Drive-by Art Journaling – Make Time for Art

I’ve wanted to keep an art journal for years, but could never find the time because:

a) I was too busy working on deadline projects.
b) I needed to organize my supplies first.
c) I had not yet found the perfect place to do my art journaling.
d) I was too tired/forgot.

That’s what I told myself, anyway. The truth is, I was scared. Scared my art journal wouldn’t be any good. Afraid that I wouldn’t like art journaling (and everyone loves it, right?).

drive by art journal method
Drive-by Art Journal page background in progress.
Each layer was done in less than five minutes over
the course of a day.

Well, after facing my fears I accidentally stumbled on a great way of finding time to keep a creative journal. I call it Drive-by Art Journaling.

Here’s how it works:

1. Find a work surface at least 2′ square that is in a place you pass by all the time. For me, it’s a kitchen counter away from the stove.

2. Protect the area with a drop cloth and a spray shield. I use two file folders taped together to make a three-sided, stand-up shield.

3. Set out a few supplies. I have black acrylic paint, plus two analogous colors like red and yellow (to avoid muddiness) and white acrylic or gesso; a couple of spray inks in the same family as the paint; 3-4 small stencils; a paint brush or two; a couple of basic stamps; an art pencil or black fine-point permanent pen; gel medium; and a few found papers-plus your journal.

You might want colored pencils and markers or more papers depending on what you like to use. The point is to limit your supply. If you’re using water-soluble supplies, it’s good to have water and paper towels or baby wipes handy.

4. Open your art journal to a spread. (You can start at the front and work toward the back or just open it anywhere.) You will be working on this spread for a few days to a week. Do something on one side of the spread. Maybe mix a couple of paints and paint the background. Or stamp in a few places. Or spray some alcohol ink over some stencils. Or doodle. Use the other side of the journal spread to blot the wet page or your stencils, stamp a ghost print, wipe ink off your fingers, etc.

drive by art journaling page
This Drive-by page is one of my blotting or “messy”
pages, also in progress. Sometimes I end up liking
these pages better than the “working” ones.

5. If you have time, keep going. If not-or if you need the page to dry-leave and do something else. Cap the paint and glue so it doesn’t dry out and rinse your brush-otherwise, leave everything right where it is.

6. Ten minutes later–or two hours later, or the next day–come back and do something else. Sometimes, I have two minutes and just add another coat of paint or a spritz a stencil. Sometimes I end up working for 20 or 30 minutes.

The point is, I go by this art journaling station 20 times a day–to get a snack, make dinner, go upstairs, get a drink of water. Every time, I am reminded of my journal and the work I’m doing and because the supplies are right there, I do something in it. Or, I just look at what I’ve done so far.

By Drive-by Art Journaling, I not only get some art in every day, the casual and fleeting nature of the process takes the pressure and preciousness out of the equation. By limiting the supplies I use for my journal, I have space to create and don’t get hung up on making choices from my copious stash.

Do you have a space you can use for Drive-by Art Journaling? A spot in the laundry or mud room? A place in the kitchen or pantry? The corner of a home office? Set up an art journaling station and try it for a week or two. Let me know your results.

Every artist approaches art journaling differently and each has his or her own ways of finding time to create. We have many books, videos, and supplies to help you on your art journaling journey in the Cloth Paper Scissors Shop. There’s sure to be something to inspire you.

P.S. How do you make time for art journaling? Leave your comment below.


Art Journaling and Lettering, Blog, Mixed-Media Techniques


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