As you can tell by the fact that I keep a blog, I am a fan of self-expression. In addition to my blog, I also have a twitter (see the right margin for a link) and I journal a lot. Usually I write in these nifty moleskine notebooks. I really like the 'squared' variety... the pages basically look like graph paper. I use these to make lists, keep contact information, passwords, record sermon notes at church, write quotes etc. The list could go on for a while.
Anyway, thanks to the magic of pinterest I discovered a cool new concept called art journaling. I am really enjoying it, so I thought I'd share. An art diary, art journal or visual journal is a daily journal kept by artists, often containing both words and sketches, and occasionally including Mixed media elements such as collages. Such books will frequently contain rough workings, in cartoon form, of ideas later to appear in finished works, as well as acting as a normal diary, by allowing the artist to record their day-to-day activities and emotions.
Of course I dont consider myself an artist, but I do like to draw, color, write my feelings, collage, save mementos etc, so this has become a really cool way to do those fun, relaxing things and also keep journaling about my feelings and such.
Below I'm compiling information from a couple web pages (ask if you'd like the links) and from my own head... These are just some things that I find/found interesting or helpful with relation to art journals.
1. Start with a basic supply of materials. Art journalists use a lot of different materials. You can start with just a few inexpensive materials and you can use free things like maps, catalogs and supermarket lists. You can find eveyrthing you'll need at a craft or art supply store. When you are starting out, you can try inexpensive materials and if you have fun with art journaling, you can invest money.
2. Make the journal your own. At the very least, lay claim to it by writing your name (phone number is good, too, in case you misplace it) in it or on it. You could alsodecorate the cover, recover it, add color, or attach interesting objects to it. (I covered mine in zebra print OF COURSE)
Don't get anything too fancy if you're just beginning drawing. "Too fancy" is anything that makes you feel guilty about writing in it, or worry that you might mess up and ruin the journal. On the other hand, if you prefer to draw or paint, choose a paper quality, texture, and thickness that are suitable for your preferred medium.
There are pocket journals, for when inspiration hits, or for when something happens and you must draw it right away. Choose the paper size you prefer. There are suitable books of normal size paper, poster size, and miniature size.
Check whether the book you choose will stay open by itself. It's no fun to try to draw or write when the book is flopping closed under you.
Some people prefer spiral bound sketchbooks because they lay flat. Others dislike them because the spiral gets in the way when they draw. This is completely a personal preference thing, so choose what works best for you. (mine is spiral)
Notice what's involved in getting a page out of your chosen book, especially if you think you might ever want to take a work out and display it
3. Start putting stuff in it. Don't spend too long worrying about exactly what to do. Just start doodling or doing whatever's on your mind. You may find that some of your best work happens almost accidentally. Leave the first page blank if you're not sure you can draw well enough yet, or if you'd like to make an index as you go. If you do the first page last, your art skills will have improved by the finish and you'll give it a gorgeous introduction.
4. Turn off the filters and the inner critic. Don't hesitate to experiment in it or make mistakes. This isyour journal. Put in it what you want. If that's strictly drawings, fine. If that's a mixture of drawings, paintings, writing, collage, and pasted-in prints of your favorite photographs, that's fine, too. Doodle aimlessly on a few pages or try out a new medium or technique. Your artistic journey might not even happen all in one book.
5. Put your ideas on paper as soon as they form, or as soon as you can. Perhaps you made what you thought was a funny joke during school or at work, but no one laughed. You can draw that many different ways. You can draw it like a comic book, complete with the joke and the awkward silence where no one laughed, just one picture with the punchline that didn't work. Or you can split the page into halves or fourths with the key points of what happened. It doesn't matter, so long as you create your impression of it.
6. Review your older entries occasionally. You might find new inspiration in old pieces, things to try drawing again or varying, or simply memories. You may also see a pattern of your work progressing through different interests and moods, or of your techniques evolving and improving.
Anyway, give some of this a try... I'm not the most talented artist, but I have a lot of fun with this and its also nice to get things off my chest. Some of my favorite things to put in my journal are quotes and lyrics. I relate a lot to music. I record lyrics that I connect with and then illustrate the line or how I feel about it. Its a pretty fun hobby...
If youre into art or journaling I'd love to hear about your experiences!
the courageous soul
that dares and defies."