Art Journaling Supplies I Use All. The. Time.

I use my art journals almost every day. Every now and then I have to devote every last second to an upcoming project, but even when I feel like I don’t have time to work in my journal, I try to gift myself that time because it feels great and it helps keep me feeling grounded.

I also teach some courses that lean heavily on the practice of art journaling, one of which is Visually You, a series of classes that comes around once, maybe twice, a year, and I always recommend the same supplies.

The following list is a comprehensive collection of everything we use in Visually You.

So if you’re looking to get yourself set up with a “just-enough-but-not-too-much” level of supplies, this is a great starting place.

Supplies for Visually You:

  • A journal. This watercolor journal is my absolute favorite for the type of exercises I teach and the kind of watercolor work I paint. If you’re looking for something more economical, I’ve found these to be a good substitute, though the paper can warp a little if you’re using a lot of water.

  • Watercolors. For the purpose of this class, I suggest this set. The colors are vibrant and rich, and some even offer some lovely granulation. It’s a nice set for starting out and to have available for travel. If you already have a set of watercolors, there’s no need to buy something new. You’re welcome to use whatever you have.
  • A watercolor block. I like to have spare paper around to use for practice. It’s also nice to have a fresh surface available if I want to keep moving, but I’m waiting for a journal page to dry. Having a block of paper nearby gives me the option to work on more than one piece at a time. These are my current favorite watercolor blocks.

  • Brushes. I do a lot of my work, (and teach), using a 1″ flat brush. It’s my go-to. However, it’s nice to have a few different kinds of brushes to play with, and of course – when you work larger you need larger tools. But as a starting place for journaling, I’d suggest a 1″ flat brush, a round brush and a smaller flat brush as well. You’re welcome to use whatever brushes you already have on hand. If you need some, this set has a flat brush and a nice variety you’ll be able to play with over time, and it travels well too.

  • A water cup/container for rinsing brushes
  • Paper towels
  • Mixed media paper. I like this one, but really any brand of thicker mixed media paper will do.

  • “Dry” marking tools. Anything that doesn’t require additional liquid for activation. I mean pencils, pens, etc. I love my micron pens, my Koh-I-Noor graphite pencil (remember to buy leads if you don’t have them already!) my mechanical pencils, my charcoal pencil, and sometimes just regular old ball point pens. No need to get fussy, just have a variety available for yourself.

  • A ruler
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick. Nothing fancy here. We’re just working in a journal. I find this one works pretty well. And if I don’t want to use a glue stick, I will use this acrylic matte medium.

Fun to have (and I use them all the time!) but not required for class: