How to Start an Art Journal
- blank journal or sketchbook, no lines
- art-making supplies (pencils, markers, pens, paint...the sky's the limit)
- draw what you see right outside your window
- record the most memorable thing about your day
- draw a portrait of your favorite person
- create a monster in an unlikely situation
As you get more comfortable with filling pages, you can stop following prompts and just draw and write whatever feels natural. We think it's fun to use a variety of media. One page might be filled with pencil drawings, while the next one uses acrylic or watercolor paints. Feel free to collage or create a pop-up page, too.
If you're interested in using art journals as a way to stay close with your son or daughter, you have a few options. You can buy two art journals and use one for yourself. Follow the same prompts each day and compare how you each interpreted the assignment. You could even bring your art journals on your family vacation and spend an hour drawing a famous landmark or beautiful landscape. Or simply sit in a park and people-watch while practicing your figure drawing.
Another option is to create a "Mommy (or Daddy) and Me" art journal. Essentially, you still journal together, but in the same book. Normally, these journals use only words to communicate back and forth between parent and child. But you can take it up a notch by adding art into the mix. You can write and draw something silly and your child can add on to the drawing with their own creations. Or use the journal to write and draw something fun/sad/exciting about your day and ask them to add their own entry. The sky's the limit!
No matter how you decide to art journal, the important part is that you're using art to maintain your relationship with your child. You might be surprised at what you could learn about your kid, and what they might find out about you. It's not necessary to write a journal entry next to every sketch, or even at all. But writing is a great way to improve literacy and keep a written record of your child's thoughts and experiences.
Once you have filled the journal, start fresh with a new one. Instead of scrapbooks, you'll have a nice little collection of sketchbooks to look back on. The fun part will be seeing how much your child has grown as an artist throughout the years. Happy journaling!
What else do you do to stay connected with your child? We'd love to hear!