10 Tips for Creative Journaling: Art, Writing & Mixed Media
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 10 min read


  1. Choose your journal
  2. Collect and organize your supplies
  3. Explore different art techniques
  4. Experiment with writing styles
  5. Combine art and writing
  6. Try mixed media approaches
  7. Create a journaling routine
  8. Find inspiration
  9. Express yourself freely
  10. Reflect and learn from your journal

Unlocking the magic of self-expression is a journey, and what better way to embark on this adventure than through creative journaling: using art, writing, and mixed media for self-expression and reflection. We're about to navigate the captivating world of colors, words, textures, and emotions, creating an intimate space where your thoughts and creativity can thrive. Ready? Let's dive in!

Choose your journal

Choosing the right journal is the first step in your creative journaling journey. Think of your journal as your new best friend — a confidante who will keep your thoughts, doodles, and dreams safe. But remember, there's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to journals. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Comfort is key: Find a journal that feels good in your hands. From the texture of the cover to the quality of the paper, comfort can make a big difference.
  • Size matters: Consider how portable you want your journal to be. If you plan on carrying it around, a smaller, compact size might be ideal. However, if you're planning on creating expansive mixed media pieces, a larger journal may serve you better.
  • Binding type: Spiral bound journals lay flat, making them great for art pieces. Meanwhile, hardbound journals may give a more traditional, book-like feel.
  • Page quality: If you're planning on using wet media like paint, a journal with thick, sturdy pages is your best friend. For simply writing or sketching, thinner pages will do just fine.

Remember, the aim is to find a journal that you're excited to use, one that invites you to express yourself freely. So, take your time, explore your options, and find that perfect companion for your creative journaling journey.

Collect and organize your supplies

Once you've found your journal, it's time to gather your artistic arsenal. Creative journaling is a versatile form of self-expression, so you're not restricted to pen and paper. Think of your supplies as your tools for self-expression, and remember, variety is the spice of creativity!

  • Pens and pencils: From ballpoint pens to brush pens, mechanical pencils to charcoal ones — the choices are endless. Don't be afraid to mix and match. After all, each tool brings a unique flavor to your creations.
  • Colors: Watercolors, acrylic paints, colored pencils, or pastels — you decide. Each offers a different texture and intensity, so why not try them all?
  • Mixed media: Stickers, washi tape, magazine cutouts, photographs — these can add depth and personal touch to your journal pages. Remember, creative journaling encourages you to think outside the box.
  • Extras: Things like a ruler, eraser, or a pair of scissors can come in handy. And let's not forget a glue stick for those mixed media pieces!

Now, organizing your supplies might seem mundane, but trust me, it's a game-changer. Having a designated space for your supplies not only keeps your workspace tidy but also saves you time searching for that particular color or sticker. So grab some storage boxes, pencil cases, or even old mugs and get organizing!

Remember, the joy of creative journaling lies in the process, not just the end result. So, enjoy every moment of it — even the organizing!

Explore different art techniques

Once you've stocked up on supplies, it's time to have some fun. Creative journaling is all about experimentation, so let's explore different art techniques.

  • Doodling: Don't underestimate the power of a simple doodle. It's a great way to get your creative juices flowing and can add a fun element to your journal pages.
  • Sketching: Whether it's a quick, rough sketch or a detailed study, sketching can help you capture ideas and express emotions in your journal. Plus, it's excellent for improving your drawing skills over time.
  • Painting: Who said you can't paint in a journal? Watercolor washes, acrylic blobs, or a splash of color can bring life to your pages. Don't worry about making it perfect — remember, the aim is self-expression, not perfection.
  • Collage: This technique is perfect for mixed media journaling. You can use magazine cutouts, photographs, stickers, or even fabric scraps. The possibilities are endless!
  • Stamping: Stamps can be a fun addition to your creative journaling journey. You can use store-bought ones or create your own with foam sheets or potatoes. Yes, you read that right—potatoes!

Feel free to mix and match these techniques or even come up with your own. The beauty of creative journaling is that there are no rules — just endless possibilities for you to explore and express yourself. So, don't be afraid to try something new. Who knows? You might stumble upon your next favorite art technique.

Experiment with writing styles

Now that we've dipped our toes into the artistic side of creative journaling, let's shift gears and dive into the writing aspect. Just like with art, there are countless ways for you to express yourself through words.

  • Freewriting: This involves writing non-stop for a set amount of time without worrying about grammar, punctuation, or even making sense. It's all about letting your thoughts flow freely onto the page and seeing where they take you.
  • Haiku: If you're up for a little challenge, why not try your hand at this traditional form of Japanese poetry? It's a three-line poem with a 5-7-5 syllable count. This style can help you capture a fleeting moment or emotion with beautiful simplicity.
  • Stream of Consciousness: This writing style involves writing your thoughts as they come, without any filtering or editing. It can be a powerful way for you to tap into your subconscious and explore your deepest thoughts and feelings.
  • Letter Writing: You can write letters in your journal to yourself, to others, or even to inanimate objects or abstract concepts. It's a great way to express your feelings and create a dialogue within your journal.

Remember, the goal here is not to become a bestselling author overnight, but to use writing as a tool for self-expression and reflection. So, go ahead and experiment with different writing styles in your creative journaling practice. You never know — you might just discover a new passion for writing!

Combine Art and Writing

Now that we've explored both artistic techniques and various writing styles, let's talk about how we can marry the two in creative journaling. Combining art and writing can lead to a truly enriching journaling experience.

Firstly, you can illustrate your words. Have you ever written about a stunning sunset and wished you could capture its beauty on the page? Well, you can! Use watercolors, pencils, markers — whatever you have on hand — and recreate the scenes you've written about. This adds a visual element to your words and helps to further cement the memory.

Another approach is to write around your art. Create a drawing or painting first, then let it inspire your writing. Maybe a doodle of a tree makes you reflect on growth and change, and you write a short poem about it. The possibilities are endless!

Finally, you can incorporate text into your art. This could be anything from a meaningful quote to a random thought that struck you. Blend it into your artwork in an aesthetically pleasing way. This creates a beautiful fusion of art and words, enhancing the depth of your journal entries.

By combining art and writing, your creative journaling becomes a more holistic means of self-expression and reflection. The interplay of visuals and text can lead to unexpected insights and make your journaling journey all the more rewarding.

Try Mixed Media Approaches

Moving forward, it's time to mix things up a bit. Let's delve into the realm of mixed media. But what does mixed media mean in the context of creative journaling? It's simply the process of combining different types of materials and techniques in your journal.

Do you have a collection of ticket stubs from various events you've attended? Or perhaps a leaf you picked up during a memorable walk? These are perfect examples of items you can incorporate into your journal using mixed media approaches.

For instance, you might create a collage. This is a great way to make use of different materials like cut-outs from magazines, photographs, fabric scraps, or even old letters. Arrange these elements in a way that tells a story or conveys a feeling.

Don't be afraid to add texture to your pages. You can use materials like ribbons, buttons, or lace to give your journal a unique, tactile feel. Plus, it adds a wonderful element of surprise to your journaling.

Furthermore, consider layering different mediums. Start with a watercolor wash, write your thoughts, and then add a layer of colored pencil doodles. This creates depth and makes your pages visually engaging.

Remember, there's no right or wrong here. The goal is to express yourself and reflect on your experiences, thoughts, and feelings. Using mixed media in creative journaling can open up new avenues of self-expression and make each page a unique piece of art.

Create a Journaling Routine

Just like any other habit, creative journaling benefits from consistency. Creating a journaling routine helps you cultivate this habit and make the most of your art, writing, and mixed media exploration. So, how can you establish a journaling routine without feeling overwhelmed?

First, choose a specific time when you know you can dedicate yourself to journaling. Maybe it’s early in the morning when the world is still quiet, or late at night after everyone else has gone to bed. The key is to find a time when you can be alone with your thoughts and creativity.

Next, set a realistic goal for how often you want to journal. It doesn't have to be every day. Start with once a week, then gradually increase your frequency as you become more comfortable with the process.

Third, create a comfortable space for journaling. This could be a cozy corner of your living room, a sunny spot in your backyard, or even a local café. Having a dedicated space for journaling can make the process feel more special and inviting.

Lastly, remember to be flexible. Some days, you might not feel like journaling, and that's okay. Your journaling routine should serve you, not become a source of stress. The beauty of creative journaling lies in its flexibility and openness to spontaneity.

By setting up a routine, you're creating a safe space for self-expression and reflection. This consistent practice can lead to deeper insights, heightened creativity, and a stronger connection with yourself.

Find Inspiration

When it comes to creative journaling, sometimes the most challenging part can be finding inspiration. But don't worry! Inspiration can come from numerous sources, and it's all about staying open and observant.

Start with your surroundings. Whether you're at home, in a bustling city, or soaking up nature in a local park, there's a wealth of inspiration right under your nose. Look at the colors, the textures, the sounds, the people. Each of these elements can spark an idea for your art, writing, and mixed media journaling.

Books, movies, and music can also be fantastic sources of inspiration. A compelling storyline, a memorable character, an evocative song lyric - any of these could provide the springboard for your next journal entry.

Don't forget about your own experiences and emotions. Creative journaling is a powerful tool for self-expression and reflection. Your thoughts, feelings, dreams, and memories are all valid and valuable material for your journal.

In the end, remember that inspiration isn't something that's found—it's something that finds you. Stay open, stay curious, and let the world surprise you. You never know where your next journaling idea will come from!

Express Yourself Freely

One of the most liberating aspects of creative journaling is that there are no rules. You have the freedom to express yourself in any way you like. You can write, draw, collage, or even dabble in mixed media. The key is to allow your art and writing to serve as channels for self-expression and reflection.

Maybe you're a poet at heart, and your words dance across the page in rhythm and rhyme. Or perhaps you're a visual artist, and your thoughts are best expressed through sketches, doodles, or even full-blown paintings. You could also be someone who loves to mix and match, combining words and art in a mixed media journaling approach.

And remember—this is your personal space. You don't have to worry about meeting anyone else's standards or expectations. The only person you need to please is yourself. Are you happy with what you've created? Does it represent what you're feeling? If so, then you've succeeded.

Remember, creative journaling is not about perfection, but about authenticity. Every stroke of your pen, every splash of color, is a piece of you. So go ahead, let your creativity run wild. This is your story. Tell it in your own unique way.

Reflect and Learn from Your Journal

One of the most empowering aspects of creative journaling—using art, writing, and mixed media for self-expression and reflection—is how it allows us to learn and grow. The process of reflection is just as important as the act of creation itself.

Your journal is more than just a collection of your thoughts and feelings; it's a mirror that reflects your inner world. When you look back at your entries, you're not just revisiting the past, you're gaining new insights about yourself. You might notice patterns or themes that recur in your work, or you might discover feelings and ideas that you weren't aware of when you first penned them down.

Here are a few tips to aid in this reflective process:

  • Take your time: Reflection isn't something you rush. Set aside quiet moments to revisit your entries. Allow yourself to absorb the words, the art, the emotions that you've poured onto the page.
  • Ask questions: What was going through your mind when you created this entry? How do you feel about it now? Are there any changes you wish to make? Engaging with your work in this way deepens your understanding of yourself.
  • Be open to change: As you reflect, you'll likely see ways you've grown or evolved over time. Embrace these changes. They're proof of your journey.

Through journaling, you're not just creating art or writing—you're creating yourself. Each entry is a stepping stone on your path of self-discovery. So, as you reflect, celebrate how far you've come, and look forward to where your creative journaling journey will take you next.

If you're inspired by our blog post "10 Tips for Creative Journaling: Art, Writing & Mixed Media" and want to dive deeper into mixed media techniques, we highly recommend the workshop 'Crafting a Creative Voice through Collage!' by Christine Kim. This workshop will help you unleash your creative potential and develop your unique artistic voice through the art of collage. Don't miss this opportunity to explore new ways to express yourself!