Creative Journaling

Creative journaling is not new, but it is something that is making a comeback. You can't scroll through Instagram without seeing some beautiful examples of creative journaling. But don't be intimidated, you do not have to be a Claude Monet to do creative journaling, all you need is an idea, a journal, and some fun pens and you're ready to go!

Creative Journals Image shows woman holding open journal with doodles and writing on the pages.
Creative Journaling
Photo by Prophsee Journals on Unsplash

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What is Creative Journaling?

Creative Journaling is simply using your journal for art as well as journaling. The art can be anything from Doodling to Hand Lettering practice. Whatever you find be creative! Now for me, Creative Journaling is different from Junk Journals, but I'll talk more about Junk Journals in another post. Now let's take a look at a few different things you can include in your Creative Journal.

Doodles vs. Art

I love doodling! Doodles don't require formal art training. Anyone can doodle, and probably everyone does it! Think about it, sitting at your desk on hold with paper in front of you and you start scribbling shapes, or pictures, that's doodling! Incorporating Doodles in your journal is a step above scribbles on scrap paper.

Art is more refined than doodling. To me, art is something that is displayed, and not just scribbled on a piece of paper. I know there are exceptions to this, but I'm speaking generally and not specifically. Art takes more talent than doodling. I have a good friend that has taken doodling to a whole new level. Her name is Kim and she is the brains and creativity behind Love Lettered Studios and the creator of Doddlestrations! Go check her out! Doodlestrations are amazing!


Being an artist at any level makes me envious. I love art, but I always feel like I can't draw a straight line with a ruler, let alone create some of the amazing art I see. But remember I said you don't have to be Claude Monet to keep a creative journal. Your skill as an artist will grow as you add more to your Creative Journal. Take time to cultivate those skills, and when you look back in your journal you will see your progress.

Other Creative Journaling Ideas

Another great use for a Creative Journal is hand lettering practice. I have tried my hand at faux calligraphy and just can't seem to get it. But hand lettering is not just faux calligraphy, there are so many other types of lettering to practice, and a journal is a great place to explore them!

Creative Journaling Supplies

Now, this is a rabbit hole I live in! HA! When I say your options are limitless I am not kidding. A quick Google search will give you hundreds of results. Seeing the search results can be overwhelming, but don't worry, I will help you with a few suggestions!


Picking a quality journal is important for a few reasons. If you are going to use markers in your journal you need to have a journal that is made with thicker paper. That will keep markers from bleeding through the pages. My top favorite journal to use for a creative journal is Scribbles That Matter. These journals are dotted 160 gsm paper. The standard journal paper is 70-80 gsm, the higher the number the thicker the paper, and the less bleed-through. I have used Sharpie markers in my Scribbles That Matter journal and have not had any bleed-through.

There are other options for journals, and it comes down to personal preference, but I have yet to find another bound journal that has thick enough paper to keep my journal neat and tidy

My favorite disc-bound notebook is The Happy Planner, Happy Notes! It's a great system that allows you to add or subtract pages as needed.

Pencils, Pens, and Markers


Using pencils in a journal is not a common practice, but you can use them if you choose. The drawback with pencil art is smudging and smearing on your pages. My personal preference is to stick with pens and markers and leave the pencils for sketchbooks.


Gel pens are my favorite for journals! They dry fast, don't smear, and have great colors! Amazon has many gel pens to choose from. My favorite for coloring is Smart Color gel pens. They don't skip when your color and they dry quickly and don't smear!

For writing, I prefer the Ink Joy Gel Pens by Papermate. I talk more about pens and markers in this post, so check it out!


I love Tombow markers! They are the best for journaling! Spend $75+ and get 20% off, no coupon needed” rel=”nofollow”>Arteza has good-quality markers as well. They are single-tipped markers that work well in creative journals.

After Tombow, my go-to markers for journaling are Paper Mate Flair pens! I have so many of them! I just can't resist the new sets or the new colors they come out with! For my journals, they are great because they don't bleed through and they don't smear. Whew, that seems like a lot of information! It is, but don't be overwhelmed by it. The point of this is to get started and to get creative. Once you are into the process you will develop your favorites too.

Leave me a comment and let me know what has inspired you to create a creative journal! I can't wait to hear from you!