50 Art Journal Prompts


If I’m in a funk, I can usually get out of it by playing in my art journal for an hour or two.

My art journal gives me freedom to express my creativity without bounds, because I know that I don’t have to share it with anyone. I know that whatever I produce, whether it’s good or bad, is for my eyes only.

If I’m working on a canvas and my inner critic starts mocking me, telling me that I’m not good enough, that no one will appreciate my art, I simply work in my art journal for a little while. My inner critic isn’t allowed near that journal.

Because I believe that every artist should have their own art journal to play in, to practice in, and to express their authentic selves, I’ve put together 50 art journal prompts for you to use when you just need to remove yourself from life and let go. You can print this list, put it in your art journal, and use these prompts whenever you want to spark your creativity.

1. Take a minute to connect with your feelings. Close your eyes and imagine what your feelings would look like, and then draw or paint them.

2. Grab your favorite novel and randomly open it to any page. Read the first paragraph on that page and illustrate it.

3. Remember in high school when you’d doodle on your notes? Just doodle until you fill an entire page.

4. Look outside and let the weather and your surroundings inspire your next art journal page.

5. Pick an object in your house. While looking only at the object, put your pen to paper and draw it without picking up your pen. Now add some color to your crazy drawing.

6. Find a beautiful picture in a magazine, cut it out, and make that the center of your art journal page.

7. Fill a blank page with shapes. Paint or color them in.

8. Imagine your inner critic as a monster. Draw or paint him.

9. Pick a quote and design an art journal page around it.

10. Write down five of your core beliefs. Pick one and illustrate it.

11. Journal about things that you love.

12. What’s your favorite fairy tale? Draw or paint your favorite scene.

13. Think about someone who inspires you. What characteristics of that person make her so inspirational? Use those characteristics to inspire your journal page.

14. Live in the moment. Journal about whatever’s on your mind.

15. Construct a journal page around the last time that you traveled.

16. Write down some of your life mantras such as, “Choose love. Follow your heart. Live in the moment.” Write them over and over again on your journal page, but use different lettering styles each time.

17. Take your art journal outside and document what you see. Write it, draw it, or paint it.

18. If you had one superpower what would it be? Journal about that.

19. Grab some junk mail and use it as the background of your art page. Paint or color over it.

20. Write down 10 things that you’re grateful for, and use them to inspire your next art journal page.

21. If you only had one more day to live, what would you do? Journal about it.

22. Pick a lyric from one of favorite songs and illustrate it.

23. Pretend it’s the New Year. Set a goal and journal about what would happen if you reached that goal.

24. Find a poem and let it inspire your next art journal page.

25. Pretend you’re a goddess. Draw her.

26. Think about something you’ve always wanted to do but you’ve been too afraid to do. Draw a mountain and write your fear on one side and then what your life would be like if you could overcome that fear on the other side.

27. Illustrate your favorite moment from the past week.

28. Write a compliment to yourself for something you accomplished recently. Center a journal page around that compliment.

29. Write yourself a permission slip to stop doing things that you think you’re supposed to do, but you don’t want to do. For example, “You have permission to stop reading a book that you’re not enjoying. You have permission to buy cookies instead of baking them for the next bake sale.”

30. Journal about your unhealthy habits.

31. Draw yourself in a beautiful ball gown.

32. Journal about things that you think are lovely.

33. Think about something in your everyday life that you take for granted, and devote your next art journal page to it.

34. Draw a map from wherever you are to where you want to be.

35. Paint or illustrate how you feel when you’re at your favorite place.

36. Draw a large heart in the middle of a page and fill it with things that make your heart smile.

37. Think back to your favorite childhood memory and use that to inspire your next art journal page.

38. Journal about heartbreak.

39. Journal about peace.

40. Fill your art journal page with all the things your inner critic says such as, “You’re not good enough. You’ll never be anybody special.” Then paint over the words until they’re not visible.

41. Use Mod Podge to adhere book pages to a journal page. Use that as your background and paint or draw on top of them.

42. Pick three colors. Draw an animal using a pen, and then use only those three colors to fill it in.

43. Journal about magic.

44. Think about the last movie that you watched. What did it leave you feeling? Illustrate it.

45. If you could have lunch with anyone, who would it be? Journal about that person.

46. If you could tell your younger self one thing, what would it be? Journal about it.

47. Draw a staircase, and think about your biggest dream. Draw it at the top of the staircase and then fill each step with the “steps” you’d have to take to make your biggest dream a reality.

48. Journal about hope.

49. Think about a child in your life. It could be your own child, a neighbor’s child, your sister’s child, or any other child who see regularly. What do you want for that child? Journal about it.

50. Journal about things that make you laugh out loud.


57 Responses to 50 Art Journal Prompts

  1. Lexi July 24, 2011 at 6:43 pm #

    That’s awesome. I just made myself an art journal and I needed inspiration. Thank you so much!

  2. alison September 1, 2011 at 3:06 pm #

    thank you soo much ! i can’t wait to get started on my art journal now. most of the ideas are so creative and provide inspiration.
    alison recently posted..Announcement: Last Chance!

  3. "Narah" Kimberly Minardi September 24, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

    These are great!!! Thank you!! 🙂

    • mysterygirl November 26, 2011 at 1:25 pm #

      i agree:)

    • Hailey May 20, 2016 at 8:11 pm #

      Like it

  4. Annefleur October 30, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

    Thank you so much! I always thought it would be fun to have an art journal, but i never knew what to journal about.

  5. Ash November 10, 2011 at 10:24 pm #

    love these, exactly the inspiration i needed to get past the first blank page!

  6. mysterygirl November 26, 2011 at 1:24 pm #

    luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuv it you go girl!

  7. Renata November 30, 2011 at 2:42 pm #

    I so want to start my art journal and thought it has to be something I do or think today, more specifically dated. However I love the freedom to just paint colors today, and tomorrow maybe do some crazy drawing. These ideas are more of what I think is fun!

  8. Sam December 20, 2011 at 1:20 am #

    You are a lifesaver.I haven’t had time to play in my art journal in forever, and I thought that Iw ould forever be stuck in a rut, but I printed out this article, cut the ideas up in to different strips, and whichever one I pulled out, I’d just go for it. (Ended up starting off with the goddess idea). Total life saver. THANK YOU

  9. Isha December 24, 2011 at 5:14 am #

    wow! these ideas r reli good they’ll keep me going for ages thank you so much.. i was stuck on what to do and then i read the goddess one and i think its my best page so far even if i say so my self 😀

  10. Dawn January 4, 2012 at 4:23 pm #

    Thanks-a-million! I have searched and searched for creative prompts and this is the best so far!

  11. Carol January 15, 2012 at 6:25 pm #

    Great list of inspirational things to start art journaling. Thanks for coming up with it and sharing. I bet your art journals are fabulous!

  12. Marie-Noelle February 18, 2012 at 9:43 am #

    Thanks so much for sharing – great ideas which will keep me insopired for ages :0))

  13. izzy February 22, 2012 at 11:08 pm #

    this is the coolest. i have wanted to start a journal for a long time. I never ever think of anything good ugg thank you so much.

  14. The Sparkly Fairy (Emma) May 10, 2012 at 10:52 am #

    Thank you for the ideas!

  15. Amy in TX May 28, 2012 at 10:40 am #

    Thanks for this great list! My two daughters (7&9) will be using these prompts to create their own art journals this summer.

  16. To Write a Life (Espe) June 26, 2012 at 4:30 pm #

    Thank you for posting this! I had started a journal grade twelve in highschool and my teacher told me to not let go of writing as I move on with my life. I figured I needed some inspiration and this did it! Thanks again!

  17. Ursula@Cutelicious October 7, 2012 at 2:15 pm #

    Thanks for the prompts!!! I am starting a 30day art journaling challenge – so these will come in handy! 🙂


    Ursula@Cutelicious recently posted..Ein Post OHNE Knöpfe und OHNE Stoff *lach*

  18. Ursula November 11, 2012 at 11:32 am #

    I wanted to thank you again for those prompts. It took me quite some time to finally just start with art journaling – new books with blank pages are just way to intimidating! 😉 – but I finally did and I started with prompt 36. And WOW! Not only was it so much fun … but you know what, I had the oddest revelation while playing around with my page! It really got me thinking about what does make my heart sing and after the first couple answers that were quite straight forward it was kinda hard … I so love the words that you used. For some reason the prompt would have been totally different if you would have written “fill it with things that you love” … I LOVE the internet! But when I wanted to put it in the heart I realized – no, it does not make my heart sing. I love it, I need it, I definitely could not live without it – and I do spending time on the computer. But it does not make my heart sing.

    To me that was such a big “aha”moment. So – big thanks to you! 🙂


    Ursula recently posted..Abschied von Cutelicious

  19. Naila Moon November 15, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

    Awesome 50 things. I was needing some inspiration. Thanks!

  20. Patricia January 16, 2013 at 8:14 am #

    These are really good suggestions! I added several to my drawing prompt jar. I’m creating a jar filled with several ideas thrown into it for days when I can think of nothing to draw. My favorites are 8, 26, and 47. Thanks for the great ideas!
    Patricia recently posted..Day 366 Project Complete

    • Thomas Marino February 18, 2013 at 1:38 am #

      Thank you for the prompts I will start using them tomorrow.

  21. Maddie June 5, 2013 at 8:08 pm #

    Wow I never thought you could do so much with just a simple note book and your imagination . I am definately gonna use these ideas in my journal

  22. Maddie June 6, 2013 at 8:25 pm #

    I was stuck in a funk cause I had nothing to put in my journal but you helped me out soooooo mush . Thnx ^~^

  23. My Homepage August 20, 2013 at 10:18 pm #

    Beautiful emo girls

  24. Damita Miller-Shanklin October 15, 2013 at 11:40 am #

    These are great ideas. I needed the help because some days I don’t know how to start my page. Have a great day and thanks for sharing.

  25. Liz February 22, 2016 at 11:39 am #

    I have been giving these prompts to my students for their journals. The results are exciting! 😀

  26. black and decker weed eater March 13, 2016 at 11:19 pm #

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about art journal. Regards
    black and decker weed eater recently posted..black and decker weed eater

  27. Anna Hill October 19, 2016 at 2:57 pm #

    theses are awesome i am an art student and we do art journals all the time i help the teacher pick them out omg theses all seem fun i might to them all in my free time


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