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A 35 Day Art Journal Challenge to Inspire You to Try Something New

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Join our free art journal challenge and learn new skills and techniques – includes video tutorials and a free printable journal prompts checklist!

Join our free art journaling challenge and learn new skills and techniques - there's video tutorials and a free printable to get and print out!

It’s been about a month now since I fell down the Junk Journal hole on Instagram and my creative world opened up to the wonders of junk journals, art journals, smash books and glue books.

There are so many wonderful techniques to try that I found myself wanting to do all.of.the.things, and then instead doing none of the things!

So I decided to make myself an art journal challenge. And I’m sharing it here in case you want to have a go too!

Art Journal Challenge

I scrolled through my Instagram feed and while ooh-ing and aah-ing over all of the gorgeous projects people have completed I wrote down the techniques that they had used in their creations.

Mixed media, pockets, painting, collage, layers, ripping paper, making paper…

I came up with a list of 35 different ideas which I have turned into challenge prompts.

Scroll down the page to see each of the prompts, with a video tutorial to show you what to do, and some completed projects from instagram to inspire you.

You could complete one challenge prompt each day so that it’ll take you a little over a month to complete this free 35 day art journal challenge, or you could do one a week and stretch it out over nine-ish months, or anything in between… just go at your own pace and have fun!

The daily challenge prompts will tell you what techniques or supplies to use in your art journal spread, but just in case you need some inspiration of WHAT to journal about I’ve also pulled together of winter themed art journal prompts to get you started. You can find them at the end of this post.

I’ve also made a handy PDF printable containing all the challenge prompts which you can get by popping your email address into the box below.

The challenge prompts are also available in a paperback book via Amazon with 35 blank pages for you to use as your art journal during the challenge.

Embrace the "expression" element of self care this year by joining our free art journal challenge! Check out the video tutorials and get the free printable!

Challenge Rules

Before we jump into the challenge prompts I thought I’d set out a few rules for us all to follow:

1. This is a fun challenge that shouldn’t require us to spend lots of money. If you come across a prompt that calls for resources (like paint or washi tape or paper punches etc) that you don’t already have available just skip the prompt, you don’t have to go out and buy them. Unless you want to of course.
2. This challenge is about learning new skills and trying new techniques, so we shouldn’t expect to have perfect results. Besides this is art and there is no perfection in art. It is the process that matters not the end result.
3. Although the prompts are numbered we don’t need to complete them in a strict order. Feel free to jump about depending on whether you want to do something “clean” like glueing a collage or you have time to get all of your paints out.

1. Make a Collage

Layer up your washi, ephemera, papers and memorabilia to make a collage.

2. Relive Your Childhood with Crayons

Crayons aren’t just for kids, grab a set and use them in your art journal. You can layer them with paint for a mixed media effect or just embrace the texture of the wax.

3. Get Mindful with Doodles

Fill a page with doodles. You can just use a pen on a blank page, or you can create a background first to doodle on top of. Try both!

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▫️ Winter doodles ▫️ . 25 tiny doodles Christmas-themed: flowers, plants, wreaths, trees, a pinecone, gingerbread men ❤️ There’s also a Camellia in the centre… could you see all of them? . . Inspired by @floralsyourway monthly prompt ? . Pens: @sakuraofamerica – 0.05 0.1 and 0.2 (I used these two pens because the paper I textured, the tip is really thin and I needed to change them frequently! ) . Paper: Magnani1404 . #christmasdoodles #winter #floraldoodle #christmas #wreath #doodleart #tinyflowers #christmasart #sakuraofamerica #designinspiration #blackworknow #inking #blackillustration #tinydrawing #botanicallinedrawing #blackwhite #inkdrawing #blackflower #floralgram #drawingflower #floraldrawing #modernflorals #botanicaldrawing #lineart #linework #botanicalillustration #magnani1404 #doodles #blackworknowillustrations #watercolorpaper

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4. Get Creative with Ephemera

Pull some ephemera from your stash and use it in your art journal to create a collage.

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Cute Journal/Tag Pockets ?❤️

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Rice Paper Clusters ??

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5. Try Something Different with Fabric

Sew a fabric cover for your art journal, create some fabric pockets or add strips of fabric to your collage.

6. Add Some Flips

Add an insert into your spread that you can “flip” open to reveal something underneath.

7. Grab a Glue Stick

Grab a glue stick and just start glueing things onto your page to create a collage.

8. Try a Grid Layout

Cut out some square pictures from scrapbook papers, greetings cards, photographs or magazines and use them to make a grid picture.

9. Hide Something in Your Spread

Use layers, pockets and flaps to hide things in your spread.

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Are you like me and look at old photos and wonder about the people in it…sometimes I imagine the future whispering in their ear while the photo was taken "in 70 years some random eccentric lady will be using this photo as ephemera in her junk journal which she will be sharing on a magical invention called the internet. Thousands of people from all over the world will have the opportunity to see this instantly on handheld devices called cell phones from the comfort of their home. You should probably make sure your hair looks good and you dont have lipstick on your teeth" ?? . . . . #junkjournals #junkjournal #journallove #journalcommunity #junkjournaljunkies #thedailywriting #whatsonmydesk #junkjournaling #journalpages #artjournal #ephemera #vintagebooks #vintage #handmadejournal #travelersnotebook #loveforanalogue #stationeryaddict #midoritravelersnotebook #travelersnotebookcommunity #travelersnotebookinserts #creativejournal #creativejournaling #showmeyourjournal #travelerscompany #loveforanalogue

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10. Add Some Journaling

No one says that your art journal can’t contain actual text based journaling. Find somewhere on your spread that you can add some words to tell the story.

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That's (almost) a wrap on 2019! Is there anything that you're planning on leaving behind as you move into a fresh new year? In my 2020 journal setup I included a spread about moving on, complete with a little envelop to tuck away those things that you're ready to let go. This is the analog magic of journaling. Experience the power of writing things down! It sounds silly but there is magic in the process! Start your bujo this year, watch my 2020 setup on YouTube. ❤️ . . . . . . . . . . . #myeverydaymagic #pursuepretty #inspiremyinstagram #plannernerd #plannerlayout #bulletjournalweekly #bulletjournalideas #bujoaddicts #bujobeginner #bujoideas #bujoweeklyspread #plannercommunity #planwithme #creativejournaling #creativeprocess #shaydacampbell #alittlebeautyeveryday

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11. Try a Junk Journal Style Layout

Create a spread using things you might formerly thought of as “junk”, scraps of paper, items from the recycling box, old books etc

12. Add Some Layers

Layer your photos and embellishments to add a three dimensional effect to your art. You can also add layers with gesso, paint, crayons and inks.

13. Try Hand Lettering

Have a go at some hand lettering. It’s a wonderful way to add words to your art journal.

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Only a few more sleeps to go! ?❄️ Chris and I are enjoying a Christmas vacation (which is something I've never really done!) and #Banff is the perfect spot to take in all the wintery magic of the season. We're spending two nights at the incredible #fairmontbanffsprings and currently it's snowing outside (has been all day), all the trees are twinkling in the darkness and we just got back from a dip in the heated outdoor pool. Perfectly lovely! I wish you a wonderful weekend before Christmas (it's always a special weekend, isn't it?) If you're looking for journaling content, the January Plan-With-Me has just gone live on YouTube, give it a watch! . . . . . . . . #illustrationoftheday #creativeprocess #womencreate #watercolor_daily #makeart #handmadecards #handlettering #illustrationwork #watercolorpainting #artistsoninstagram #creativityfound #shaydacampbell #alittlebeautyeveryday #pursuepretty #simplejoy #christmas2019

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14. Add Some Memorabilia

Add maps, ticket stubs, restaurant flyers and other memorabilia to turn your art journal spread into a memory keepsake.

15. Experiment with Mixed Media

Mix things up by combining stamps, paint, papers, ephemera and even bits from nature.

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And then, like the Ghost of Christmas Past, she returned… Sorry for my absence from IG, my friends! But in all seriousness, the past month and a bit has been ridiculously busy. (I also had someone momentarily staying in my room with my journaling things.) So I pretty much gave up any attempt to do more than work, eat, and sometimes sleep. ? But I'm finally able to take a breath, assess things, and sit down at my desk on this, the shortest day of the year. Seems fitting, since along with the holiday season, I will rejoice in the lengthening days that brighten my thoughts and inspire my creativity. ? In any case, I'm back! I'm also working to respond to some letters and happy mail, so thank you to my patient correspondents! Wishing you all Peace… ? . . . . . . #shesback #journal #journaling #creativejournal #creativejournaling #paperlove #journallove #journaljunkie #journalcommunity #midoritravelersnotebook #travelersnotebook #plannerlove #bulletjournal #journalspread #dailyspread #junkjournal #scrapbookjournal #diary #ephemera #washiaddict #thedailywriting #loveforanalogue

A post shared by Leslie Peterson (@journalofdays) on

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Awesome art journal page with our Textured Flowers and Doodle Borders. Repost @susanne_rose_art • • • • • • There's a new art journaling video on my YouTube channel. I had a play with Neocolor II crayons and our beautiful Textured Flower and Doodle Border stamps from @rubberdance. #artjournal #artjournaling #mixedmediaart #mixedmedia #stamping #journaling #artmarks #markmaking #junkjournal #junkjournaling #artjournallove #artjournaleveryday #artstamp #stampart #artjournalprocess #artjournalingdaily #rubberdancestamps #rubberdance #dailyart #neocolor #artjournalbackground #isupportdesignnotcrime #cardmaking #scrapbooking #papercrafting #crafting #art #papercrafts #cardmaker

A post shared by Rᴜʙʙᴇʀ Dᴀɴᴄᴇ Aʀᴛ Sᴛᴀᴍᴘꜱ (@rubberdance) on

16. Mix Up Some Paints

Grab a set of watercolor or acrylic paints, a paintbrush and some easy to follow youtube tutorials and see what you can paint in your journal today.

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Playing with my paints and journal for the first time in weeks. Guys, I'm really sorry I've been MIA.. I've been dealing with a sudden family health issue. I'm gearing up for some videos and fun in the New Year. Thanks for being my friends. ?? https://www.youtube.com/c/joiedefi #journaladdict #journalcommunity #junkjournal #junkjournals #journalwithme #visualjournaling #visualjounalism #artjournal #artjournalpage #artjournalpages #ephemera #dailyjournaling #dailyjournal #design #handmadejournals #handmadeartjournal #monthlyplanner #planneraddict #creativejournaling #creativejournals #journalpages #artjournalpagedaily #junkjournalpages #journallove #thedailywriting #journalideas #junkjournaljunkies #artezaofficial

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17. Experiment with Patterns

Use some patterned scrapbook paper or make your own patterns with your doodles or illustrations.


18. Incorporate Some Photographs

Get those photos off your phone and into your art journal!

19. Add Some Pockets

Make some pockets using folded up paper and glue and stick them to your page so you can add some hidden items to your spread.

20. Write Some Poetry

Cut some words from an old book or magazine, or hide words on a page of text to create some found poetry.

21. Use a Paper Punch

Use a paper punch to make holes in your paper, or add the punched out elements to your spread.

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? Best Seller ? ที่ตัดกระดาษวงกลม WE R MEMORY KEEPERS CIRCLE SPIN & TRIM ✔️พร้อมส่ง✔️ ฿1,365 ทัก LINE หรือซื้อได้เลยที่ Shopee https://shopee.co.th/product/81677971/1787357656?v=e91&smtt=0.0.4 Mind Memory : Art & Craft Supplies ?・Scrapbook・Card Making・Book Binding・Bangkok ?? ? mindmemorystore.com ? shopee.co.th/mindmemorystore ? LINE ID: @mindmemorystore ? Online & Offline (Sat.) #mindmemory #craftsupply #craftthailand #craftbangkok #bangkok #scrapbookstore #scrapbookthailand #papercraft #paperpunch #diy #bookbinding #embossing #ปากกาemboss #งานกระดาษ #อุปกรณ์งานฝีมือ #อุปกรณ์เย็บสมุด #ตัดกระดาษ #circlecut #circlecutter #ตัดกระดาษวงกลม #circlespinandtrim #WRMK #เครื่องมือตัดกระดาษ #กระดาษวงกลม

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22. Recycle Something

Tear up a page from your art journal and create a new collage. Or raid the recycling box and make a collage using old magazines or junk mail.

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GUEST ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: @alicesheridanstudio⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ If you're into abstract art, Alice Sheridan's lesson is absolutely for you. She applies her techniques to creating meaningful abstraction and plays with color, shape, and line to create magic. This is one of those lessons members mention time and time again as being incredibly valuable. And of course, it's just one of MANY incredible True Colors courses. When you are ready to make creative practice your next step, take the chance and sign up for True Colors. You're going to LOVE the direction the True Colors Art Program is going in the new year! If you sign up before the end of 2019, you'll have access to THIS course, ALL the original True Colors content AND the New Era of True Colors for as long as you stay a member. This includes classes from all our previous guest artists, sketchbook files, all the color mixing, and extensive lessons by Kellee! If you join in January or beyond, you'll get the new program with HOURS of coursework and excitement, but you won't have access to everything that came before then. If you know you can't live without the original program, check out the link in our profile. Feel free to use the comments to ask whatever questions you have or message us for more info!

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23. Try Ripping it Up

Be brave and rip or tear your papers instead of cutting them, you’ll add some wonderful textures to your artwork.

24.Make Your Own Paper

Make your own paper using paper marbling or handmade paper techniques. You can use them as a background or tear them up to make a collage.

25. Grab an Ink Pad

If you’re nervous about drawing use some stamps instead. You can stamp straight onto your paper, or stamp onto another piece and then fussy cut them out and glue them on.

26. Use Something from Your Stash

If you have a stash of die cuts, tags and doilies you can put them all together to create a spread in your art journal.

27. Use Stencils

Use stencils with paint to add some texture to your spread.

28. Add Some Stickers

Grab a packet of stickers and add them to your journal spread.

29. Experiment with Stripes

Use washi tape, strips of paper, or paint to create stripes on your page.

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It’s the beginning of December and you know what that means… Christmas time is here!! I absolutely love this time of year and I can’t wait to share more Christmas art with you guys!! Check out those bleeds though ? • • • • #thosebleedsthough #watercolorbleed #watercolorstripes #stripes #stripeart #christmasartwork #christmasart #watercolorpainting #christmaswatercolor #christmas #christmaslettering #christmas2019 #handlettering #handletteringnewbie #joytotheworld #watercolor #watercolor_painting #joy #handletteringbeginner #communityovercompetition #watercolorcommunity #artcommissions #artcommunity #artoftheday #art_promote @watercolor_guild @promote_ur_art @winsorandnewton

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30. Create Something Symmetrical

Draw, paint or glue something to the left hand side of your paper, and then create a mirror image on the right for artwork that’s pleasing to the eye.

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A “folly” is a funny little whimsical building or structure built primarily for decorative purposes…So I thought it would be a good name for a new collection of funny little whimsical art prints I’ve been working on! Here is the first in my Folly Collection! Would really love to hear your feedback on this one since it’s a bit of a departure for me but something I want to do more of! #artprint #birdart #birdprint #birdillustration #pantonecoloroftheyear2020 #birdwallart #floralartprint #floralprint . . #unblinkstudio #jackietahara #surfacepattern #surfacedesign #surfacepatterndesign #illustration #artlicensing #textiledesigner #homedecor #printandpattern #printdesign #surfacepatternprint #instapattern #makeitindesign #miidlivehub #surfacepatternlife #patternbank #makeartthatsells #patternsmagazine #thepatterncurator #patterndesignersclub #surfacepatterncommunity @makeitindesign @makeartthatsells @thepatterncurator @patterndesignersclub @surfacepatterncommunity

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31. Add Some Texture

Add some texture to your art by layering paints with masking tape or papers.

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Reflecting on another amazing year of the True Colors Art Program™ and all that we've accomplished so far. It's hard to believe that this little idea turned into a big program and a supportive community. ? If you've been thinking about joining, or have just discovered my thriving artist membership, now it's the time! True Colors is about to go through a big amazing transformation so only those who become members before December 31st get continuing access to both the current (soon to be archived) program, AND the New Era of True Colors coming January 2020. ? The reorganized membership is designed to make a bigger impact in the way you make art and help you live everyday as a creative being. It's the whole package! All for one low price of $33/month. Check out the link in my profile. ? www.experiencetruecolors.com

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32. Experiment with Typography

Add some text to your spread by cutting words out of a book or magazine.

33. Add Some Vellum

Add some vellum to your spread. You can use it as a pocket or to add some opacity to your art.

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Created December Daily spreads for days 18-20 using beautiful happy mail items from @aurora_landgraf, @mcevsche, @chattylainecreations and @nette_journals. Thank you lovely ladies for your gifts! I love having them in my journal! Video is up on my channel, link in my bio. Enjoy! ⛄️ ⛄️ ⛄️ ⛄️ ⛄️ ⛄️ #journaladdict #journalcommunity #junkjournal #junkjournals #visualjournaling #visualjournalism #artjournal #artjournalpage #artjournalpages #ephemera #dailyjournaling #dailyjournal #handmadejournals #handmadeartjournal #creativejournaling #creativejournals #journalpages #artjournalpagedaily #junkjournalpages #loveforanalogue #journallove #thedailywriting #journalideas #journalinspiration #junkjournaljunkies #decemberdaily2019

A post shared by Journal Inspiration (@49dragonflies) on

34. Go Vintage

Keep your eyes peeled at yard sales and flea markets for vintage sewing patterns, magazines, and ephemera that you can use in your art journal.

35. Play with Washi Tape

Grab a roll of washi or two and incorporate some into your spread. You can use it to stick something down, or just attach strips of pretty tape.

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Finally the last monthly cover is here! This pages mark the last month of writing about my days in December and this year. I still can’t believe 2020 is around the corner and I feel that I’m not even ready for it, actually I spent almost half of the year writing “2018” ?‍♀️ . I’m glad that I got my hands on the beautiful washitapes from @londongifties they are perfect for this season, all the little details and gorgeous colours … all the things you can do with them! Find yours under the section “Christmas 2019” at her store ? 。 。 。 。 。 。 。 。 。 。 。 。 。 。 。 。 。 。 #meowpawjournals #londongifties #maskingtape #washitapeaddict #poppies #creativejournaling #文具 #mixedmediaonpaper #stationeryaddict #stationery #絵日記 #washiart #craftingtape #stationeryholic #artjournal #journaling #washitapelover #journalcommunity #washilove #creativeart #washitapes #journalpages #journaljunkie #mixedmediaart #washicollage #mykokuyo #myindieco #artsupplies #peonies #flowerbouquet

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I hope you have a lot of fun, and learn lots of new skills by playing along with this challenge!

You can subscribe to the YouTube playlist here.

You can also click this link to save the challenge to your Pinterest art journal board so you can come back to it later.

Winter One Word Art Journal Prompts

Just in case you need some inspiration for WHAT to journal about here are some winter themed one word art journal prompts to inspire you:

Candy Canes
Christmas Tree
Snow Globe
Snuggled Up
Stained Glass
Vision Board
Word of the Year
Wrapped Up

Don’t forget to click here and save this challenge to one of your Pinterest boards so you can come back to it later!

This year bring some creativity to your day by taking part in our free art journal challenge that's perfect for beginners and includes video tutorials