Basic Supplies for Art Journaling
Start with whatever art supplies you have on hand, whatever is in your child’s craft box, your scrapbooking supplies, the shed or kitchen. Just start and get a feel for what you enjoy working with. Not everyone enjoys messy techniques or bright colours and some people just sketch. As you develop your style & explore techniques, your art supplies will evolve.
1 Paint: Any paint you have on hand is a great start. Watercolours for example make great back grounds. I generally use student quality acrylic paints as they are cheap and quite transparent. As I am doing lots of layering I want the previous layers to be seen underneath. The only colour I buy best quality is white. Start by buying the primary colours: blue, red, yellow, practise mixing them together and adding in black and white. Then buy hard to mix colours such as purple and bright pink depending on your preferences.
2 Paintbrushes: Start with a few cheap paintbrushes. I use a wide flat brush for spreading glue and Mod Podge, and thinner brushes for painting details.
3 Lead Pencil: Use any pencil. I find it helpful to lightly sketch my layouts, lettering and trace around shapes and cut outs.
4 Foam Brush: I use a foam brush for washing colour over backgrounds.
5 An Art Journal: Choosing an art journal is a very personal thing. I prefer an A4 art journal, though my first two art journals were A5. I prefer the larger space as it seems to be easier to plan and fill. Many stencils are designed 12×12 and suit an A4 open page spread. Choose a journal with a page thickness of 125 gsm or greater. Thinner pages permit paint/ink and glue to seep through and stain the next pages (even if using gesso). Thinner pages also become fragile when wet or gluey. I also recommend an art journal that is sewn together rather than spiral bound. I have found that the inner edges of spiral bound journals stick together as art journaling is usually messy. I also work on a double page spread each time so a spiral journal feels broken in the middle and therefore lacks cohesiveness. Many people just start with whatever they have on hand: old diary or exercise book, a sketch pad or notebook and glue two pages together to strengthen the pages. You will probably try a few art journals before you discover what you prefer.
6 Glue: I use craft glue (dries clear) mixed with a little water or Mod Podge to adhere papers onto my art journal.
7 Black Pens: Good black pens are vital for journalling, doodling and adding details. I recommend the black Faber Castell Pitt Big Brush Artist Pen for thick lines. It is Indian Ink, so it writes on so many surfaces and is permanent when dry. I recommend the black Uni-ball 1.0mm Gel Impact pen too. It has a roller ball that continues to write despite slightly wet paint or glue, and is permanent when dry.
8 Scissors: For goodness sake if you are going to be cutting paper, buy a decent pair of scissors! I love my EK Success Cutter Bee scissors. A great pair of paper craft scissors is worth the initial investment.
9 Eraser: Any standard eraser will do, try to keep it clean.
10 White Pens: I use a white pen for journaling and adding details and highlights to my pages all the time. I recommend the white Faber Castell Pitt Big Brush Artist Pen for thick lines. It is Indian Ink, so it writes on so many surfaces and is permanent when dry. For medium thick lines I recommend a Sharpie water based paint pen with an extra fine point. For fine lines I recommend the Uni-ball Signo broad gel pen.
Download the Basic Supplies for Art Journaling List as PDF.