Color the Emotion

Pick a few colors and create without stiffness.

Art Journal Inspiration from Children’s Books

An art journal page spread by Peony and Parakeet. Read more about finding inspiration from children's books.

The art journal spread shown above is created from hand decorated papers, colored pencils, and markers. The main message here is “You can ride with your imagination in any way you want.” As it implies, I like my art journaling to capture dreams and fairy tales, not so much everyday life.

Mini-Worlds and Fantasies

I think that an art journal can be childish and playful. The way I see it, children’s books are the predecessors of them. Children’s books also combine illustrations and text to create mini-worlds and stories. I love to add both decorative and naive elements on the same page, and children’s books are great inspiration for that!

Read more about finding inspiration for art journaling from children's books.

I buy used children’s books from recycling centers. They cost only a few euros (few dollars). That is a fantastic value considering all the inspiration they can give. I pick the books that have a lot of good quality illustrations. As I love detailed drawings, I try to find books with sharp lines and many details. Browsing children’s books can be a good practice for finding your artistic style. Pick the books that you feel most drawn to and then list all the things they have in common. I prefer books that have matte pages because I sometimes create collages from them. Then it is good if I can draw or paint on them.

Illustrations from children's book and a collage by Peony and Parakeet. Read more about finding inspiration from children's books.

I made the collage on the right while teaching at a workshop last fall. It’s one of the pages where I have used the papers from children’s books. I often give few pages from various books for each participant of the workshop. It’s much easier to start creating when you don’t need to stare blank paper.

That little explorer resembles anyone who is entering the world of children’s books!

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3 thoughts on “Art Journal Inspiration from Children’s Books

  1. Oh yes, I love children’s books too! I am a lifelong and voracious reader and I did my best to instill a love for books – written word and illustrations – in my daughter as she was growing up. I was successful! And now I have a one year old grandson who has loved being read to every day from theday he was born. It is total joy for me to see the happiness he gets picking out and bringing his favorite books to me to read to him. Now he often will sit amidst his ever growing collection and read to himself!

    I take care to choose books for him, just like I did for my daughter back in the day, that are visually enticing as well as content (age appropriate) rich.

    In my house there is no such thing as having too many books.

    1. Rosie, thanks for your interesting comment! I love your story of your daughter and your grandson. While digging those piles of the recycling center, I have wondered if the parents notice the same as I do: there are big differences in the quality of the children’s books. The best are the ones that you will never grow out of!

  2. My daughters learned early on that I would never say “no” to books. Not to reading them or buying them. We read together every night, well beyond the time that they were avid, competent readers who could have read the book by themselves. I was a Kindergarten teacher who read to my classes several times a day, a practice that is waning in many American classrooms. I still seek out and purchases picture hopes, for my own pleasure and hopefully for future grandchildren. My favorite children’s illustrators are Eric Carle, Tomie DePaola, Eloise Wilkins, and Leo Politi. I haven’t thought to include picture book images in my art journals, but look forward to that possibility. Thank you for the inspiration.

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