Sunday, November 18, 2012

Starting an Art Journal

Art journaling is one of the best, healthiest, creative habits that I've found.
It can be as elaborate or simple as you want.
In this journal, I've used simply ink.

(I branch out, using a lot more color and layering, in some of my other journals.)

I write, doodle, sketch things out, while I'm waiting in lines, riding in the van with my Man, or watching the kids play outside.

First, simply get something to draw/write in. Don't have the money for Smashbooks or scrapbook sets? Not a problem. My absolute favorite art journal is one that is heavy enough to add paint or sharpies to, but not so thick that it's bulky. The spiral bound is a big perk, too, as the journal will lay flat while in use. Plus, this enables you to work easier across 2-page spreads. (That link goes to the exact journals I buy, from Amazon.) It's a mere $9-ish and will last you quite a while....BUT if you don't have the money for that, start with printer paper, a notebook, or even an old used journal. Or, heck, use a napkin.

I also prefer to use Micron pens or Copic markers,
but sharpie pens...or just about anything else, will work fine, too.

There's really no excuse to delay starting!  

Remember-- there are no rules. Doodle quickly, or sketch for hours at a time.
Draw a salt shaker, or a lake. Record your memories, thoughts, dreams, goals.
Nothing is too small, or too big.

 Using nothing more than my hands and my imagination, I can create.

When I'm stuck-- which doesn't seem to happen often these days--I try one of these prompts:
Write out and/or illustrate your Bucket List
Sketch family members or pets
Trace your hand, and fill it in with facts and information about yourself
Take a personality test and record the results
Try to recall the dreams or nightmares you've had recently
Write and illustrate a list of ways to bring happiness to others
Illustrate some of your favorite quotes, sayings, or verses

Work through emotions.
Art journals are an amazing mixture of words and images that can convey raw emotion
much more effectively than one or the other alone.

Don't forget to capture the lighthearted, goofy moods as well....

I have a thing for maps so, about a year or so, I began illustrating my home state, places we've vacationed, and places as I lived as a child.

My family lived, for a few years when I was a teenager, in a small town called Goose Creek, near Charleston, SC. We went to the Charleston Marketplace on the weekends, swam often at Kiawah Island, played tennis, drank sweet tea.
I recalled so many good memories, while adding doodly pictures to the state!

Words can only express so much.
When I combine drawings with words, I come to a deeper understanding of myself and the world around me in ways that writing alone can't touch.

Think of the art journal as a way of illuminating your words and in turn illuminating yourself.

Just like any journaling, art journaling gets easier and more effective when you make it a daily habit. I often work in the evening, when I'm tired and have a whole day's worth of thoughts tumbling around in my mind. I kick back with my art journal and a glass of wine, like a meditative treat, working through my joys and frustrations.
I believe all "artsy-type people" need to create. It's a longing, a pull that can't be satisfied until we're producing something. By simply letting my pen move, releasing my thoughts and ideas, that deep need is satiated, and I can joyfully carry on.


Amy said...

I love seeing your art journal pages. So inspiring!!

Valerie Garrison said...

I'm just starting out with Art Journaling. Keep posting great posts for the newbies!