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One of the things people ask all the time is how do I find time to art journal?

If you ever feel like you can’t even find a moment to breathe or are so exhausted each day you don’t have any creativity left in you…I want you to know this perfectly okay and normal.

Let’s face it: Life is crazy sometimes {more like every second of the day here!} Between work and kids and family and friends and who knows what else is going to happen – there are so many things that come up that finding time to art journal just doesn’t always happen very easily.

If this sounds familiar, today I am going to share some tips on how I balance my time to art journal.

My art journals aren’t always lovely or perfect by any means – but that time I take every day – whether it’s 5 minutes or 25 – make a HUGE difference in how I feel. It’s worth it.

Here’s How to Find Time to Art Journal:

Tip #1: Step away from the internet.

This was a huge time killer for me. I love my FB groups, I love my online friends, I love researching and reading and writing online…but it was taking away the important time I needed for myself to be creative “in real life”.

Tip #2: Use Techniques to Speed Things Up

  • A heat gun for drying your pages will change your art journal practice forever.
  • Glue sticks dry faster than gel medium.
  • Never use ModPodge in an art journal – it will be tacky {aka sticky} forever and ever and ever unless you seal with something.
  • Use watercolors – they dry faster than acrylic paints
  • Use tools that don’t need much clean up – Micron pens & some colored pencils are perfect for this
  • Print out coloring sheets or use pages from adult coloring book mandalas in your pages.
  • Make a stash of collage materials to glue in
  • Organize your art supplies {yeah, that’s going to be another post someday – if I ever figure out a secret for that, lol…my desk is a HUGE MESS right now…}
  • Be minimal – no shame in no paint and nothing more than a ball point pen 🙂

Tip #3: Make Backgrounds in Bulk

You can paint several loose sheets of paper to be attached into the journal to use as a background at a later time – no worries about trying to complete an entire page in one go. This way, when you go to your journal, you already have a base to start creating on!

You can also use materials like a Gel Press reusable printing plate or Gelli Plate to make some stunning print paper designs to use for page backgrounds and collage materials!

So break out the paint or the gelli plate when you have some extra time and get prepared for an entire week or month of art journaling!

Tip #4: Use Prompts if Needed

If you don’t know what to create, and find yourself full of uncertainty and feeling unproductive, use prompts. I have a zillion {well, maybe only 800, but still…} – See my page of Art Journal Prompts for inspiration. Randomly select one and go with it – you can always use a different one another day 🙂

Tip #5: Get Family/Friends involved

My daughters force me to art journal at least 2-3 times a week with them whether I have the energy to be creative or not. {I guess a love for journals may be hereditary?}

It’s a great way to get me away from the daily stuff and get to my journaling practice…I’m always glad I did and it’s a great way to spend time with the kids rather than them staring at TV or computers all day long.

You can also look to see if you have any local creative groups near you – check Facebook for your city and town, or look on sites like for different art groups you can join.

Tip #6: Think in Stages

collage art journal blocking technique

No one ever said an art journal page needs to be completed all at one time.

You can set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes each day and just work on that one page a little at a time every day until you’re satisfied with it – by the end of the week you’ll have a full page!

This is one of the reasons I love the Block by Block method for creating journal pages. Working in sections at a time makes it possible to be creative even when you only have a few minutes or are on-the-go.

Tip #7: Identify if there’s an underlying reason you aren’t creating

There are moments when the truth is I don’t feel like getting out of bed, let alone cleaning up paint and drawing and writing.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone if you might be overwhelmed or feeling a lot of anxiety/stress/depression. Your emotional and mental health is important and shouldn’t be ignored!

Have any Time Saving Art Journal Tips to Share?

I hope these tips will help you find more time to express your creativity – and you know I would LOVE to hear any ideas or tips you have for making more time for art journaling or if there’s a specific part you struggle with – maybe we can figure out some ideas 🙂

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  1. Zentangle. Drop a journal and a pen in your purse. Those waiting times in the doctor’s office, or when you’re sitting in the car waiting for school to get out, pick it up and spend a few minutes drawing tangles.

    1. Yes! This is exactly how I got started, only with a tiny Moleskine watercolor journal and travel watercolor kit. Now I use a “portable” with loose leaves that I bind into covers later. That way I never end up with a long wait and no pages left!

      Also, if you can get into speed sketching or painting in those even briefer moments, great fodder for more formal work at home.

  2. We moved recently and I still don’t have a place set up to do any kind of art. I’m sad about it, but I’m afraid I am getting to the point where I have lost interest because I have been out of the game for so long. Not sure what to do to get my art MOJO back.

    1. Oh no! Don’t let it slide! Could you commandeer a box for your supplies for now, and maybe a lap desk as your workspace? Or do you just need “permission” to make that art space a priority? I give you permission to prioritize it higher than anything like hanging up clothes or organizing dishes. 😀

    2. I am preparing for a move myself. I have boxed up all of my supplies in clear tubs, so I can see what I have. I have a small kit, with all the essentials in small containers, prepared for when the moving truck has all my stash. I will work from my small kit until I get moved and set up. It’s never too late to get the boxes out and pick some of your favorite supplies to use until you can fully set up again. As far as getting your MOJO back, you just need to get started again…it will come back (like riding a bike). Good Luck…and congrats on your move!

    3. Hi ckhosick,
      I am responding to your post because I know how you feel right now. I have moved all my married life (47) years. In the U.S. and five countries overseas.
      My suggestion for you is, if you don’t have them with you, go buy a set of colored pencils and also set of water color pens, art journal.
      (Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Tues. morning).
      Clear off your kitchen table completely. Make yourself a little “art station” nearby. Commit to at least half an hour at first, maybe look at magazines for inspiration, pick one subject and begin comment and draw it. Have your favorite drink handy and music if you like.
      Start small, think big.
      Sending you good thoughts.

  3. One little tip I am now using is : Organise your supplies!Nothing more irritating then to search for that stamp or stencil you want to use but you cant find it.So I put my supplies in those transparant boxes,so I can instantly see whats in it.Time saver!

    It also means you can put everything quickly away and you know where you put it next time you need it!

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