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Create an Art Journal

As the COVID-19 quarantine continues, consider helping your child create an art journal to express themselves. This fun and versatile art project is easy to create using different art media like collage, crayons, pastels, paint, or pencil. Here's a guide for getting started.

Art Journals

Children can use an art journal to express the different emotions they are feeling during these uncertain times. Sometimes, children who cannot find words to describe their emotions can express themselves through artwork. There are several ways you can help your children create their own art journal using the supplies you have on hand.

Journal Cover2

Getting Started

First, your child will need to create the journal. Younger children may need help with this step. If you have a sketchbook, use it as your journal. If not, you can easily create one using regular computer paper. 

  • Neatly stack several sheets of computer paper on top of each other.
  • Fold the paper in half along the seam as shown in the picture below.
  • After neatly folding the stack of papers in half, position them so they open horizontally, like a card or book. Paper Fold

Bind with Yarn

To take the journal a step further, bind it with some yarn. Use a hole-punch to create three holes near the seam (but not directly on the seam).

Tip: Have your child use a ruler to make sure the holes are in a straight line. It may help to plan the location of each hole using a pencil to create a dot before punching it out.

Then, cut three small pieces of yarn or string.

Tip: Make each piece of yarn the same length.

Insert one piece of yarn through the hole and tie it in a knot or bow. Repeat this step for the remaining two holes. See the example below.

Hole Punch and Yarn

Decorating the Cover

Direct your child to decorate the cover. If you're using a sketchbook, have your child create a collage over the existing cover. To do this, guide them through the following steps.

  • Scavenge around the house to locate old newspapers, gift wrap, magazines, etc. Anything with interesting colors, shapes, or patterns is perfect. 
  • Use scissors to cut the materials into interesting shapes. 
  • Cut out enough shapes to fill the entire cover.
  • Use glue or tape to attach the shapes to the cover.

Tip: After the collage has dried (or has been attached if using tape), add colorful accents using different art materials like paint, marker, or gel pens.

If you are creating a homemade journal, encourage your child to overlap colors and use more than one type of artistic media. Have them experiment with different art materials to decorate the front cover. 

Using the Art Journal

Have your child create artwork based on their current thoughts and feelings. They can create collages in their journal by cutting out pictures from magazines or printing online images and pasting them in the journal.

Encourage your child to try expressing their creativity in different ways. Here are several examples of creative self-expression.

  • Write poems in the journal and decorate the area around the poem. 
  • Cut out quotes and paste them in the journal. 
  • Draw what they are thinking or feeling.

Tip: Use more than one artistic medium per page. For example, combine markers and pencil or use a small amount of paint to add colorful accents on top of a black and white collage.

Remember, an art journal doesn’t need to be perfect. It simply needs to be a creative collection that your child finds special, meaningful, and expressive. It can help them hone their artistic eye and inspire them. Tell your child to focus more on the process of creating rather than the end result.

Danylle Roadman_bioDanyelle Roadman is an art teacher at Lincoln Learning Solutions and has been teaching art online for the past five years. She has also assisted in the development of Lincoln Learning Solutions’ art courses. In her spare time, Danyelle enjoys traveling, writing, reading, and creating her own artwork.

Topics: art, social emotional, distance learning

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