Choosing an Art Journal You’ll Love

Artist, teacher and art journal afficionado Diana Trout has made a way-cool little video about various kinds of mixed media art journals to help you choose your next volume. Because so many of us get kind of overwhelmed when we’re trying to find a new one to try out, I asked her if she’d share her video and tell us a little more about her criteria for choosing the best journal. She also has some great ideas to fill your art journal pages as well!

Here’s the video:

And here’s what else Diana had to say about journals:

If you had to pick one quality that’s most important to you in a journal you’re going to actually use, what would it be? 

The most important quality to me is that the paper is good heavy watercolor paper! 

If you had to pick just one kind of journal–like, if you’re going on a 5-year international expedition and get to take a crate of blank books, but only one kind–which would you choose?

I would choose the moleskine watercolor journal. I could happily go through a lifetime supply of them!

So if someone buys a brand-new journal that’s maybe a little pricey or maybe special because they bought it on a trip or something, do you have any tips for getting started on those perfect, pristine, blank white pages?
Oh yes: the blank page multiplied by 60. Yikes! The advice I give my students is to open your book to somewhere in the middle rather than starting on page 1. Experiment with media in your book and get to know the size and paper qualities. 
Another tip is to put all of my contact information on page 1 in case of loss. It is a good idea to include a message to anyone who may find your journal (e.g.: This is my annex heart/brain. I will be eternally grateful to you if you return it to me.”) When I am traveling abroad with my journal, I include a few euros with my plea to return it to me. 
For a brand-new beginner who isn’t yet sure about what qualities are most important to them, do you have some tips for starting out? Maybe some things to think about (page weight, bound vs. spiral, etc.) or some standard, readily-available kinds to try?
I love the moleskines, both watercolor and the sketchbook. If you buy the sketchbook, make sure it has the blue tab. It is heavy weight ivory paper. A book that opens flat and stays that way is a good choice. The spiral bound books easily expand if you use heavy collage. The information in the video should help to get you started.
You can find out lots more on Diana’s website, where you can find links to her blog and YouTube channel. Thanks, Diana!
Ricë also blogs at The Voodoo Cafe.


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