Monday, February 28, 2011
I have recently (as in this past weekend) taken the plunge and decided to start an art journal, an idea I first began toying with late last year. What is an art journal, you ask? Well, it's pretty much like a regular journal in that the topic can cover anything and everything - from your everyday life to travel, dreams and goals, diet and exercise, to-do lists, and the list goes on. The primary difference between an art journal and a "regular" journal is, as you may have guessed, that art journals focus more on illustrations. They can have some text or no text. The text can BE the art. And the ways to create your illustrations are just as endless and varied as the topics you cover. You can paint; you can create collages; you can doodle; you can glue photographs on your page.
What I love most about art journaling is that there is NO WRONG WAY to do it! And you don't have to have a perfect finished product (something I feel compelled to do with scrapbook layouts). You don't even have to be able to paint or draw well! It doesn't have to look good; it doesn't have to be complete. The purpose is to express yourself and to capture your thoughts, feelings or ideas in a personal, meaningful way.
My art journal is a watercolor and sketch notebook that I purchased from Hobby Lobby for under $10. You can use just about any type of journal or notebook; you can even make your own. If you decide to use paints, the main thing that is recommended is to first prime your pages with gesso.
Here is my first art journal page.
I bought several small bottles of very inexpensive acrylic paints which I put down in layers (over my gesso-ed page). I then used a template and misted a clock background. I cut out a stamped image of arms and legs that I colored, cut out a picture of my head and incorporated my journaling in the picture. I can barely draw stick figures and never graduated past finger-painting in grade school but I am HAPPY with my end-result because I created something that is meaningful to me - a picture I can look at and immediately know what I am trying to tell myself.
Need some inspiration to get started? Check out these links:
Images of other art journal pages;
Instructions on how to create and keep an art journal;
A fantastic Blog with different prompts and techniques for art journaling; and
A site with all sorts of ideas and tutorials.
"Art journals are visual expressions of the true noise, colors, clutter, emotions, and people within us." [authors Linda Woods and Karen Dinino in Journal Revolution]. According to Kay Marie Porterfield, writer and journal writing teacher, "Starting an art journal is a powerful way to move beyond words. Not only does working with images access a different part of our brains than words, making art is a source of playfulness and creative joy." Why don't you give it a try?