I have been focused on my Art Journal quite intently this past year, even though I have kept an Art Journal since I first attended Art College in 1991, this past 12 months has seen me become engrossed in it.
What is an Art Journal? Well, it’s just a book that you get creative in. I choose blank page spiral bound sketch books, from A6 to A4 size, but anything that you can make marks and be creative in will be suitable. I like to look for things around my home before I head down to the shops, so an old exercise book left over from your student days or an out-of-date diary that didn’t get used is fine. I like to take the note pads from hotel rooms when I stay in one, well it’s like the soap and shampoo, it’s included in the tariff so I’ll take advantage of the paper product and leave the detergents!
As a visual artist I like to put down all my crazy ideas, sketch them out and write about them in my Art Journal. I also practice observational drawing and media experimentation. You can see what I’ve been thinking about, and even what books I have been reading from looking through my Art Journal. My Art Journal is a repository of musings and is in no way precious or perfect. This is one thing that has taken me a while to overcome, that not every page I start has to become a masterpiece. My Art Journal is messy and there are unfinished sketches in there. Sometimes I’ll even rip a page out. The last few pages usually have notes and artist names on them, for future reference.
Sometimes an idea will make it from my Art Journal to my “sketch book” (that’s another journal that I use for fleshing out the ideas that will become finished sketches and maybe even art works.) Mostly though, the Art Journal is there to satisfy my need to draw and create at any time of the day. When I’m on the train I can’t bear to be idle and my Art Journal is there with me so that I can make the best use of what is usually an hour-long journey.
Art Journaling isn’t just for visual artists, it’s for anyone and is quite simple really. You can start with any old blank book (even one with lined pages) and a pen or pencil. I’ve written an e-book “Art Journal Action” that can help you get going. Download it for free here. You can also join me for Art Journal Catch up on Mondays at 7.30pm, starting 11th May. It’s via Zoom at the moment and you can book by emailing me firstname.lastname@example.org with Art Journal Catch Up in the subject. Participation is by donation at the moment, so that anyone can join in no matter your circumstance.