Art Journaling Ideas For List-Making

There’s something about having a list that makes us feel more organized, isn’t there? I keep several lists running at the same time–some are on scraps of paper and some are in my favorite notebook, depending on their shelf life. For instance, to keep a little sanity among me and my two boys, I list on a scrap of paper whose turn it is to put away the dishes and cook dinner. Two fewer things for them to argue about! 😉

And then there are lists for me–fun lists that recently went from being just in my mind to finding their way into my art journaling. Lately I heard of using a bullet journal to keep track of everything, and I mean everything. When I mentioned this list style to a friend, she suggested I refer back to Nichole Rae’s Art Journal Art Journey. We realized that the book goes hand in hand with list-making.

Art journaling ideas | Nichole Rae,
Art journaling spread by Nichole Rae (PIN this!)

For my art journal page, I first made a list of lists. Yes, I know that sounds less than fun and creative, but trust me, it helps to do this just to get an idea of what the journal pages will be about. Yours will be different from mine, but a few lists that I included were: Art journaling ideas | Cherie Haas,

• Things I’ve Made
• Things I Want to Make
• Things I Want to Learn
• Places We’ve Been
• Places I Want to Go

This where Art Journal Art Journey can come into play as well–it’s loaded with ideas for art journaling and creative list making, as well as artistic ways to use those lists. “Depending on the theme,” says Nichole, “prompts can work well to get you started on the journaling process. A theme provides a sense of direction for beginning your exploration of the art journaling process. Having a theme can be a helpful guide when you are starting something new. It can inspire the creative process, what supplies to look for and where to start. A theme is like having a plane ticket: You know where you are going once you have the ticket in hand.”

I guess you could say my theme is “wish list,” and my past experiences serve as motivation to keep me making, going, experiencing. Most of the lists above are currently only jotted down in my notebook. I chose the travel theme to be my maiden art journaling list page, and combined Places We’ve Been with Places I Want to Go.

I started with a blank page and mixed blue and white acrylic paint to give the background a light-colored wash. I randomly stamped it with an inkpad, and then placed two strips of washi tape across the top to serve as visual banners.

I used white paint to draw the main header, and a blue marker for the sub-header. I used a green metallic marker and a circle stencil pattern to add some details. I realized that because this was a travel page, a map was almost essential. I took my husband’s probably-outdated map book (shhh…don’t tell him) and ripped out a page. Don’t worry–he knows the area. I cut out a triangle for the upper left corner, then used a basic hole punch to make perfect little circles that are the check boxes for our travels. As we visit each place, I’ll fill them in with a blue marker.

Full disclosure: I made a few mistakes along the way! But I’m here to help and inspire you, so here is how I corrected them:

1. I used white paint for the letters. Even though it was white paint on blue washi tape, the letters got lost on the background pattern. To make them more readable and take center stage, I added a drop shadow by outlining one side of the letters with a .08 Sakura Pigma Micron pen.

2. See that weird, half-circle shape on the right side of the page, about halfway down? I had cut another map piece and glued it there, then realized I didn’t like it. First I covered it with another wash of paint; this time white mixed with water to make it thin enough to still see the map. But I still didn’t like it. I peeled the map off the page, wiped the page with a paper towel, and moved on.

3. I first used a marker to draw boxes for each travel destination. Surrounded by a sea of sky blue, swirls, and circles, the boxes looked dark and clumpy. That’s when I got out the hole punch and started popping out little circles. The size was perfect, and I can barely see where the boxes were.

You can bet that I’m going to come back to Art Journal Art Journey again and again for more mixed-media art ideas. If you don’t have a copy yet, click here to get it and many titles for 35% off during Interweave’s “Spring Fever” sale.

Do you already have a bullet journal, or do you practice list making in a creative way? Click here to tell me about it in the comments section of this blog post!

Stay creative,


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Art Journaling and Lettering, Blog, Mixed-Media Techniques

One thought on “Art Journaling Ideas For List-Making

  1. Hi, Cherie,

    At the same time as I read your article about journaling lists, I received this email from Nordic Needle about documenting your needlework. The two seemed to complement each other quite well — I’m thinking making this kind of documentation very personal and more enjoyable. And so — just in case you didn’t see it, here is the article from Nordic Needle:

    (If you enjoy stitching, it’s great to explore their guides, too.)

    Always enjoy your articles . . .



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