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  • Writer's pictureHelen Colebrook

Get Creative with What you Have

Helen Colebrook Journal With Purpose

In this blog post I am going to be focusing on getting creative with what you already have around you.

There are so many wonderful art supplies available, which I love, but it can also be really satisfying to use things that you already have around your home.

Most of my journals include a combination of art supplies, bought products and plenty of "found items". I really hope you enjoy this post and look for creative supplies and inspiration in new places.

Junk Journal Page

These pages are from inside my junk journal, which was made by binding together lots of spare papers, magazine pages, envelopes and all sorts of other loose papers together. The page on the left is a paper doily which makes such an interesting, creative and intricate page. I wrote around the outside of the doily and also glued down a sheet from a paper pad in the middle.

The image on the right is a free postcard that I picked up from a local orchard I visited. It's a great way of remembering the visit, plus it adds some beautiful decoration to my journal. It's always worth keeping an eye out for postcards, business cards, napkins and maps when you're out and about.

I actually have a journaling video all about using recylced items fom a couple of years ago. You can watch that here. Also, if you would like to make your own junk journal, I have a video for a simple book binding method here.

Creative Journal Pages

This is my daily journal that I use for documenting snippets from everyday life. Whilst I have used some bought decorations, the main focal images are photos that I took when out walking my dog. A short daily walk can provide so much free inspiration for our creative journal pages.

I printed my photos using a Brother photo printer, but you could definitely print them out on a home printer instead. If you don't have access to a printer, then you could try doing a quick sketch in a pocket notebook which would be a lot of fun too. I love the fungi in my second photo and definitely plan to sketch this and possibly try painting it at some point too. There is so much creative inspiration to be found from nature, buildings, signage, book covers, patterns on your clothes, etc. Perhaps try challenging yourself to create something inspired by something you see on your next walk, or from something in your home.

Creative Patterns

Another fun way to get creative is by using just a black pen and a notebook. On Patreon during August, I set the challenge of completing a series of different creative mark-making exercises. These will be such a fun library to look back on and bring into my other art journal pages. Again, you can look for patterns in nature, fabric, packaging and lots of other places. Tree bark, fungi, rocks, leaves and flowers all have wonderful patterns/markings you can use as inspiration.

Our challenge on Patreon next month is sketching five minute faces. I find portraits really tricky, but I'm hoping I will improve with some quickly daily practise. I will definitely share some of my sketches in a future blog post.

Art Journal Pages

My Patreon video this week is a tutorial for using magazine images in your art journal pages. I have lots of magazines on my book shelves that I keep specifically for this purpose. The hands in this page come from an advertisement for watches. I covered those up with flowers and was then able to use the images in a way that brought meaning to my journal pages. Advertising leaflets often have great images and text that can be used in creative projects.

Art Journal Pages

This is another art journal page that I recently created, also on the topic of connection. I used another printed image and then lots of paper scraps for most of the decoration. It's easy to get overwhelmed with lots of different supplies, so it can be really freeing to go back to basics sometimes.

Hobonichi Planner Pages

Whilst these pages fall slightly outside of the topic, I'm including them as I turn my "to-do" lists and plans into beautiful journal pages. I already have the things that need doing, so I might as well turn them into something I enjoy looking at with some simple decorations :)

These sticker images were cut from London Gifties PET tapes. (You can use the code HELEN for a free roll of washi popped in with all orders over £35 exc. shipping.)

Finally, I released a new journaling video on YouTube this week, using my new Patreon printables bundle. I'm really enjoying how fresh and vibrant these designs feel, especially as we are in the process of moving into a new season.

I do hope you enjoyed this blog post and that it gives you lots of inspiration for your own journals, Helen x

*Some of the links in this blog post may contain affiliate links. This means that I earn a small commission if you choose to make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

891 views2 comments


Julia Skinner
Julia Skinner
Aug 26, 2023

I love this post, Helen. So much inspiration from lots of simple things. Thank you!

Helen Colebrook
Helen Colebrook
Aug 27, 2023
Replying to

I'm so pleased you enjoyed it, thank you very much Julia. I love finding fun ways to use things in our journals :)

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