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This is the third installment of my art journaling series.  If you’re just tuning in, here’s where to start and why.

So you’ve been art journaling for a few weeks, and suddenly you’ve hit a wall.  You’re in a rut.  You’re having a hard time thinking of new ideas for your pages.

Let me just tell you: I’ve been there too. You can tell, too, because there will be weeks after weeks of bubble letters and random color washes.  It happens; don’t give up!  Especially after art journaling for a while, it can be hard to think of new ideas.

So to keep things exciting and limiting the aforementioned bubble letters/color washes, here are a few sources of inspiration I use when I’m having trouble.

Where I Find Ideas for Art Journaling


The first one on my list admittedly seems to have little to do with artwork at first, but it’s amazing what a difference using different lettering can have on a page. It’s a great way to break up what you usually do and branch out a little more.

If I’m doing a page around a specific quote, I like to write the quote in a lettering that is distinctly different from my normal writing so it stands out more.

Here’s a great example of that.
See? Nothing special. Just a tree. But the quote on the page makes this among my favorites.
To use Fontspace, go to browse, pick the kind of font you’re looking for (or just look through all of them), and click on the “change preview” bar.
fontspace guide
Type in whatever you’re trying to write. It’ll show you that phrase in all the fonts in that section. Pick the one that appeals to you and copy it. Write it in pencil first and go over it in pen: you can erase the pencil marks once the pen is completely dry.

Really not feeling artistic? You can download the font, write whatever you’d like on Word, print it off, and cut and paste it in your journal.  Easy peasy.


Think in terms of seasons and holidays.

This has helped me think of ideas so many times. If I’m trying to think of journal pages in the summer, I’ll start by brainstorming what summer makes me think of. What comes to mind? Camping. S’mores. Swimming. Ocean. Water. Beaches. Lemonade. Popsicles. Sunshine.  Boom, you’ve got plenty of ideas now.

And what’s great about this is that you can think of ideas from those, too. Like oceans: you could do a page with a seashell, a whale, a starfish, fish, sharks, etc.  I actually used some of these this past summer when I couldn’t think of any, and ended up with eight new pages drafted by the end of the day.

The same thing works for holidays. Struggling to think of what to draw in October? Here are a few ideas from my own: a black cat, bats, the Peanuts gang from It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, a witch, Jack Skellington, a jack-o-lantern, a trick-or-treat bag, a ghost, a raven.

Admittedly, certain months get harder (January and mid-March to late April are generally my most difficult times) but get creative! The possibilities are endless.



Pinterest is an excellent place to get inspired.  I usually peruse the art and photography sections if I’m feeling stuck and end up finding a ton of new ideas for pages.

Most recently, I got inspired by all the adult coloring pages I was finding. I thought they were so cool and abstract, so I wanted to give it a shot.  I drew all the designs in pencil first and made heavy use of guide lines, especially for circles.

Here’s one of my favorites next to its inspiration picture.
Untitled design
Before I drew the feathers, I drew a circle around the body of the peacock to know how far out they needed to go, then erased it once the pen had dried.

Not feeling brave enough for something like this? How about some circles with abstract designs?
abstract circles
Just draw guides for yourself using differently-sized circular objects around the house, like cups, medicine bottles, lipstick, etc. You could also do the same trick with boxes.
Point is, Pinterest is great for purposes of finding new inspiration.


It’s Sunday night. The next week’s journal page is blank. Yikes! What do you do?

Here’s an easy one.  Find a magazine or a catalog.  Find a picture that speaks to you on some level, even if all it says is “that’ll do for now”. Cut it out, glue it into your journal, draw your boxes. Done.  You can also use magazines to cut out letters, words, or phrases, or just use them as inspiration pictures to copy.

Better Homes and Gardens-type magazines are also excellent if you want to figure out a color scheme for a page. They usually show a lot of different color combinations intended for designing rooms, but you can also choose two colors to do different color washes and patterns that way.  One of my favorites I’ve found through this method is red and aqua. It’s so visually appealing and cheery to me!

Your house

Trust me, your house is full of inspiration you just haven’t considered yet.

You can pull an Andy Warhol and paint a can of soup, for instance.  I’ve also drawn many a journal page based on A’s onesies I have a fondness for or his favorite toys, like his xylophone or rubber duck.
xylophone journal page

Old journal pages

I know, I know. The point of this post is to help you find new ideas.  The thing is, old pages are a great place to think of new ones.

Are there any you can rework in a different way? For example, I do a page for Shark Week every year, but it’s always different.  If you do a Google image search for “sharks”, you’re going to find a ton of different pictures of sharks: breaching sharks, sharks underwater, a shark fin from above water, a school of hammerheads photographed from underneath (my inspiration for one of my Shark Week pages).

Point is, even if you think you’ve been there and done that, there are so many ways to make an “old” subject new again.

What are some sources of inspiration you’ve found for your journal?

Great ideas! I love my art journal but I sometimes really struggle to find ideas! This is a great list for when I'm in a rut..


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