How to start art journaling > Lesson 2

It’s not about the tools, it’s about how you use them

This lesson has our favourite supplies list. Are you ready for them?


  • whatever you already own

Nothing is required. In fact, while you go through this lesson we encourage you to donate any supplies that you don’t actively love.

We totally understand wanting to buy all the supplies before starting. We understand wanting to make sure that conditions are perfect before you take that leap of faith.

But guess what? We kinda believe that you’ll never get anything perfect, and that it’s far easier, better, more fulfilling, and fun to embrace the mess.

So if you want to start art journaling today, then grab a journal you have lying
around, your kid’s cheap paints and make any kind of mark.

One of the most fun things about art journaling is trying out new supplies and discovering the way they feel and what marks they make. It’s easy to go crazy with new supplies, but there’s something to be said for slowly, thoughtfully making your way through the ones you have, one by one. Taking time to learn about and explore each new medium. Watching YouTube videos, searching google and Pinterest, asking your favourite artists about them. This helps you feel confident about being able to use what you own and gets rid of that craft supply hoarding guilt.

Here’s the thing. The only thing you really need to art journal is a pen and paper.
You can get fancy with paint and paper, and you can get even fancier with pretty much anything (including potatoes!) to make art.

See, supplies are as personal as perfume.

So below we will share our personal lists with you of our favorite supplies, but ours are different from one another + you + everyone else on the planet. So don’t get too caught up in the details and if you fear seeing our supplies will just make you want to go buy a bunch of stuff, skip the videos completely and head right down to the action steps to get started.

Like we said. The very best tools are the ones you have. If you have $10-20 to spend, buy a cheap watercolour palette that comes with a brush, two of your favourite colours of cheap acrylic (smear this around with an old card), glue (for collage), and the best journal you can with the rest of your money. Your journal should be the splurge; make it something that you want to spend time in. Put aside some time for complete play to see which mediums you like.

Make it your motto, goal, mantra, challenge to add to your collection slowly.

Caylee's favourite supplies

I’m a firm believer that our creativity is pushed with limits. This is another reason I love minimalism. When we have too many supplies, we’re overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. When we have only a few, we create more because we love using them. Our style emerges and we become prolific. Instead of an art journal page taking weeks to complete, we’re done in half an hour and we have the relief. There’s a time for those week-long pages, but there is a very special time for the quick ones too.

Here are some advantages of having less supplies:

  • you know the ones you do have intimately – you can really rock them cause you’ve spent time getting to know them, playing with them, learning their likes and dislikes
  • you don’t harbour guilt
  • you get to reach pan – that feeling when you finish your favourite supply? when you realise you created enough art for something to be finished? I promise it’s a better feeling than receiving new supplies
  • and, you know, less clutter.

I have nothing against new supplies. I’m just against buying buying buying and forgetting about tools that once made your heart speed up. Have you seen the movie Sausage Party? Don’t let your supplies become sausages.

Amy's favourite supplies


As you can see in this video, it is hard for me to be minimalist with my supplies. I love the fact that there can be that one perfect tool for what you want to add to your art journal. It is absolutely true that the tools do not make the artist BUT stepping out of your comfort one and adding a different tool or medium to your arsenal may lead you down an interesting path.

Action Steps


Put on some Marvin Gaye and get to know your supplies…


Gather what you have. Test them on a swatch card, one at a time.  Make a mark with each pen, pencil, and paint that you have. Use each and every paint or pen color you have.

Make pages and pages full of marks, scribbles, lines, etc until you have seen what each of your tools can do and feel a bit more comfortable with how they work.

Get used to how much pressure to use, how much water to add, what paints need thicker paper, etc. Test and play with no direction or expectation.


Now once you have settled on your favorite supplies, create a space or choose a basket to keep it all in so that it is easily accessible.

Then join us in the next lesson!

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So what is art journaling?

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The breakfast of art journaling