100 Art Journal Ideas to Inspire You on a Creative Self-Expression

art journal ideas and prompts

A creative collection of ideas and prompts to never run out of inspiration for deeply personal art journal pages. Practice your artistic skills while recording your thoughts and experiences. Each one of these one hundred ideas will prompt you to express yourself by fusing drawings/paintings and words into unique and insightful art journal spreads. 


100 Art Journal Ideas


1. New beginning

Starting something new is always filled with many contrasting emotions like excitement and fear. Those are turbulent and most memorable times of our lives. Create a painting that captures the essence of a new beginning.


2. A perfect moment

Draw your vision of a perfect moment.


3. Graffiti 

Have a message you want a lot of people to hear? Make a graffiti illustration. 


4. Words that describe me

art journal ideas

Found on Brighton


5. View from my window 

Make a watercolor painting of the view from your window. 


6. Inspiring quote

Use watercolors to make a background. Write the inspiring quote of choice in a medium that will make the text prominent on the pages and add more details and accents. 


7. One day in my life 

art journal ideas

Found on Instagram


8. Unpopular opinion

We all have some unpopular opinions we don’t share out of fear. Set your’s free by creating a bold spread that features words and illustrations.


9. Line art I

Choose an object or a scene and draw it using a continuous line technique. 


10. One word 

Choose a word (that is not a noun) and then paint the meaning of it without writing that word. 


11. The world as I see it

Use whichever medium you’re most comfortable with to make an abstract image of the world as you see it. 


12. Motivating words

art journal ideas

Found on Instagram


13. Invention

Invent something and draw a sketch of it. 


14. Same but different

Draw one object ten times in ten different ways. 


15. Random shapes and thoughts 

Paint abstract, random shapes and fill them with thoughts you most frequently think. 


16. Doodles and rants


17. Thoughts about life

art journal ideas

Found on Instagram


18. Thoughts about the passing of time


19. Thoughts about people


20. Thoughts about love


21. Thoughts about climate change


22. Thoughts about freedom


23. Thoughts about control


24. Thoughts about sadness


25. Stencil art

Play around with positive and negative stencils using acrylic paint.

art journal ideas

Found on Instagram


26. I had a dream…

Create an illustration of your recent dream.


27. Today’s lunch

Make a drawing of your lunch. 


28. Home

Create a watercolor painting of your home. 


29. Secret door

On one page draw the closed door with clues as to what hides behind them and on the other page draw the opened door and reveal the scene that was hidden.


30. A joke

Make up a joke or a comical situation and create an illustration of it.


31. Last book I read

Make a painting that depicts the core message or just one moment from the book and write your thoughts on it.


32. Flowers and affirmations

Paint flowers and write affirmations. 


33. Windows

Draw windows with each showing a different view. 


34. Book cover

Recreate a cover of your favorite book. 


35. Abstract art

Play with colors and shapes. Use different media and techniques. 

art journal ideas

Found on Instagram


36. Line art II

Choose an object and draw it in a cross contour technique. 


37. String painting 

With string and acrylic paint make a string painting. 


38. Autumn


39. Winter


40. Spring


41. Summer


42. Pattern

Draw a collage of different patterns. 


43. Favorite art 

Create your own version of your favorite art piece.


44. Symmetry 

Using whichever medium and in whichever technique create an image that displays symmetry.  


45. Contrast

Make an image full of contrasting colors. 


46. Opposites

Make a painting full of opposites. (good vs. evil, big vs. small, smooth vs. rough, new vs. old, calm vs. chaos)


47. Worlds apart

Create a drawing that combines two things, one that is very common and familiar to your culture and the other that is from a distant culture.


48. Mandala


49. Spiral

Make a drawing that features one or many spirals. Like a spiral staircase, a snail’s shell, or some other spiral item, real or imaginary. 


50. Tree


51. Finger painting 

Create an abstract painting using only your fingers. 


52. Paint with flowers

Go for a walk and collect different flowers then use them as a brush to paint in the journal.


53. Paint with the non-dominant hand

Use your non-dominant hand to paint a background. Then write about the thoughts and feelings you had while painting. 


54. Sponge stamps 

Take a sponge and cut it into different shapes. Make a painting using sponge cut-outs and acrylic paint. 


55. Hands

Trace the shape of your hands, then draw or paint on the drawing of your hands. 


56. Childhood memory


57. Perception

On one page draw yourself as you believe others see you and on the other page draw yourself as you wish others would see you. 


58. Self-portrait

art journal word portrait

Found on Joyful Art Journaling


59. Me today

Make a portrait of yourself as you look today.


60. Me as a superhero

If you were a superhero what would be your superpower and how would you use it to make life better?


61. Younger self-portrait

Make a self-portrait of your younger self.


62. What I love about myself 


63. Things I don’t like


64. It saddens me when…


65. My fears

art journal ideas

Found on Instagram


66. A love letter to myself


67. My journey

Create a drawing that shows the “road” of your life from your childhood until now, with all significant moments.


68. Favorite tradition


69. Secrets


70. Rainy day


71. People I love

Draw a circle for each person and inside the circle draw something that reminds you of that person.


72. Favorite person

Create a tribute to your favorite person. 


73. Inspiring person

Choose one person you find inspiring. Make their portrait and write about what makes them special to you.


74. Family

Draw a scene of your family that shows all of you doing something together.


75. I miss you.


76. I’m grateful for…

Gratitude Tree - art journal

Found on Crystal B. Astrology


77. When I’m alone


78. Magic mirror

Make an illustration of a magic mirror that can show all your deepest desires as reality. What would a mirror show when you would look at it?


79. One day I will…


80. Humanity 

Create a collage that represents life on earth. 


81. My vision for the future


82. Things I can’t change

Draw something/everything that you deeply care about but have no influence over.


83. My dreams


84. My goals


85. Growing old


86. This is my soul

If your soul had a shape, what would it look like?


87. Courage

art journal ideas

Found on Instagram


88. Friendship


89. Compassion


90. Hope


91. Faith


92. Landscape

Draw or paint a landscape you find appealing. 


93. Map

Draw a detailed map of a place, real or imaginary.


94. Night Sky

Using watercolors paint a dark background. With shiny or glittery markers draw constellations. 


95. Magical garden 


96. Favorite animal


97. Tropical paradise


98. Cafe vibes


99. Forest 


100. Fireworks and resolutions

Make a dark background. With light and shiny markers draw fireworks and write resolutions for the next year. 


Hope these art journal ideas and prompts will give you plenty of inspiration to create wonderfully varied and uniquely yours art journals.



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