Top 5 Art Journaling Prompts to Use and Reuse

When I first started art journaling I was always looking for ideas to inspire my art journal page spreads. I used poems, inspirational quotes, a word of the day and public holidays. These alone can give a lot of variety but can take a bit of digging to find something that is meaningful on a personal level.

There are prompts I have found yield great inspiration again and again, depending on my mood, schedule or events. Here are my top 5.

Art Journaling Prompt 1 – A dream.

I quite often remember my dreams so for me, this is great art journal material, especially as they are so weird! Start by making a few notes about what stood out for you in your dream. These will most likely be the things that carry the most meaning for you. What colours do you associate with the feelings you have about your dream? You can use these to create a background with your favourite techniques. Draw or find pictures on the internet/in magazines about specific things in your dream and collage these on to your page with a few added words about any thoughts you have about your dream

Art Journaling Prompt 2 – Letting Go of the Old

Ever regret something you have said, thought or done? I do. I guess so do most people. While the feeling is not great the opportunity for creativity is. Take your journal and open it to a blank page, pick up a pen (any pen) and start writing down all the bad thoughts/feelings you have about The Thing or even Things. Then on top of the writing take all the appealing colours/papers/fabric you like and stick them down. I like to add stamping and stenciling over this and maybe knock it back a bit with some diluted gesso. Next start to think about something good you have also done. Why/how/where did you do it and who benefitted? Work these answers into your page using drawing/collage/writing using your favourite techniques.

Art Journaling Prompt 3 – My Favourite Part of Yesterday was …..

This is a great prompt because it could revolve around something as simple as a cup of coffee on a quiet day to the last day of an expensive holiday (or any day of a holiday that you take your art journaling supplies on!). Maybe you were on a course and learned a new word – create a spread about this word using imagery or literaly draw/collage the word and decorate it/around it with related imagery. What if you were just sat on your doorstep for 15 mins of quiet? What did you notice? Was it the sun warming you or your pet playing near you or maybe the birdsong you could hear?

Art Journaling Prompt 4 – Tomorrow I’m Going to …..

Another useful prompt that can help you visualise your goals. Here ‘tomorrow’ could literally mean the next day or could refer to a time in the future. Start with a mindmap of your goal breaking it down into smaller steps. So, for example, a goal of ‘going for a long walk in nature’ could break down into:
  • Deciding where to go – maybe use a map
  • Checking the weather
  • Preparing suitable clothes
  • Deciding on any travel plans
  • Packing refreshments
  • …… etc

From your mindmap you can then decide on a few steps that suggest imagery, e.g. ‘packing refreshments’ might bring a flask and some sandwidges to mind. Collect reference images from magazines, books or the internet which you can draw from or transfer into your art journal using your favourite techniques. Prepare a background – maybe using a map of your destination as collage – and add your ‘steps’ images and text supporting your preparations. The next day check your art journal page to remind you of your planning.

Art Journal Prompt 5 – A Childhood Memory

This is an interesting one because you could revisit the same memory on different art journal pages by choosing different perspectives. For example a memory or getting into trouble as a child could be viualised from your own viewpoint but also from the adult’s viewpoint or viewpoint of onlookers. You could also show the incident with focus on the location, a favourite toy that was there, a pet that maybe comforted you afterwards, the reason for the trouble, the adult doing the scolding, … This could be quite cathartic for difficult memories, helping you process them in a private but expressive way. It could also be a great way of reliving some of the fabulous moments you remember.

I hope these prompts are useful to you in your art journaling journies and help you get the very most out of the creative process. It would be great to hear any thoughts you have on using these prompts or see any art you have made in your journals. xx

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