One of the easiest ways to start art journaling is with my very favorite medium… pens and markers! Everyone has them laying around the house, and this abstract doodle page tutorial is a great way to get started.
You can do this with any pens and markers you have, though I highly suggest using waterproof pens for the actual drawing. That way, when you go over the lines when you’re coloring with the markers, the lines won’t smear as easily. If you don’t have water proof pens available, you can use regular pens, but color in your doodle page with colored pencils! You can always buy new supplies if you want to, but I’m a big fan of using what you have and making it work.
Abstract Doodle Page Tutorial
- Art journal
- Waterproof pens – I used Faber Castell PITT Artist brush pen, and Pigma Micron 03 & 08
- Markers – I used Tombow Dual Brush pens, but also recommend Crayola Super Tips
- Optional: ruler or straight edge
We’re going to start by taking our thick brush pen, and drawing a straight line across the corner of the page. I suggest free handing your lines, because the more you practice at drawing straight lines the better you get. However, if your hands tend to shake or you feel more comfortable, go ahead and use a ruler to guide you. Going off of that first corner line, start drawing more lines coming off of each other at different angles. You can copy my design, or create your own. Now take your medium thickness pen (for me that’s the Micron 08) and start drawing some curves and gentle wave shapes inside the thick line boxes.
This is breaking up the thick boxes into smaller shapes that we will fill with our patterns. All the sections are different shapes, and are still big enough to do patterns inside of them easily.
Now you’re going to take your thinnest pen (mine is the Micron 03) and start drawing tiny circles inside of one of the sections. Try your best to have the circles touch and be close to the same size.
But don’t be surprised if the size and shapes change as you draw! This is totally normal and just something to watch for and correct if you notice it happening.
Now pick another section, and draw straight lines all the way across that section.
Pick another section, and do straight lines again. But then, do more straight lines going across the opposite way to create a checkerboard pattern.
This next section is a bit more difficult, but you can do it! Starting in a corner, draw 5 curved lines to create a rainbow shape, keeping the distance between the lines as equal as possible. To start the next rainbow shape, start in the corner formed by the thick line and the edge of the first rainbow, and draw your 5 curves. Keep going, filling up the whole space with little rainbows! This is one of my favorite patterns to do, because it’s easy to do but looks really cool!
And for our last pattern, draw wavy lines across the section. Now, you can do any patterns you’d like, or just use these ones for your first abstract doodle page. If you haven’t noticed, now we have 5 patterns that we’re working with. That’s more than enough variation for a small page.
So, now you’re just going to continue filling in the sections with the 5 patterns we came up with, trying to make sure that no two identical patterns are touching. If you need to, you can always split up a bigger section using your medium pen to make this easier.
Here’s our doodle all done! Since there’s a lot of ink on this page and I’m going to be using water based markers, even though our pens are waterproof it’s best to give the page some time to dry fully before coloring it. Ink stays wet a lot longer than it actually seems to. So I set my page aside for two hours while I did things like clean up the kitchen and answer a few emails.
Now that our page is all dry and ready to work with, pick out your markers or colored pencils! I used a set of brush pens that already had a color scheme I liked, so you can do that or grab 5-8 markers in colors you love or that coordinate well. We get to color now! I love this part. Take your time, going section by section and color in your patterns. You can make it more complicated and color in each individual square in the checkerboard, or keep it simple with a whole wash of color over the rainbows and detail in a few spots with a darker shade.
Here’s the work in progress! Don’t feel like you have to complete this whole project in one go. That’s one of my favorite things about working with pens and markers. There’s no cleanup or mess, so it’s easy to step away and come back when you have the time.I also love the way it looks with only a few spots colored in, and the rest just in pen.
But I went ahead and colored the rest in anyway! Don’t be afraid to experiment with colors you wouldn’t normally use together. If something doesn’t turn out how you’d like it, you can always draw another doodle page and try a new way of coloring it in!
Here’s a quick glance of all the materials I used, and the final project! I hope found this abstract doodle page tutorial helpful, and please give it a try! It’s such a fun and relaxing way to spend an afternoon, and each one turns out so unique.