Art Journaling is the creative practice of adding an artistic or creative element to your journaling.
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Some people keep a journal and simply add artistic elements to their pages as they work through their emotions in the pages. Some people create themed journals – such as the journal in the Animal Guides course.
Art Journaling can be done in whatever type of journal you want. Of course, if you’re looking to add a lot of layers (of paint, or watercolor, etc) you’ll soon realize that thin paper is going to crumple and deteriorate under the weight of those supplies. Thicker paper will hold up to more artistic elements.
If you like to use pens and markers, they may very well bleed through thin paper.
The genre of Art Journaling is very diverse, and there is no “right way.” Your percentage of art to writing on a page is entirely up to you. Interestingly, there are some people who do not write anything at all in their art “journaling.” There journaling, they say, is entirely visual!  So there – permission granted to do it the way that feels good to you. All styles are valid.
Art Journaling is a magazine by Stampington Press (which I’m honored to have been published in) that showcases art journaling spreads. If you have access to it, you’ll notice a great variety in the styles within the pages as well.



 To “alter” is to change. A book, is something you read. When you practice “altering books” you are simply changing the look of a book that is already in existence. Some crafters will make their own book, binding papers on their own. However, that is not truly altering a book. That is art journaling, and you happened to make the journal yourself. If you do not like the idea of altering or touching a book that is already in existence, by all means, buy or create your own blank book!
 This was a blank Moleskin book that I created collages in. Technically, not an altered book!
A little vocabulary: Alter (with an “e”) means to change the look of.  An altar (with an “a”)  is a sacred space where we put items that have significance.
To alter a book is to take a book, which already exists, and to do artistic things to it until it no longer resembles that original book, and is something new. Perhaps you turn a book into an art journal. In this image, I took a book and covered it in acrylic paint, and other art supplies/ephemera,  and made it my own.  Altering a book is entirely up to your own play and desires. You can cover all of the text, leave some of it peeking through, or leave a lot of it.
Another common form of “altered books” is when people create sculptures or dioramas out of the book. Check out these images to see a range of altered books. Fear not! I myself cannot do 99% of these! But it sure is fun to drool over.