A guide to working with themed art journals

Hey Get Messians, Katie here! How many art journals do you have that you work in? Right now, on my desk I have 5 that all have a different theme: My general art journal, an art journal for the current Get Messy season, a collaborative zine, an altered book and a Christmas themed journal I just started.

They all have different purposes and that’s what I want to talk about today- Themed art journals!

Now I know a lot of us create a journal for each Get Messy season, so you’re probably already familiar with them a bit! That’s great, but what about creating more with different themes?


How? Well, that’s pretty easy. It’s just like keeping a normal art journal, only your work is inspired by a certain theme (How is that for a helpful tutorial from me? ha!).

Start by choosing a theme. This can be ANYTHING. A color. Space. Nature. Music. Coffee. Introvert/Extrovert.  Guinea Pigs. You can do whatever you want, and that’s the beauty of it.

Next choose a journal. Again, this can be anything. You can use a brand like Moleskine if that’s what you love, or personally, I love making my own journal. Vanessa has a wonderful tutorial for binding a journal with a pamphlet stitch here.

Lastly- Journal! It really is that simple. Once you’ve chosen a theme and a journal all you do is spend time with it creating, but keeping the theme going throughout the pages.


I think the easiest themes to do are colors. At the beginning of the year some of us in Get Messy started a group called “Color Chaos”, where we each created a journal with a different color theme that we collaborated on by mailing them around the world to each other.

The fun thing about a color themed journal is that your pages can be about whatever you need to journal about at the time, BUT they all match because they’re all based on one color scheme.

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You can have multiple themed journals going on at once, working in whichever journal you feel like it at the time. If you don’t feel like working in your “pink” journal at the time, then don’t. But you can have it for when you do feel like using pink in your artwork.




I recently started a Christmas themed journal to document what I love about the holiday season. It’s a one-page zine, so it’s not a huge journal, just right for the Christmas season in my opinion.

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Another thing I recommend is having a secret journal. I have an “introvert” journal, that I work in when I am feeling especially anxious/introverted. I don’t share the pages from that journal because they’re too personal for me, and I find it nice to have them in their own separate journal, rather than my general art journal that I might show someone.

My challenge to you if you haven’t done it before (or even if you have!): Create a themed journal! It can be a color theme, a holiday theme, or whatever you want. These are especially fun to collaborate on!

How many art journals do you currently have going? Do you have any themed journals?


Katie is an Artist located in Washington, USA. She loves anything and everything crafty- from scrapbooking and art journaling, to drawing, to quilting. Katie is constantly inspired by nature, outer space, and colors.


  1. Sasha Zinevych

    Yay for guinea pigs! ;))) I love the idea of color themed journals! Thank you for the inspiring post, Katie!

  2. Rebecca

    Thank you Katie for an inspiring post! I am definitely going to up my journal number….and a secret one sounds like a great idea!

  3. Stephanie manic

    So many ideas but no one just want to stay quiet in my mind… Oh yes! One for the “first women” in History!