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Gather Your Creative Materials

Trying out creative journaling techniques is a chance to nourish your inner child and reset your creative confidence.

The last thing I would say I am is an artist! However, I love giving space in my journal for colours, doodles, collages, photos and ephemera from events and holidays - in fact many of the things I used to enjoy doing as a child. Sometimes it can be as simple as doodling in the margins and sometimes it is something more involved like collaging a vision-board for the year ahead.

In order to give creative journaling a try you'll need to gather together some of the following materials. You don’t need to have all of them! See what you have around or what you can borrow.

#1 - Pencils

Coloured pencils are the standard go-to for journalers and don't forget a sharpener. These come in sets from six to sixty plus, but do check: you may have some around if you enjoy colouring books for 'grown ups' or you have children or grandchildren.

You might also experiment with water-colour pencils, plus a few brushes of various width. These are particularly useful for creating “backgrounds” and highlights to your pages. Make sure you do a test to see how they work on the paper-stock of your notebook. If it's less than 120gsm, they might leave your paper soggy at first and then drying stiffly or wrinkly. (See the post On Choosing A Notebook).

#2 - Crayons

A set of wax crayons can give bold marks or doodles and feels very different to use on the page in comparison with pencil. You can also find water-colour crayons in a big colour range - as usual, don't forget to test them on your paper-stock and remember you'll need brushes for working the colour.

#3 - Pastels

Unless I am using an an artist sketchbook with heavy paper, I don't use chalk pastels. They are great for smudging and blending, however the chalk powder is messy so if you do love them, think about a "fixing" spray to keep you powder in place.

Oil pastels, like crayons, give intense colour to a page and move over it in a different way to pencils. You can also use your finger tips to smudge to some extent. You'll find them in sets of all numbers.

#4 - Items for collaging

Start foraging for old magazines or junk mail and find a box or bag to keep them in. Flick through these when you want to collage, you'll find them a useful resource for images, words, and colours to cut out.

And to complete any collaging or scrap-booking pages, you'll need scissors and an adhesive. A glue stick works well on most paper-stocks, and on heavier paperstocks you could use a regular white PVA glue which you can also use to add a "varnish" to your collage or ephemera.

#5 - Extras

Certainly, if you enjoy scrapbooking, collaging or embellishing your journal pages, you might experiment with Washi Tapes (a decorative paper tape) and Transfers/Rub-Ons. In addition, start to think about collecting everyday emphemera: tickets, receipts, postcards etc - I know they are all very "analogue", but they do exist!

"Art is the concrete representation of our most subtle feelings" - Agnes Martin, Artist.

My final tip, is the most important: trust that you do have a creative streak even if you haven’t done anything remotely artistic since your school days. You might find that journaling through images, photos and collages is as fruitful as journaling through the written word.

By the way.....

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