Let me tell you a secret: Art journaling doesn’t have to be art. And you don’t have to “be” an artist (although you can be). An art journal is simply a private and safe place for anyone—anyone—to be creative.

So don't be intimidated to begin.

Except I know you might be. After all, learning can be scary business. All that risk and (self) judgment on the line. Who wants to take risks, try new things, be silly or make something “ugly” in front of other people?  

But listen. That’s exactly why our art journals are so powerful. It's not FOR anyone else. No one else needs to see it.

Because it's for you alone, you can play and express yourself creatively in your art journal without the pressure of worrying about all those issues we might have about making "art": Is what I’m making “good” or bad”? Am I good at this? Am I an artist?

Your art journal doesn’t care!  You aren’t making it for others, only for yourself. 

When you first start

If you’ve never worked in an art journal, setting out may seem daunting. But let me give you a tip:

Begin from the beginning and learn one step at a time. 

Create a few pages. Learn more. 

You'll find tons of resources here at Hello Heart Journal and all across the the internet. Make more pages. You’ll trade tips and ideas with people traveling on their own path. You’ll take classes. You'll make more pages. And then you just keep learning—because truly, you never stop and that is the joy of it.

I have found that learning how to art journal is the same as learning how to do anything—like how to cook or how to learn photography, for instance. There’s not just a simple list of steps and voila! You “know how”. You might be able to learn a recipe that way or figure out how to snap a picture in focus. But to learn how to cook or how to take great photographs, you step onto a path of gaining skills, knowledge and expertise.

And if you love it, you wouldn’t have it any other way. There’s so much fun in the learning, so much pleasure in the process of gaining new skills, acquiring new techniques and expanding what you can do.

I’m so glad art journaling is not a simple, one formula practice. There are endless ways to create expression and I know I could spend a lifetime learning and inventing new ways to express myself.

It’s just that you won’t always be a beginner. One day you’ll lift your head in a special state of wonder. “Hey,” you remark to yourself, “I know how to do this.” And then, like the cook who bends right back down to the cutting board or the photographer who goes back to squint her eye behind the lens, your next thought will be: okay, what else can I learn?