and using that inspiration to inspire others is what creating and ‘art’ is all about.

Find some groups and accounts that inspire you and share your creations with the community!

In need of a bit more inspiration on what to make? We’ve got you covered with some of our favorite prompts for making.

My hope is that once you start, you’ll find the time well spent. 

The calm, the joy, the beauty that this little practice invites into your life will color the rest of your day. 

Go!  Get started!  

We can’t wait to see what you make. 

Until Next Time, 

Jill Xx

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