Keep an art journal

It seems that just about every artist has something to say about keeping an art journal. The sizes and shapes of the journals vary, the frequency of use differs, and how important the journal is to the artist’s creative life may change over time. But one thing seems to resonate: journals are a creative tool. Journals are so popular that there are entire books written about how to create them and use them, like Pam Carriker’s Art at the Speed of Life in which Pam shares projects and ideas to help her readers live a creative life. One bit of advice from Pam is “Think multitasking versus individual project.” Take a look.

But how do you get started?

There are many kinds of journals, from leather-bound to homemade, and just as many ways to use them. What you put in them is up to you. For example, you could:
Save everyday papers to use as journal pages or for collage. 
• Write down quotes or lyrics that mean something to you.
• Record something a friend or child said.
• Sketch a moment of your day…or a special person.
• Try out a new technique before committing to a larger piece of art.

Dawn Sokol suggests doing the pages of your journals in stages to get past the blank page. Her “Pages in Stages” technique: painting, collage, and doodling/writing, takes the stress out of beginning because you can do the stages in any order, as many pages of the journal as you’re inspired to do at a time. Your journal pages develop over time and there is no pressure to finish one whole page at a time.   For some, a journal is a place to draw and doodle. Robin Olsen likes to capture everyday moments in her journal (left), and suggests you keep it simple, not getting too carried away with details as you sketch. Just sketch whatever catches your interest at the moment.
A spread from Robin Olsen’s journal.  

For others a journal is their bible, keeping lists and ideas, plans and schedules…artistically presented, of course, but almost like a day planner. Nic Hohn sketched and wrote ideas for setting artistic goals and reaching them through journaling in the January/February 2009 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors.


Nic Hohn’s artistic goals documented in her journal.    
newbold25r4   Still other artists use their journals to record their travels, like Jacqueline Newbold in the September/October 2008 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors, painting, sketching, collaging mementos, and writing about their journeys.
A page from Jacqueline Newbold’s travel journal.    

Your journal

The important thing is to look around, see what catches your eye, and go with what inspires you, and remember to enjoy the experience.

Happy journaling!



Art Journaling and Lettering, Blog, Mixed-Media Techniques


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