Art Journaling, Chez That @#$ Tuxedo Cat Just Knocked Over My Water Cup.

This is a fairly new practice for me. I felt so intimidated when I started to journal again after 7 years. It was like, somehow I was afraid that I’d open up my journal and it would wind up like that scene in the Harry Potter movie with the monster book hiding under the bed, going RAAWR! Now might be a good time to confess that I actually feel conflicted and vaguely disappointed because nothing like that has happened so far. Maybe it has for you? If that is the case, please be a pal and tell me what kind of notebook you’re using. I want to buy one.

The point of this post was to show what I do in my own visual journal, and maybe spark some ideas for you if you are not already an experienced visual journaler. Like, if you’re one of my knitting or tea or Facebook pals, and your interest has been piqued.

no teeth on this book

I like to keep it simple. Also, see, no teeth. Rawr.


I have found that it’s easier to write on a page that isn’t clean. So, I’ll usually start by laying in a simple watercolor wash on an empty page… nothing fancy. I don’t plan it.


I’ll mark off sections and give each of those their own color… these work great for lists and small ideas or notes to myself… like, this page combines a to do list, a quote, some doodles, and…. well I haven’t finished filling it in yet, so I can’t tell you.

LOVE in an alley

Sometimes I just doodle. I’ll doodle zentangles (above), or maybe I’ll doodle a pretty picture in the margins and then quickly color over it. I generally sit down and do this to a bunch of pages ahead of where I’m at in the book. This is not great art. I do this while drinking coffee in the morning, or when I can drag myself away from Facebook to go sit for ten minutes at the art table.

Sherlock mandala

Later I’ll go in and embellish those a little further, throw in quotes, make it pretty. I like to do this when I am watching a DVD with the Captain. He likes it too. When I am distracted, I don’t get squirmy during tense moments and start loudly asking questions like, “Why is that man holding a gun?” and “What is happening??” or yelling insulting advice at the tiny people on the screen.

In relationships, we call this a win/win.

Once Upon A Time 2

These are the things I use the most.

1. Pitt markers by Faber Castell – water resistant goodness. Love them. LOVE THEM. Buy them by the bushel.
2. A pan of watercolor cakes – I like them for washes because the color just lays on the page so nicely. I have the transparent kind too and those are great for filling stuff in. Because I actually do write in my journal, I prefer watercolor to acrylic for most pages.
3. Inktense or other watercolor pencils.
4. A blank book and a drawing pencil. Maybe a ruler, if you’re making grids.


You do not need a lot of stuff. You do not need to be Picasso or Van Gogh. I mean, yes, Picasso, that would be nice. I would also like a winning lottery ticket, but in life we have to make do with what we’ve got and who we are.

Which brings me to the main point. Make your journal YOURS. I have a ton of books and websites bookmarked and every person’s journal looks totally different. Sometimes I look at these glorious creations and feel like I’m somehow doing mine “wrong” because I’m not doing it like that. There is no wrong way to do this. Don’t devalue your own work. It’s mean and you wouldn’t devalue someone else’s, right?

Seriously, do not make me stop this car and come back there. I will.

This week I am focusing my studio time around working on lettering, plus doing the work for my Misty Mawn and Michael de Meng classes. Because omg, epic SQUEEE! Happy birthday, Christmas and New Year all in two shiny, arty ecourses!

How about you? What areas are you playing with and what are you learning right now?

Need more inspiration? This page is absolutely stellar and just chock full of artful journaly goodness. Days full of stuff to look at here, really. I’ve had this page open on my desktop for three days and I’m not done checking it all out.

About Maia Rainwood

Owner and Maker at Maia Rainwood Design. Wearable art for wise women, birth keepers, witches, and world-builders.
This entry was posted in art journal, The Artist. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Art Journaling, Chez That @#$ Tuxedo Cat Just Knocked Over My Water Cup.

  1. Torrilin says:

    You might like the mandalas my favorite ink reviewer does. Ask google for Biffybeans :D.

    • Rainy says:

      “Spiritual Evolution Of The Bean”? Yes, I love that blog!

      I love mandalas. They’re probably the thing I doodle the most. I started making them a few years ago when I was doing henna and it’s become a sort of meditative practice. If I can’t think of something or feel blocked, I can start doodling mandalas and it always pushes me past the stuck place.

      • Torrilin says:

        Yep, her!

        It’s not a form of art I tend to do… for me calligraphy or realistic sketches are more pleasant. It’s really appealing tho, precisely because it isn’t what I’d naturally do.

  2. Anne says:

    Man-o-man. I am SO enjoying your blogging and all the fun stuff you are up to. Tons of creative, thought-provoking ideas each time you post! Lovely. 🙂

    • Rainy says:

      Hi Anne! Thanks for visiting, I’m really so glad you are enjoying it. I have been struggling to come up with some fiber content for my knitting friends, but I haven’t been doing much that’s interesting *LOL* Yay! I’m so happy you commented!

  3. Marilyn says:

    I started an art JOY journal last year, but haven’t been keeping up with it. I have a lot of notes tucked into it. Love watercolors, but need to check out the pens. Your journal is wonderful and I love the ideas you have shared.

    • Rainy says:

      Hi Marilyn! Well maybe you can start putting stuff into your book about how you BELIEVE this year! I think the trick is to start small, work ahead, and do it in small bursts. Also, it helps if your stuff is out where you can just grab it easily and use it. Making a small art journal kit with your pens, watercolors and pencils and a glue stick, and then keeping that in the same place as your book is a good idea. I like those fun tin lunchboxes for that, or a shoebox or something…

  4. Tammy says:

    Yay! Another artist who digs both mandalas and art journaling (among other things)! I would agree about having an AJ kit… I have an art journaling box with the stuff I need, so I can quickly pull out a journal and the box and do tons of fun stuff. So enjoying your site!

  5. regina says:

    Love this post. You’ve identified my problem with art journaling. I’m starting with blank pages!! I need to give them color to wear off the newness and scariness of a white blank page!!!

    I would LOVE a growling harry potter art pad. How fun would that be!!

    • Rainy says:

      Right? I am making one. I am SO making one. Maybe a whole bunch. I want a whole box full of growly little monster journals.

  6. Briana says:

    I like your blog! I came visiting from Misty’s class.
    I do visually journaling, too!
    Have a great week drawing!

  7. Angelia says:

    LOVE the ideas! I have NEVER thought of journaling in this form. I doodle all the time & have squiggly shapes that I draw and color (usually in checks) but I have never thought to include these in a journal! Thank you!!!

    • Rainy says:

      Angelia, it’s a great practice, I’m so glad you like the ideas. It’s really addictive, art journaling. 🙂

      I find that sometimes if I’m stuck for something to write about, doodling hte page will suddenly open the floodgates as it were.

      • Angelia says:

        That makes sense. Doodling is what I tend to do when there’s something in my mind that needs to be worked out, but in an un-focused kind of way (I’m not sure that just made sense, but there you have it).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s