I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of keeping an art journal, but the perfectionist in me was hesitant to start one. What if I totally mess up a page? What if I can’t keep up with it regularly? What if I can’t find a way to write down what I did that day in a way that’s totally cute and cool and Instagram-worthy?
These fears come from the fact that I’ve never been one to keep a diary or a journal, or even a PLANNER. Even though I love to buy them all (mostly for the pretty covers) I just can’t keep one very consistently. I’m also not a bullet journaler, either. Basically, guys, I can’t keep a daily practice well at all, and it has taken me almost 5 years in the art community to realize that IT’S OKAY. I simply don’t get enjoyment out of planning and/or writing out my day-to-day activities. (Except when it comes to my business, where I keep a very tidy Trello board!) But, when it comes to art journaling, it seems as if a lot more possibilities open up, and consistency isn’t as necessary as simply ‘creating,’ And that, I can get on board with.
Following these three artists has really opened my eyes to the possibility that art “journaling” is what I make of it. And that’s why I decided to give it a try.
Buy A Multi-Media Journal From Your Local Craft Store
I bought my journal from Michael’s, where they sell a variety of journals alongside the watercolor and canvas paper. Buying a journal suited for multi-media means you can apply many different mediums to the pages of your journal, and the paper won’t rip apart. I use my journal for acrylic paint, and I love layering. The pages of this journal handle layers really well. There is minimal rippling, and if it does ripple, it’s no big deal.
TRY THINGS YOU’RE INTIMIDATED BY.
I use my art journal to practice with acrylic paints. I have always been fascinated by painting, but I’ve never quite gotten the hang of it. My art journal is a safe space to explore and try new things with paint, and there is no pressure for it to be perfect! The best part is, if I don’t like a painting, I can literally just paint over it with a new one. I’ve done this multiple times.
You don’t have to share it with anyone.
Not unless you want to. 90% of the art in my journal has never been photographed before this blog post. As a full-time artist, the pressure to post or share everything I create is really stifling at times. Having an art journal is an escape.
OWN WHATEVER COMES OUT!
“Owning” whatever kind of art comes out when I sit down to fill a spread in my journal has been a total game-changer. Once again, there’s a pressure-free, boundary-less vibe I have put around my art journal practice, and for me, this is a necessary thing. Letting go of limitations allows for a lot of interesting things to happen. You will surprise yourself…both with how bad and how lovely some things will turn out.
USE WHAT YOU HAVE ON HAND.
This is my last tip for starting an art journal. There is no need to go out and buy brand new art supplies! In fact, that might put a little more pressure on you. I encourage you to use what you have and see what you can create. The striped piece right above was done with some old gouache paint I had lying around that I didn’t absolutely love. There is freedom in using old art supplies because who cares if you use it all up! I love the colors. I love the movement. I could totally see myself creating a pattern out of this one.
If you’ve ever wanted to start an art journal, but are feeling a little intimidated to sit down and commit, just remember that consistency doesn’t matter as much as creation. I get my art journal out once or twice a month, and only when I really feel like. I don’t set a date with myself…I just paint and play when the mood strikes! I can’t tell you how much good this kind of practice does for my soul. I hope it does yours good, too 🙂