Inside: 7 most common mistakes to avoid in your art journal page to make amazing pages always


You probably think I never make mistakes in my art journal but you're wrong. I make mistakes all the time! When I start working on an art journal page I usually have an idea in my head but it doesn't always come out the way I want it to. However I try not to panic and I usually manage to fix that mistake and end up with an art journal page I like.






Some artists will tell you there is no such thing as mistakes in an art journal and there is some truth in that. Art journaling is not a place of judgment or contest and whatever you create is your art work and it reflects who you are. If that's the case then no mistakes could happen because whatever is right for you is never a mistake. However we live in the real world and when we create an art journal page we want it to look the way we envisioned it in our head or saw it online. But it's important to separate the mistakes to avoid because they interfere with our creative process  and the mistakes that are simply technical and can easily be fixed (which I'll write a different post about).





The most common mistakes people make when they art journal is to over plan their page. Art journaling is not like other crafts when the planning element is important. In art journaling you're suppose to spill your guts and pour your soul on the page. Your page should say something and not just look pretty. The most important thing is to express yourself on the page without any judgment or barriers.

TIP: don't over think and over plan. Go with your feelings and try to make them come to life on the page. If you have something to say think what will be the best way to say it: with an image, a shape or maybe a color. Don't worry about how it looks... there are no grades here!



Check out this example for a page I created with no planning just doodling and a little painting




The other side of the coin is not to start an art journal page at all because you're not sure how to start or what to do. This is the biggest mistake of all! Not knowing how to start or what to do on your page is not a reason to not do a page at all.  Half of the time I have no idea what to do or say on my page I just know I want to create something.

TIP: the solution is to just start doing something! The best way to start is to do something you're comfortable with or love doing. Maybe you love stenciling, or stamping or maybe you're best at doodling it doesn't matter as long as you do something on the page. Make your first step and then roll with it, don't over think things and simply continue with the process.

EXTRA TIP: if you finished that first step and you still have no idea how to continue move on to the next page and do the same but change one thing. If you stencil use a different pattern or colors, if you doodled then doodle a new shape or if you paint use a different brush or technique. Usually by that point some idea will pop into your head but if not then you have created a few backgrounds in your art journal for when you will have an idea for a page.




If you look at art journal pages online to be inspired and get ideas that's a good thing but if you want to make an art journal page like a page you saw online that's a mistake. The pages online are usually the best and most beautiful pages an artist has made and often worked on for hours. These pages are for show. I'm not saying they're not authentic or genuine but trying to replicate them can be very discouraging. So discouraging that it might ruin your creative experience and you end up with no page at all.

TIP: look at online art journal pages only for inspiration and just to get an idea for the page's theme, a composition you like or a technique you want to try. Borrow some of the elements from a page you saw and don't try to replicate it.





This may be the worst mistake of all and the hardest to avoid. We compare ourselves to others all the time and in almost everything from weight and type of car to the size of our house and how well are kids are doing. But comparison in art journaling is the worst thing we can do to ourselves. We are individuals and therefore will never be like other artists. Art journaling is a private experience so it changes from person to person. The expectation to be like others is simply not realistic. Each art journal page we create comes from our creative mind and soul and can never be like someone else's art journal page.

TIP: stay true to who you are and don't compare yourself to others. It's a learning process but once you're aware of it it becomes easier.




Some artists do all their pages in the same style but I think it's wrong. Part of art journaling is to learn and grow and if you only stick to one style you'll never achieve that. Creating an art journal page is both an artistic and emotional process so sometimes a different style can best serve you and your process.

TIP: challenge yourself to try a new technique or style in the next art journal page you create so you'll expand your creative horizons.




You don't have to finish your page. I have many art journal pages I started and never finished. It's ok! It's a process without a deadline, so you can leave the page and come back to it in the future.

TIP: combining stress with art journaling is never a good thing so let yourself be free in the process and if you don't know how to finish a page or don't want to finish it... just don't.




This is another common thing people tell themselves: "I'm not talented enough to do art journaling..." What a mistake! Talent has no place in art journaling! If you're a crafter or an artist and you love it then you have the talent and you can create an art journal page. Believe in yourself! It's true... maybe your first pages will not be the most amazing pages in the world but it's ok because all art journal pages are pretty and they all mean something to the person who created them!

TIP: don't be so hard on yourself! Keep making art journal pages and you'll see they'll get better in time. By better I mean you'll love them more. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. Embrace your creativity and accept yourself and every art journal page you create will be a masterpiece!



After you know what not to do let's get started with what you should do!

One of the most common problems art journal makers face is the blank page and how to get started.

Here are two solutions to overcome this problem.

First, a FREE video tutorial showing you three different background techniques and ideas for any blank art journal page. Click the link to access the video or the image below.



Second, a 30 art journal page ideas collection!

Check out the 30 Art Journal Tutorials eBook where you'll get:

  • 30 different art journal page ideas
  • Links to video tutorials and detailed photo tutorial
  • written instructions
  • Tips to make beautiful pages in your art journal



Save it for later - PIN IT!



Have fun creating!











  • I am enjoying and loving this newest passion I have and discovered within myself. It is my passion and earnest desire for art, particularly art journaling. Stress relieving and very comforting!

  • I’m just starting my journey into mixed media. Im going to start with a free standing page rather than journaling.I’m finding it very difficult to find the information I need just to begin my project. Ex: how do I mount my paper on cardboard or other surface. Many articles will tell you to do it, but not HOW to do it. Can you suggest any articles that will give me the steps I need to take to begin? I loved this article by the way. Definitely things for me to keep in mind. Thank you.

  • I’ve only recently started art journaling/ sketch booking/ playing around with art supplies and I’ve made all the mistakes above !! (And still am sometimes)

    Such a great article Einat ! Perfect reminder that art journaling is not about the next exhibition but just expressing yourself in your own privacy without pressure..

  • Paula Roberts says:

    My biggest problem is comparison to other journals and art. I am now finding I more pleased with my art and it is getting better all the time. I’m not giving up!

    • Einat Kessler says:

      Good for you! Don’t compare yourself with others – each one of us is unique and using the terms better than or worse than is just not productive, supportive or useful!

  • I’m in big trouble. I make all these mistakes!! Lol. Its so hard to not do them.. And so easy to find yourself doing them. I will try to be more aware of these “mistakes” and hopefully will be more creative or happy in my art journal.. Thank you so much


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Einat Kessler


Hello crafty friends!
I'm Einat: creative professional,mixed media artist, scrapbook and paper designer, altering enthusiast and class instructor.
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