Recently I attended a poetry workshop, where we explored themes relating to how we felt at the moment, what our hearts were telling us, and what our lives were moving us to do. I jotted down some notes quickly; just a couple of words here and there to show that I was participating (as you know, words and ideas don’t always present themselves the moment we want them). Little did I know that we would then be asked to put our words into a poem. I should’ve expected that; but even more to my surprise, two days later my resulting poem would be the perfect fodder for an art journaling exercise.
Soon after the workshop I was reading through an eMagazine titled Art Journal Primer: Tips to Add Watercolor, Pen-and-Ink, and Collage to Your Journaling. It begins with an informative article by Kathie George on journaling outside and in public, and ends with a cool take on using symmetry and asymmetry by Dina Wakley. Sandwiched in the middle is an article by Eric M. Scott and David R. Modler that addresses randomness and chaos in art journaling. It was this one that begged for my immediate attention and action.
“Life can be very random and chaotic,” the authors state, “but many of us want our worlds neatly planned and structured. We feel pressure from ourselves and others to have a plan and to know exactly where our lives are heading. Life rarely unfolds like we plan, so open yourself and the art journaling process up to some spontaneity as you allow a bit of chaos and random juxtaposition into your working method. The journal is nonlinear and allows for this freedom from structure, and it is a place to experiment and play. Emphasize the nonlinear quality and get messy as you experiment with new techniques to strengthen your investment in the journal.”
For someone who can be a bit of a control freak, this called to me. After studying the art journaling ideas, I grabbed my paper, a black pen, a glitter pen, and two pastel markers so that I could practice an exercise from Art Journal Primer that was about for writing on drawn paths. This was good for me because I normally like to make things as neat and orderly as possible, i.e. writing on lined notebook paper.
To start, I used the flat side of the double-tipped pastel blue marker to draw wavy lines across an almost-blank page; some yellow inks from the opposite side of the page had bled through weeks ago, which was fine with me! Once I had these basic guides down, I used my black pen and wrote as much of the finished poem as would fit, using bullet points to mark the line breaks. From there, it was doodle city. I used the glitter pen to draw more lines, then added swirls and more color with the two markers.
In hindsight, I would’ve given the page a better design for when viewing at a distance, but I’m glad that I had the opportunity to do this art journaling exercise; now I know for next time! One thing’s for sure–this page wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for Art Journal Primer (download it here). It has even more ideas that you can use for creative mixed-media fun.
I hope this leaves you wanting to get started on a new page today! I promise that if you do, you won’t regret it.
Learn new art journal techniques in this free eBook when you join our newsletter for daily tips, special offers, and more!