Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Art Journals - Or the Art of Journaling

Journals are great keepsakes and memory joggers. They come in all different shapes and sizes, and serve a wide variety of purposes. But, one thing they all have in common is that they are creative. Whether it is a nature journal, filled with paintings of local wildlife, or a maths journal, crammed cover to cover with figures, creativity of one sort or another has played a part in its formation.

Of course, journals can easily be bought to suit just about any need, but they can also be easily made and personalized to create a special keepsake which is cheap and adaptable to different projects. A simple journal can be made using thick card, wrapping paper, beads, embellishments and leather (see my very well-worn journal in the picture above).

An art journal doesn't have to be used exclusively for drawing or painting. My journal also contains notes about the sketches I do and my personal diary entries. Quite often, the lines between painting and writing tend to blur. Looking back at pictures that I painted several years ago, I can frequently remember exactly what I was thinking or what was happening in my life as I painted or drew each section of the picture. In this way, they act as a sort of diary. It is, then, very natural for me to use my sketch as a personal diary and jot down my notes and thoughts, as I draw.

One of the hardest things about journalling is actually making a start. A sub-conscious fear of failure is often the cause of procrastination but, with a sketchbook, there is no pressure. The very word 'sketch' implies a quickness and spontaneity for which no expectations are to be exerted. The sketchbook artist is, thus, free to experiment, break all the rules and express himself with uninhibited abandon. And the great part is that, for all this unrestricted fun, the end results, though often of no artistic value in themselves, have often provided the means for advancement and personal self-discovery.

I often use my sketchbook to experiment with different media or to indulge my creativity with 'no pressure' art - that is, pictures for which there is no pressure to succeed. Mostly, I keep my failures as well as my successes - there is often more to be learned from a failure than a regular success. But, if I really can't bear to see a particular disappointment in my sketchbook, if the very sight of it makes me cringe with embarrassment, I simply untie the leather cord and remove the offensive image from my collection. Easy!

Most children love to journal. It doesn't have to be an organised activity with printouts and craft paraphernalia - in fact, the more freedom that they have to create, the better. The learning experience is enhanced and the children will learn to paint and draw well, by developing their own skills of observation. Combined with nature study, science or some other area of personal interest, this can become a really productive, and fun, method of learning. But, for the serious artist, young or old, it is more besides. It is an opportunity to lose oneself in another world - a utopia where peace and happiness reign supreme and self-expression has never known the fear of consciousness or reprisal.
Happy sketching! Vicky PS. Take a look at my sidebar to see what's coming up soon!


  1. Wow, you make me feel like making a journal too, except mine would't be so arty. I'd never be pleased with my drawings. Most of the time they don't turn out anything like I want them to.

    I'll be watching out for your upcoming posts. They look to be very interesting.

  2. I'm looking forward to seeing your journal, Immy (if it's not too personal). Knowing your talent, I bet it will have lots of great writing. Auntie Vicky x

  3. More writing than anything else. But you'll be welcome to see it.

  4. Vicky, did you see Immy's post about journals and the link to this blog?


Thank you for reading my blog. I appreciate your comments and feedback. Vicky