My kids and I enjoy creating art journals as part of our homeschool. We have used art journaling as part of our art curriculum and incorporated them into other subjects. But what is “art journaling” you might wonder. One definition from Mindful Art Studio is “[It] is the same as a written journal, except that it incorporates colors, images, patterns, and other materials.” Another definition from Tangie Baxter is “ a visual diary–it’s record keeping combined with creativity.” Or from Debbie Hodge is “a journal in which you combine art and words to express yourself.” No matter how art journaling is defined it is fun, creative and can be educational.
One of the reasons we like art journaling is for the creativity. Making and creating a one-of-a-kind record of thoughts, ideas, and techniques is a great project for anyone. Another reason is because it can be educational. We learn new art techniques and try different products. We also use the journal in different subjects as a record or tool for learning. The best reason is because it is fun.
Using in Homeschool
When we use our art journals as part of our core subjects it adds more than just facts. We can add our feelings and thoughts, not just in words, but with paint, images, drawings, and more. These subjects might include:
An example for history could be the study of America’s Civil War. The pages could include a map of the states involved, an image of Abraham Lincoln or any other image that might go with the study. The kids can write down the facts or they can draw how they feel or add a painting on their thoughts. For Literature/Reading the page might include a copy of the book’s cover or an image from inside the book. The kids could write a book review, draw a picture of the main characters or use paint to share what they thought of the book. This can be done for each subject.
Art Journaling as Art
Of course we can also use an art journal as part of our art curriculum. They are a great place to practice new art techniques. They also can be a place to record art terms and give an example. Another way to use it is to save any art theory the kids are learning as a record. It can also be used as a tool to keep formulas for colors, glue or other art items.
There are books, websites and classes devoted just to art journaling but it doesn’t have to be complicated. A few simple items and how-to’s are all you need to get started creating. These include:
- An Art Journal
- Background & Additions
One of the first things to do when deciding to art journal is picking out what to use as a journal. Art journals can be made from:
- “Art Journals”
- Self-made Journal
A notebook or sketchbook is the easiest place to start and readily available. It can have thinner paper thought so if you want to use paints you might like to be sure it is made with thicker paper. Prepared “art journals” usually use thicker paper that can hold up to paint and wet glues. They sometimes even have covers that are ready to be decorated. Another option is to create your own out of pretty patterned papers. All of these options are fine to use.
Backgrounds and Additions
Since it is an art journal the background of the page can be decorated before adding the rest of the “stuff” to the page. This can be done with paint, paper, pictures, stamps, and even writing. After the background is completed, and dried, you can add different items. These items can go along with the subject the kids are studying, a theme for the page, or just for fun. Some of these items might include:
- Mementos (ticket stubs, cards, any flat type of memento)
- Pretty Paper
- Newspaper Article, Ad or Image
- Old Book Pages (be sure that it is a book that you will not use again and cut or rip it out)
- Rubber Stamps
Journaling can include dates, names, places and/or other facts about a subject that is being studied. It can also be about the thoughts, feelings and ideas concerning the subject of the page. Adding journaling to your art journal pages can be done with a variety of tools. These might include:
- Rubber Stamps
- Cut-out Words
Journaling can be added before anything else is added to the page. This is especially good if the journaling is private or the child doesn’t really want to share it. It can then be covered with paint or paper. Writing on the page can also be done as part of the over all process. Another way to get the journaling on the page is writing after everything else has been added.
Art Journaling Tools
The basic tools used in art journaling have been mentioned throughout this post. These tools could include:
- Patterned Paper
- Rubber Stamps
But some other tools are also useful to have on hand. Glue to stick down the papers, paint brushes for the paints, inks for the rubber stamps and scissors to cut out photos, images or paper are all needed in your art journal kit. Many or all of these items are already in your art or school supplies. One thing to keep in mind is if you are adding “wet” paints you’ll need glue that can stand up to the wet. Elmer Glue can be brushed on the paper to be added, then the paper can be pressed down onto the page and left to dry. There are many glue sticks that can be used also. Check the labels to be sure.
Have your kids ever tried art journaling in one form or another? I’d love to hear about their art journaling fun in the comments below. Also, don’t forget to sign-up for the Homeschooling With Tea’s mailing list. Receive the free, exclusive “Homeschool Art Journaling Pack” now and tips, resources, how-to’s and extras in the future.