A Look Inside My Day-Marker Art Journal

Last year Candace Rose Rardon shared three simple ways to keep an art journal, and later followed up with three more simple ways to keep an art journal. I love the tips shared in those posts! And they truly are simple and accessible—the most “advanced” tools you’d need are a glue stick and perhaps a pair of scissors.

One day this summer my mom gave me a set of notebooks, one of which had blank pages. Immediately I knew I’d use it as a little “day markers” journal, à la Candace Rose Rardon. A day marker is something from your day—perhaps a receipt, business card, envelope, ticket stub, scrap of paper, etc.—to mark that day, so it doesn’t just blend in with all the rest.

I’d simply glue the item down with a glue stick, and then write the date and any other details/notes I wanted to jot down.

Here are some pages from that journal:

When I moved to Flagstaff in September, I brought along this journal as well as a glue stick, pen, and small scissors. I kept these supplies all together in a zippered pouch, which I’d pull out at least once per set of off days to record some days. (The pages for this chunk of time in Flagstaff were heavily receipts-based, so it was a fun creative exercise to keep my eyes on the lookout for non-receipt ways to remember a day.)

It’s so fun to page through and relive those days! And this journal was a lot easier for me to crack open than my writing journal—there was never resistance.

That’s what has been so lovely about the practice, I think: how quickly you can start and finish a page (under five minutes). And secondly, it’s been helpful knowing that this journal is just for me and my personal records, so early on I gave myself permission to not make it look good. (Although I’m sharing pages today, this was never my intention when I began and worked in the journal.)

This journal is now falling apart (and bursting open wider than it was ever meant to), so I got a new sketchbook over the holidays (with spiral rings!). It sat untouched for over a week on my desk, until I finally decided I could use this bigger notebook in the same way: for “day marker” pages.

I’ve played in my new sketchbook for 11 days in a row so far! My initial goal is 30 days straight, though if that melds into a 100-Day Project, I certainly wouldn’t be opposed.

The right side of January 5 (above) was a sketch for #MomentSketchers, while the left side was another quick gluing of a receipt and shopping list, like in my first journal.

For a few days I’ve been drawing out what I did, or notable happenings.

When I made my collage envelopes for Jean Wilson’s Envelope Exchange, I used the same materials to remember the occasion with a mini-collage on the day’s page (above).

I glued an envelope onto one of my latest pages. Inside I put the note and check I’d received in the mail for my first watercolor commission, as well as a print-out of the dog I’d drawn over with pencil with my Great Aunt Lois when working on said painting. I cut apart the yellow envelope and glued parts of it onto the page.

I’m really enjoying this type of daily journaling. It’s creative, easy, and fun, and looking at old pages takes me back to those moments in time.

Do you keep any sort of art journal? What does your practice look like? 

Or, if you’ve never had an art journal before, does this look like something you want to try?