Are you wondering what materials you need for art journaling? Which glue is right or how do you prime your sides correctly? Here I have put together my personal material recommendations for your start in art journaling. Have fun with it!

Basically, it doesn’t take much to get started with art journaling. You are completely free in your creativity and can choose your materials as you like. However, some things are very helpful when you have them on hand. I would like to introduce these to you here.

The most important basics for art journaling

Below you will find the most important basics that I recommend for your start in art journaling:

  1. Art Journal
  2. Paints and pens
  3. brush
  4. Glue for collages / mixed media
  5. Gesso
  6. Brackets
  7. Magazines, journals, books and Co.
  8. Other materials & aids

Have fun reading and get inspired! I am happy if I can give you a good overview!

1. Your Art Journal

Your diary itself is of course the basis for art journaling.

You can use a regular sketchbook, a special Art Journal book, a spiral pad or a notebook for this. If you like, you can also make your art journal yourself – there are also many beautiful variations.

In my article “ Which book as an art journal? “I have written extensively about the Art Journal myself and here I also present my personal recommendations.

2. Paints and pens

Your personal favorites are required here. What do you particularly like to paint with – or what would you like to finally try out, but haven’t really dared yourself yet? There is space for experiments in your Art Journal 🙂

I personally use for art journaling:

  • Watercolor paints (preferably Van Gogh * and Schmincke)
  • Acrylic paints (here I have a hodgepodge of cheap acrylic paints from the craft store through to high-quality Lukas paints or other brands)
  • Colored pencils (my favorites: Derwent Coloursoft colored pencils *)
  • now and then oil or pastel chalks
  • and sometimes wax crayons .

Usually just a few colors are enough. You don’t need a huge assortment to get started! It is better to buy colors little by little if you notice that you are missing something in your collection.

My black and white fineliners are also indispensable for me !

The white fineliner is the Uniball Signo UM-153  * – a white ink pen that really paints and covers in brilliant white.

With the black fineliner, I currently particularly like to use the waterproof Uniball Eye Fineliner *.

If you hantierst with acrylic paints and paint over it like, also are marking pens or special acrylic marker a good choice.

3. Brush

The brushes depend on which colors you are using. For watercolors I like to use Da Vinci brushes for watercolors   in different sizes, for acrylic colors I use bristle brushes in “No Name quality” or the chic Da Vinci acrylic brushes  .

4. Glue for collages / mixed media

Matt medium!

Personally, I now almost exclusively use Matt Medium for gluing pictures, magazine clippings and the like – a liquid painting medium / binding agent. This fluid can be used like a normal liquid glue and brings your pictures, papers and text snippets into your art journal without creasing .

It dries clear, and you can with acrylic paints or water colors in additional layers about painting (watercolors to see something blunt, but even that can be an exciting effect!).

You can also use the matte medium to make photo transfers (that is, to put an “imprint” of a photo or print in your art journal). The matte medium is also suitable as a seal and protects your finished work from fading and external influences.

I work with the Matte Medium from Liquitex *, the M att Medium from Golden or the Matte Medium from DecoArt are often recommended around me .

In addition to the matt drying matt medium, there is also a glossy medium , which gives your picture a glossy finish. Depending on your preference, you can choose a matt or gloss finish.

The classic UHU glue stick

You can also use a classic glue stick as a glue for collages. I also use this again and again – especially with smaller snippets. Here I take the classic – the UHU glue stick .

5. Gesso (the all-round talent)

Gesso is used in a variety of ways in the creative sector. It is basically a color binding agent that is mainly used as a primer . It prepares the respective substrate for the use of colors and ensures that the colors adhere better . It is ideal for preparing a surface on acrylic paints, watercolors or even oil paints or gouache and tempera paints.

With the help of a gesso primer, you can also paint on unusual materials such as wood or metal: You can make cardboard and cardboard shine through your paintings or prepare an acrylic canvas so that it can be painted with watercolors, for example.

You can also use Gesso to make your pages in the Art Journal “thicker” and more durable . This is especially useful if you are working in a classic notebook or in a notebook, book or calendar with thin paper pages.

Gesso is mostly used in white . It has a high pigmentation and therefore a high covering power. So you can easily paint over printed or already painted surfaces – the cornflakes pack turns into a gleaming white canvas that is just waiting for your paintings 🙂

Even small mistakes can be ironed out with Gesso by simply placing a white layer over the unwanted areas of your picture. You can use it to lay layers on top of each other in a playful way!

The radiant gesso white also ensures that your colors appear incredibly bright . You can also mix your colors with it .

Gesso is not only available in white , but also in transparent or even in black – just as you like it and how you want to use it!
(in the Happy Art Journaling course I use gesso in white – this gesso from Liquitex  *)

Particularly ingenious: You can also incorporate different structures in Gesso . Very exciting experimenting in the Art Journal!

6. Brackets

If you are working in a bound book , I particularly recommend brackets. You can use it to keep your book open and your pages lie flat while you are painting and designing.

I use so-called foldback clips or multi-purpose clips  * for this. In theory, however, you can also use normal clothespins or large paper clips.

Parentheses type journaling

7. Magazines, periodicals, books, pictures, papers

If you like to experiment and make collages, your waste paper suddenly takes on a completely new meaning! 😀

Keep nice magazines, periodicals, old newspapers and books and use texts and images from them for your art journal.

Art journaling papers

For example, I love magazines like Happinez, Flow or Happy Way, in which there is a lot to be cut out and pasted in … but classic women’s and gossip magazines also have a lot that you can use!

Also nice: brochures and catalogs from trade fairs (the creative fairs are perfect for “collecting”!).

Discover old books on a shelf or at the flea market – the older, the more exciting! 🙂
With newspapers can also play great.

I also collect sturdy cardboard boxes , for example from muesli and corn flakes packs, I cut up old wall calendars and much more. You will be amazed what you can find in everyday life if you sharpen your eyes for it!

Particularly practical: old pictures and works of art that you no longer want (or that may have been an experimental “failed attempt”) can be easily reused in art journaling!

8. What else do you need for art journaling

  • pair of scissors ,
  • possibly a cutter knife for designing your own templates or “punching” pages,
  • old cardboard as basics for stencils
  • cup of water
  • Kitchen paper or a cloth for handling brushes and paints
  • For backgrounds and techniques depending on your choice: old sponges, toothbrushes, stencils, colored tape, stickers, fabrics, napkins , … whatever you like!

Your imagination knows no boundaries! You will be surprised how many ideas come to mind about what can be used once you start 🙂

And now I wish you a lot of fun collecting your materials and getting started with Art Journaling!

Happy painting!