I looove creating beautiful sketchbooks. It’s so much fun to collage, paint, draw, write, whatever I want to do. If you’re looking for a fun, easy and creative outlet, this could be the hobby for you. All you need is a sketchbook and a bit of craft supplies. But you probably have a lot of supplies you can use lying around your house already!
What is visual journal?
A visual journal is basically a sketchbook that you journal in. You can draw pictures, write stories, compile lists, make collages. Here is a page from my most recent sketchbook.
SKETCHBOOK – I usually get a ringed one because its easier to cover the whole page and tear one out if you don’t like it!
WATERCOLOR PAINT & BRUSHES – You don’t want to have a ton of white space on any of your journal pages. Painting a wash of color over the entire page before you start is the perfect fix for that. And watercolors are the best for painting just a nice wash of color in a large space.
PENS, PENCILS & AN ERASER – To sketch, write or doodle 🙂
MARKERS, COLORED PENCILS AND/OR CRAYONS – You don’t need all three, just some things to add color to your pages.
OLD MAGAZINES & OLD BOOKS – Tear out pages to create beautiful collages!
SCISSORS & GLUE (OR TAPE) – To cut and paste things into your journal
So you have your supplies, now what??
There are several different kinds of pages you can create in your journal. And I’m going to show you how to create each kind of page!
Some people like to make a cover page for each month as they progress in their journal. Here are some examples of cover pages.
Usually, you have the name of the month in big bold letters, surrounded by a cute design or doodle.
You can create this page on the first of every month and write your goals for that month on the back or even the front of the page, to keep yourself motivated!
On these pages, you can tear out cool things you like from old magazines and books, paste in old receipts or coupons you’ve collected. I have a big ziplock bag that I call “the collage bag”. It’s filled with business cards, old post it notes, grocery lists, pages from books and magazines, coupons, stickers and a lot of other random stuff I find when I’m out and about. Maps from old atlases make great backgrounds for collage pages! You can see in the photos below that I use both pages from old books and maps as backgrounds for my collage pages.
Paintings or Drawings Pages
You can also create a full on painting or drawing in your journal. It’s great to have a watercolor painting spread across both pages of your journal. I got into drawing these girls with long hair and a single word or phrase printed in black somewhere on the page.
You can also create something on a separate sheet of paper and paste it into your journal with a background.
Here, I painted a little house in watercolor and pasted it on one page, then on the page next to it I listed the colors used and the types of brushes. Which brings me to the next type of journal page you can create.
Supplies Lists Pages
Sometimes when I get a new box of colored pencils or oil pastels, I like to show samples of them in my journal. Here are some pages where I do that.
Sketches & Doodles Pages
I like to sketch out things that I’m going to paint later or sometimes I’ll sketch just to practice. Here are some pages in my old journals where I planned out some paintings and practiced my skills.
Here are some fun and simple doodle pages.
This is getting a little bit towards bullet journaling, but you can have whatever you want in your visual journal. Sometimes I make a calendar if I have a lot going on that month. You can write down your appointments and events, goals, birthdays, etc.
With these pages, you have a lot of blank space on purpose. You can write an inspirational quote or just thoughts that pop up into your head. It’s very simple, just one or two colors, done with pens or markers.
There are some cool things you can do to make your pages stand out a little bit more. Here are some things I’ve done in my journal to make things a little more interesting.
You can paste pockets on your pages and fill them with cards, stickers, or small keepsakes.
Here, I pasted an envelope filled with some stickers on a page.
Watercolor Wash Background
On most of your pages, you’ll want to make sure you leave as little white space as possible. Adding backgrounds is the main way to solve this problem. As I said earlier, you can use maps and pages of old books to cover your page and then add on to it, or you can just paint a wash of watercolor on the page for a quick background. You can paint the entire page from top to bottom in one solid color or several colors blended together.
Or you can simply paint a square and paste a photo or whatever you’d like on top, so there’s a border around it.
Texturizing Your Pages
You can add some fun textures to your pages to make them stand out more. In this photo I burned the edges of the paper to give it a cool effect.
You can also sprinkle some salt on your pages while they are still wet, after you’ve watercolored them. Colored sand, glitter, yarn etc. are all things you can use to add texture to your journal pages.
So you’ve got the logistics down, now it’s time for you to get cracking!
It can be hard to start your first visual journal. You know all the different types of pages you can create, you have your supplies and you’ve seen some techniques, but you just can’t think of what to do! Well, I’ve created something for you to solve that problem!
I’ve compiled a list of 12 visual journal prompts to help you get started! Scroll down to the bottom of the page to snag it and start getting your creative juices flowing!