What is Art Journaling?
Art journaling is difficult to define because it can be so many different things. Although there might be trends and popular ways to approach art journaling, I believe there truly aren’t any rules at all.
In fact, the more I think about it, the more I broaden my definition. Art journaling is a record of your thoughts, emotions and experimentations over time in a book-ish form. There are those who have illustrated diaries, sketchbooks, travel journals, diet diaries, dream journals or simply to-do lists… but really they are all a type of art journal for that particular person.
Perhaps it is the word “art” that throws us all off. We think of “Art” with the capital A and suddenly a whole lot of expectations are thrown into the mix. Shouldn’t an art journal be beautiful? Don’t you need artistic skill to art journal? Well, I think our lives are most definitely our “Art” – so anything you create and record in your journal is valid. Perhaps we can think of it as the “Art of our lives.” It is different for everyone and the ultimately it is the process not the end result that is important.
For those that are into the planner craze, decorating their notebooks and filofaxes… I sort of think that is a form of art journaling as well. It’s creative playtime after all!
Art Journaling Is For Everyone
I think art journals are for everyone because it is a safe place to express yourself – in whatever way and with whatever medium you wish. The details of how don’t matter. It’s the process of creating that is magical, not the end result.
You might art journal to let it all out, writing out your emotions in raw form. You might art journal as a way to experiment and play with new ideas, techniques or supplies. You might want to document your life and your thoughts. You might just enjoy the creative fun and process of playing in your journal, creating something on the blank page. All of the above perhaps?
So really, anyone can art journal, there is no skill involved. You can have a whole journal filled with ink splatters and criss crossed lines. Or you can just collage magazine clippings. The process and motion of making marks… putting imagery together… that means something. The creative action helps you let out some energy, expressing your emotions in a different form. It’s healing and soothing and hopefully, really fun and enjoyable as well.
The action of creating feeds your soul and I think it makes us better and healthier in the end. That is why art journaling is for everyone. I think we all really need it as a part of our lives.
When I give myself some art journaling time, I’m usually in need of letting something out of my heart and soul. It might be serious and deep or it might be light and happy. Either way, my art journal is a safe haven for me to mull things over. I definitely need that space and time in my life.
Sharing Your Art Journal
These days we see a lot of folks sharing their art journals online for all the world to see. But I don’t think you ever have to share and more often than not, your art journal is more of a personal workbook than a finished piece for exhibition. We can easily be disillusioned by all that we see online, but remember that is only one facet of the person posting. It’s rarely ever the whole truth.
Don’t think you have to reproduce and mimic what you see. It can be fun to join in on the community, but I don’t think that is the core of what art journaling can do for you. It’s so personal and raw that it’s totally okay to keep it to yourself… at least most of it to yourself.
I often share the light and happy parts of my art journaling, not all the other stuff that is deeper, darker, too personal for a public audience. It’s an individual choice really.
I often wonder what stops people from joining in on the wonderful world of art journaling. Notions about what it has to be? There are no rules, just go for it. Fear of being judged? Don’t share. Don’t know how to get started? The easiest way is to use pen and paper and just write your stream of consciousness. Let it flow and slowly go from there. You’ll be surprised how easy it really is. No time? Don’t tell me you don’t spend countless minutes and hours waiting in line, shuffling from one thing to another or zoning out in front of the TV. Instead of letting those little bits of time slip through your fingers wasted, think of how you can take that time for yourself. It will only do your soul good.
Let’s Art Journal
If you would like to get started art journaling, I highly encourage you to do so with simple pen and paper. You don’t really need fancy supplies or an expensive journal. Once you get into it, you’ll naturally expand and explore all that it has to offer and perhaps the fun of getting more supplies as well.
If you want more guidance to start out, consider my Pensieri zine #1 – Art Journaling. It’s my most popular issue and guides you through while being a starter art journal itself!
Are you an art journaler? Want to join in on the creative fun?