Creative Journaling Toolkit – Journaling Supplies: Tools to add words

Obviously, adding words to your journaling pages can be incredibly simple. All you need to do is grab the nearest pen or pencil and write.

If you want to take some time choosing a pen you love, or you want to add more visual interest to your pages, you might like to consider some of the ideas below.

My favourite pens for journaling

I love Sakura gelly pens. They run so smoothly over the paper – they glide so easily without the tiniest catch. There’s nothing more annoying, to me, than a pen that scrapes on the page instead of gliding. They are also permanent so they don’t run or smudge, they are dark and bold like ink pens, and they come in lots of colours (which I LOVE). They also come in a million other variations, like sparkly and pastel and puffy, but I can’t easily get them in NZ, which is probably just as well.

The other kind of pen I really love is the Uniball Signo. It glides really well over paint, and it’s permanent, so you can use watercolours etc over the top and it won’t budge. They are also do a really great white pen which is lovely over a dark background.

Choosing the right pen for your journaling is important. Other choices are ball point, fountain, various types of ink pens and pencil. Pencil can be nice to write with at times, but it is a bit scratchy on the page and I don’t like the idea that it can be erased.  I want to keep my journals and read them again when I’m 80 (is that weird?), so having a good solid permanent pen is important to me. I also use Staedtler coloured pens which can be cool, but they don’t roll as nicely across the page as the gellys.

The truth is that other than the pens I use, I don’t know much about different types of pens. You can read about other good pen recommendations here. But, I can say that using a pen you like is important. I can easily lose inspiration if I’m stuck using a pen I don’t like, so I always have a black gelly pen with me. You may want to buy a bunch of different pens to experiment with, or you may want to just buy one nice pen and get refills for it as you need. Personally I like to have lots of different colours and write with whichever colour grabs me at the time, so I have lots of different colours of gelly pens.

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Other Types of Pens

Paint pens

Paint pens take a paint like acrylic paint and put them into a pen. When you push the nib down to write, the paint is released. They are good because it can be hard to do details with a paintbrush, so a pen makes that easier.

You can get heaps of different brands of paint pens – Sharpie, Liquitex, Posca to name a few. Molotow acrylic paint pens are by far the best paint pens I’ve used; they glide so smoothly without pools of paint.

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Brush pens

One of my most-used pens is a Pentel Pocket Brush Pen – it has a brush tip with actual bristles and India ink refills. It’s a bit pricey, but the refills aren’t too bad price-wise and it writes over paint nicely, plus it can give a neat effect. It takes a bit of getting used to but I just love the lettering I can do with this.

You can get other types of brush tip pens, but they aren’t bristles, just a brush-shaped tip. I think Crayola does a cheap version of these, and Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen is another good one. The Faber-Castell pens are Indian ink, and they come in brush, big brush, as well as fine point, etc. They write quite well over paint.

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Permanent markers

Sharpies are the obvious go-to here. I don’t use these in my journal much, simply because they tend to bleed through to the other side of the page. They are really good for writing over magazine images, though, so if you want to use lots of collage/magazine images then they are good to have on hand.

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Alphabet stamps

There are so many options here! You can get wooden rubber stamp sets, or clear stamp sets that you use with an acrylic block. They come in so many different sizes and fonts! You could try a local craft store for these, or shop online.

There are many things you can do with these in your journal and they are one of my essential tools. Here are some of my favourites:

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There are many things you can use to write in your journal. Stamps and paint/brush pens can be a fun way to add more visual interest to your journal, but I’ll also show you some simple techniques that just use a basic pen. Start with what you have!