How to start art journaling for the joy of it

For me, art journaling through working in a glue book has been one of the most satisfying kinds of art. Why is that? Because it ticks all the boxes for me:

  • It’s pretty easy to do as far as just needing a glue stick, some papers and something to glue it in
  • I get to work with papers that I like in themes that I enjoy, for example
  • I get that feeling of satisfaction of having completed something when I do a page or do a spread in a glue book

If you are curious about playing around with a gluebook or are looking for more ideas or inspiration for what to do with them, I’ve got some glue book tips to help art journalers get going with creating this kind of art for the simple joy of it.

1-Use a notebook/journal you already have

There can be a lot of pressure on yourself to do justice to a band new, beautiful blank journal. All those clean blank pages! What if I ruin them with my bad art? Yikes! So what if you bring down the stress by working in something you’ve already used before? How about an old school notebook? An old planner from 2017? An old journal that you don’t want to write in anymore? You can cover over any text with random scraps, or leave some of your handwriting peeking through. 

2-Paper is important, but the type of paper is not

If you are gluing things into a gluebook, you definitely need paper. But they don’t need to be special papers. Of course you can go buy vintage papers or other specialty papers, but you don’t need to. Cut things out of old magazines. How about some order catalogs? Text from junk mail? Look for papers around you in everyday life. You’d be surprised what you can find.

3-Use anything that is flat

What else can you glue on paper? Ribbons? Washi tape? How about stickers. An old post it note with a doodle on it? Why not? Recently I made some collages with penny postage stamps.

I also made a video on how I collaged them, too. 

4-You don’t need to “journal”

Honestly, I’ve tried. I’ve wanted to “journal” with words in my art journal, but every time I tried, it just seemed forced. I felt icky. I didn’t want to write about my thoughts or what my day was like. So I decided that I didn’t want to see any words. I wanted to only use papers in my gluebook. And that’s what I do!

5-Pick a mixed media (or not)

Want to add some color with paints? Go right ahead! How do you want to do it? With a stencil? I like to use modeling paste. Sometimes I’ll use acrylic paint. More often I’ll use ink and a rubber stamp. If you feel like it, add a mixed media element. Or not!

6-Your style is not fixed. You can work to change it.

So often I’ve heard people say “I hate my style”. If that’s so, then work to change it. Yes, definitely can. How do you do that? By looking critically at art that you like and trying to figure out why it is that you like it. Is it the papers they chose? They style? The color palate? What is it that draws you in? Think about it carefully and then think about how you can add some of those things into the art that you make. It will come to you.

7-Embrace long term project & returning to them

Often people have in mind of wanting to quickly finish a project so that it can be cleared away and a new project can be started. I have some projects that I started a few years ago and know that I have several more years before I will finish them. I’m totally ok with that. I like coming back to these kinds of projects. They’re like old friends that I visit. The great thing about gluebooks is that when I stop, I can close the covers and place it on my shelf. Then I can take it down and open it when I want to start on another page. I come and go in lots of gluebooks. It keeps me from getting bored.

8-It’s ok to work on multiple projects

For the same reasons that I wrote above, I also think it’s fine to be working on several gluebooks at one time. In other words, it’s not necessary to have finished one gluebook before you work on another.

9-It’s the journey, not the destination

Yes, it’s great to finish a project entirely, but the joy from actually putting it together is greater than having something completed.

10-Your ability and confidence increase with practice

It takes time to build up any skill. It doesn’t happen over night. It’s the same with collage and making gluebooks that you like. You can be filled with lots of doubts in the beginning, but you have to push through. It takes effort to work on creating collages, but it’s enjoyable and worth the time you put into it. Don’t give up!

I created a video going over these tips, and also provide you with some prompts for filling up your gluebook pages. Click on the image below to see the video:

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