As an expressive arts educator/facilitator, I’ve collected a wide assortment of art supplies and tools over the years – from paper, paints, and canvas, to musical instruments, found objects, colourful fabrics, beads, yarns, and more. Almost everything and anything can become part of an expressive art piece or installation!
Though I have a large variety of art materials to choose from, it’s taken a few years of playful exploration to discover the things I just can’t do without – a journal, lots of images, scissors and glue. My own creative practice includes making my own books, playing with paper, collage and art journaling.
Perhaps you’re drawn to paints, sketching, clay, sculpture, textiles, photography…there are so many creative outlets available! Many of these have their own unique supplies and ways in which to artistically express yourself. Approach them with curiosity and explore what feels right for you.
Journals come in many sizes and varieties, specific to what you’re using them for. I prefer 6x9, 7x10, no larger than 8x10 in size. Smaller than that is limiting, too big can feel like a lot of space to fill. Personally, I like to make and bind my own journals/books.
There are endless paper choices, each specific to what you're using them for. For art journaling, you'll want paper that will withstand whatever you put on it (water, paint, glue, etc) without falling apart. Look for 98 lb. Mixed Media paper.
Journal bindings range from spiral, glued, or sewn. Each have their pros and cons, again, depending on their purpose. Spiral journals are flexible; pages are often perforated and can be removed, but sometimes the spirals get in my way.
I love making my own books (in fact I'm
somewhat addicted ;). The binding can be simple or ornate, again, depending on what the book or journal will be used for. DIY Bonus - you form a relationship with your book/journal when you make it from start to finish - it truly becomes your creative companion!
Start collecting images and words to include in your journal and art. These can come from many sources – old books & magazines, music and dictionary pages, and so on. Particularly watch for those that you’re drawn to, as well as those that repulse you. You can organize and store your words & images in clear bags or an accordian file folder.
Add additional art supplies as your interest, curiosity and budget allows. Stencils, stamp pads, pan pastels, etc…the list goes on!
Play and experiment – see what you like and remember, there are no rules!
The art supplies I’ve listed are ones I use most often in my journals and art making. Unless indicated, I don’t favour one brand over another. There’s something available for every budget. Experiment to find what you prefer.
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