Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Art Journaling: Process

My take on art journaling, scrapbooking's slightly rebellious younger sister.

I suppose I could go into a lengthy discussion on the therapeutic process of art journaling, how it allows one to express oneself creatively, etc. In reality, it's mostly just a way for me to kill time while my husband is at meetings at night. But it's true, cutting and pasting can be therapeutic and soothing. (I try to steer away from using the word "soothing" too often; it almost always brings up images of stool softener ads... Is it obvious I'm writing this at midnight?)

I'm a big fan of documenting my life via scrapbooking and Project Life, but that's a more structured creative outlet - I have a set method, it's very simple and clean. It's for me, but it's also for other people to flip through. But my art journal is where I can let it all out; anything goes.

I've made a few different journals throughout the years but it wasn't until recently that I found my "sweet spot" in art journaling. It took a lot of unfinished albums and trial and error to decide what the purpose of art journaling is, for me. I'm the kind of person who needs some sort of purpose behind what I'm doing, even in art. Since I do so much writing and scrapbooking and picture taking already, I have ultimately decided that I don't want my art journal to be an extention of that.

I've tried more random pages, that included everything from short fiction to stream of conscious thoughts to (very melodramatic) poetry. It was fun, but was almost so loosey goosey that I never stuck with it. I'm the type of person who needs a purpose, however simple, behind something in order for me to keep at it. So now my art journaling is a little more focused. The theme for my current journal is Things I'm Learning. It includes quotes from books I'm reading, the random vocab word (English major repercussions), Bible verses, etc.

It's fun to make, but it's also kind of helpful when I'm trying to remember something specific, like a quote from that book I was reading last summer and it moved me in a deep and meaningful way except maybe not since I can't remember it, etc. I can easily flip through my journal to find it. These little tidbits are scattered through my scrapbooks and writing journals as well, but it's nice to have it all in one place and use my art journal as a sort of reference point. If that makes any sense at all. If you are thinking I have too much time on my hands, you are correct.

Thanks for letting me share some of my pages. I'll be posting soon on my favorite materials and products to use in my books.

Have you tried art journaling? Do share!


  1. I did a lot of this back in high school and early college & loved it. The style I had back then is not the style I'd pick up with today but it's fun to see my artistic style and voice from then. I'd love to get back into it someday. These are fantastic, Heather!

  2. I really want to start journaling I just don't know...where to start! Ha.

  3. I am wondering what helped you bring focus to your art journaling? Did you take a class, read a book, inspired by someone's blog? I ask, because I have wanted to jump in for some time now, but cannot seem to get started. This is truly lovely work you have done. I am inspired.

  4. I really love this and it's making me think I need to do one, I feel inspired!

  5. I have attempted so many times to keep an art journal but like you I need to be focused and purposeful. I was getting excited reading your post because I feel like I can stick to a Things I've Learned journal...or something with a similar theme. Thank you for posting!

  6. Love the idea of using an art journal as a record of lessons learned because I totally relate to needing a purpose for art journaling. Thank you for inspiring!

  7. I like this! I've been against art journaling (for me) because I get way too overwhelmed with a blank page; it's why I love project life so much. but lately I'm rethinking that, because I do like the process of cutting and pasting and creating, and my PL is also very simple and clean so I don't do much embellishing there. so I think if I had a theme to my journal perhaps I could make it work. :)

  8. I die at the beauty of this.

  9. i love that 'waking up earlier' page. so lovely. i'm curious as to what journal you use for this.

  10. I would love to have an art journal! I have so many questions though!
    Is this something you carry around and do on a whim? Are your pages planned?
    I'm looking forward to you sharing more!

  11. I have journaled before but I never feel like it's meant for me. I think I would be better off just bringing some art journaling into my scrapbooks.

  12. I love this! It looks gorgeous.

    Starting, or keeping up with, an art journal is very high up on my list of things to do. But I, too, have yet to find a way that works for me. Very determined to keep trying though!


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