Art Journaling for Boys and Girls

Art journaling for boys and girls

Art journaling is a wonderfully free form of self-expression.

The very definition of “journal” –  a daily record of personal experiences – seems to bring with it the permission to create whatever you feel like creating at that moment in time – not the perfect piece of art designed to please others for all time.

Art journaling is also a fun way to build kids’ confidence in using mixed-media. It might even inspire writing!

When I art journal alongside my kids, my role is to offer exposure to new ideas, techniques and sources of inspiration.

We might look at books, artwork and websites together and chat about them as we work. But their work is their own. I respect my children’s process, and I would never say anything about their artwork that I wouldn’t say to a friend.   {All pages here are shared with their permission.}

How we started art journaling

We began art journaling by following the simple process described at Notes on Paper. Since then, C(9) has created many pages in a similar way.

art journaling for boys
Pages from C(9)’s art journal

J(8) had never art journaled before this week. When he said he’d like to try it, I was intrigued to observe his process. I just knew it would be different from mine and C(9)’s. {It certainly was – see Art Journaling for Boys below.}

art journaling for boys and girls


* Notebook – any size, any kind. Ours are A4 (letter size) and cost under £3. Or use loose paper and collect in a binder

* Paint, paintbrushes

* Coloured pens eg gel pens, sharpies

* Scissors & glue

* Scraps of coloured paper

* Old magazines or pamphlets

* Stickers

* Optional – gesso, corrector ribbon, date stamper, old books to tear pages from

Art journaling for girls (C(9)’s page)

art journaling for boys
rip a page out of an old book and stick it down with electrical tape. Decorate with gold paper and silver paint
art journaling for boys and girls
add pretty stickers
art journaling for boys and girls
and words cut out of magazines
Art journaling for boys and girls
finish with a few gel pen doodles and thoughts. Stamp on the date
Art journaling for boys and girls
C(9)’s finished art journal page

Art journaling for boys (J(8)’s page)

C(9) and I spent a happy hour or so chatting over our pages as we worked. J(8), meanwhile,  enjoyed himself thoroughly and was done within ten minutes.

Have you ever noticed how scissors and gel pens are completely different tools in a boy’s hands?

art journalling for boys and girls
first draw a nice picture of yourself and your sister (arrow through your sister’s neck optional)
Art journaling for boys and girls
then cover it over completely with random cuttings while maintaining a cheerful running commentary about “severing their heads” as you snip through magazine photos
Art journaling for boys and girls
embellish with some delicate gel pen strokes
art journaling for boys and girls
add a splash of gold paint. Speed up the drying process with the help of a gadget
art journaling for boys and girls
finally, grab a sharpie and add your thought for the day
art journaling for boys and girls
J(8)’s finished art journal page

Art journaling for mammas

Of course I had to have a go too. Here’s how I made my page:

art journaling for boys and girls
in the absence of a thick paintbrush, apply gesso with an old toothbrush
art journaling for boys and girls
add swirls of blue acrylic paint and scraps of coloured paper (in this case photocopied liquid watercolour art)
art journaling for boys and girls
decorate with words, stickers and doodles. Write a few thoughts on strips of corrector ribbon
art journaling for boys and girls
my finished art journal page

Have you ever tried art journaling with your children?

art journaling for boys and girls

I love how each of the  Homeschool Help ladies has interpreted this week’s “journaling” subject differently:

Julie at Highhill Homeschool – Journals: Inspiring Children to Write

Savannah at Hammock Tracks – Homeschool Mother’s Journal – My Other Brain

Nicole at One Magnificent Obsession – Road Trip Journalling!

Bernadette at Barefoot Hippie Girl – To Journal or Not to Journal

Chareen at Every Bed of Roses – Journals in Homeschool

art journaling for boys and girls

I’m appreciatively linking up here:

Hip Homeschool Hop – 9/10/13

Educational and Entertaining – Highhill Homeschool

Collage Friday – Homegrown Learners

Weekly Wrap-Up – Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

TGIF #94 – 123 Homeschool 4 Me

Friendship Friday – Living and Learning with Our New Normal

Share It Saturday – Teach Beside Me

Homeschool Mother’s Journal – So You Call Yourself a Homeschooler?

Virtual Refridgerator – Angels of Heart

All About the Boy – Let’s Hear it for the Boy

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45 thoughts on “Art Journaling for Boys and Girls

  1. We’ve tried similar but my kids actually struggle with it. Miss 11 likes to draw a “proper picture” and is far too rigid for it. She has to measure and line up, etc. Always ends up gorgeous but very structured and in the meantime we’ve all had a break down and Miss 9 simply rushes just to finish so she can get on with something else … lol

    I LOVE the arrow through the neck! I have little brothers and it made me laugh so, as they would have done similar. Adorable!

    1. Hi Lisa 🙂 Isn’t it funny how children are all different? Art journaling suits my kids’ free-flowing style perfectly. Whereas if I suggested they draw a “proper picture” they would struggle!

      Aren’t boys just hilarious? I hadn’t noticed the arrow til I came to put the photo up here, and I wasn’t sure whether to point it out but in the end I couldn’t resist! I have a little brother too, and watching J(8) really brought back memories of doing art alongside him. (Mostly he’d draw a fantastic scene then cover it all over with black paint as he told a wonderful story about some form of war of other destruction. You know the kind of thing!)

  2. I so enjoy your posts. You stretch me because we are so opposite in our styles. I admire your approach to teaching and mothering and this whole art journal idea has been something I have observed with wonder from afar. I want to do it, but it is so out of my zone I haven’t jumped in and tried it…yet. I am getting close, though. Thanks for sharing and that little boy of yours is precious!

    1. You are so sweet, Savannah – thank you for your kind words!
      It has taken me a while to get comfortable with the kind of homeschooling parent I am, and to stop comparing myself unfavourably with more naturally organised mums. In fact it’s an ongoing process!
      I love, though, that we can all share ideas and inspiration in this wonderful online world, and incorporate the best of what works for us.

  3. You’ve inspired me beyond words! Thank you so very much for all the ideas and sharing step by step how you achieve your journals together. Especially thank you for sharing the difference between boys and girls journaling it gave me some much needed perspective.

    ♥♥ it so much.

    1. Thank you Chareen! I really enjoyed this topic. I have set myself an intention this year to try and involve J(8) more in our art by making it boy-friendly, so this was a good start!

    1. Thanks Nicole! I’d never heard of it until earlier this year either. I love coming across creative activities we can all do together. Have fun when you try it 🙂

  4. I love how you’ve organised this post into the different ways that boys, girls and mums do it. It highlights the freedom that art journaling provides to all. We tried art journaling a few times last year but didn’t stick to it. We’ll try to pick it up again this year. Thanks for the inspiration!

    J(8) is totally hilarious. His art making process is so… like a boy’s! 🙂 He is happy at the end of it, and was thoroughly engaged during the process of making the journal page, that’s what matters.

    1. I wonder how different homeschools run by men would be, Hwee? 😉

      I love that art journaling is one of those things you can do as often or as infrequently as takes your fancy. As I find myself thinking often – “So many wonderful things to do, so little time …” 🙂

      1. I know that if my husband were to run my homeschool, Tiger would have a totally different experience. For one thing, he would probably drop history, Latin, Chinese, literature, drama, and art in an instant. They’d probably just focus on “boys’ stuff” like maths, computing, sports, and electronic music. It’s nice to have a wide exposure in childhood before narrowing down to specifics. 🙂

        1. How funny – history and French would almost certainly fall by the wayside if J(8) didn’t have a sister! It’s a testament to your relationship with Tiger that you are able to teach him so well across such a breadth of subjects.

          I know if it was just me and J(8) I’d struggle to get him away the computer ever! Over the summer he came out with some Latin (in front of my husband I was pleased to note ;-)). Once I’d picked myself up off my chair I casually asked him where he’d learned it. He admitted to having listened in (from the computer) while I do Latin with C(9) 😀
          When I studied NLP I heard it said that we learn best in our periphery. (I’ve often spoken that phrase but never written it. Really not sure of correct grammar!) Anyway, I certainly see proof of that around here!

  5. I love to see how the process is progressing. I always wonder about my son’s artwork. It’s so different from the girls, but looks a lot more like your son’s, so maybe he’s not so different.

  6. I love all your pages, especially your daughter’s. She obviously enjoys doing them a huge amount and her resulting collages are beautifully artistic!

  7. Gorgeous Lula B YOU’VE DONE IT AGAIN – kept me homeschooling! Lol!
    Had a bad few days and those school gates had practically turned themselves into the pearly gates…
    Anyhooo this morning we had a FAB time playing with corn flour, water, food coloring… Then bicarbonate vinegar & more food coloring… Then more water and food coloring, oil and fizzing stuff…
    I thought of you! You would’ve been proud of me -lol- right up to the point it was time to move on and I had to yell to get anyone to help me clean up the ensuing mess 😉 ah the joys….

    1. oh you DO cheer up the grey rainy days, Claire! I can JUST imagine the fun (and then the cleaning up…)! I have to do anything like that first thing in the morning and then take a few hours off to recover! 😀 Totally worth it though!

  8. Great tutorial for art journal. We’ve done art journaling off and on but the way you show it makes it really easy to do. Maybe we will give it another try.

  9. Absolutely love this post. I love the differences in the girls and boy journals. I am thinking we are starting this in October when we return full time. How often do you have them journal?

    1. Thanks Melissa! C(9) usually journals about once a fortnight. This was J(8)’s first time so we shall see! I try and work alongside them. It often feels like there are other things to do, but I know once I get going I really enjoy the process of creating together.

  10. Goodness! I laughed so hard when I saw the picture with the arrow. I could imagine my DS8 doing that with a drawing of his sister. Art journaling is actually a hobby that I’ve been thinking about for me, so I loved seeing the pages that you and your children made.

    1. Thank you Rebecca! It’s so funny that I never even spotted the arrow until I posted the photo, and so many people have commented that it’s like their own boys’ art! 😀 I really enjoy art journaling, I hope you do too.

  11. I love this art form! I think the arts are so important but Jeremiah is a techie through and through. However he may enjoy this activity. We shall have to try! I also love how respectful you are toward your children. I’m a firm believer that if parents want respect from their kids that they must respect them also. J8 seems to be so much like my Jeremiah it’s hysterical! Thanks for sharing at FF.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Sylvia. I shall be following your posts – I might learn something to help me understand J(8) better! 😀 Thank you for hosting Friendship Friday, it’s a lovely link up.

  12. I LOVE THIS!! You know that I am teaching an Art Journaling class and I have gotten ideas just from reading this. I love your daughter’s pages. And how interesting that you put both Boy/Girl results. I want to do so much with my class. I am so excited to see how this progresses. I am off to look at Notes on Paper. I am laughing at the ‘arrow through the neck” Can’t wait to see more posts on this. 🙂 Happy weekend!

    1. I think it’s so cool that you are teaching the Art Journal class. That’s one that I can actually imagine myself doing – it would be so much fun seeing the creativity of a group!

  13. Love it! My daughter was been keeping a journal of inspirational saying, decorating the letters, creating borders, etc. It’s given her an outlet during our difficult months of adjusting since my separation and divorce. Journaling is as unique as the individual!

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