Did you know that there is a long standing artistic tradition that encompasses all of these things? Well there is and its known as.....
Art journals are really just illustrated diaries, most times with a mixed mash of themes, colours, mediums, thoughts and pictures. They can be used to jot down thoughts, lists, doodles and words of inspiration in an environment where imperfection is absolutely perfect. Anyone can start an art journal, adults a children alike can benefit from it and create amazing illustrated diaries, the only difference is how they use it. Its not a complex technique, there are absolutely no rules only self-expression.
Art journals have been used by artists for many centuries for practice and experimentation Da Vinci, Picasso and even Vincent Van Gogh kept journals that were all very different from each other.
I know what you are thinking, "I am not an artist" "I can't draw!!" Really?? Well thats ok because an art journal doesn't need to be full of beautiful sketches and pretty handwriting it can be anything that you want it to be, your pages can be made up of pictures cut from magazines, passages from old books, a postcard from a holiday, a pretty leaf you found whilst having a picnic, anything that means something to you, expresses how you are feeling or provokes a memory is fair game to go into your journal, mix that with colours, paints fabrics, buttons or whatever you desire and you have a diary entry - simple as that.
Art journals for children are an excellent way to encourage self expression, confidence and creativity in a safe environment where there is no right or wrong, no limitations and it can even be top secret if they wish. Many of the children that I introduce to art journalling have started it as a project perhaps over the summer holidays. They use it to record what they have been doing or where they have been and when they are out they are encouraged to find things along the way that they could use in their journal. Many children find this an exhilarating project and continue to maintain their journals long after the holidays have ended. Other children have been struggling with their school work and find reading, writing difficult and have found that art journalling allows them the opportunity to express their frustrations and achievements without the pressure to use words as expressions, for many children 'colours' say it all.
So far I have been referring to journals as diaries and that would suggest an art journal is always a book, but it doesn't have to be. It could be individual pieces of paper or card that you journal onto and store in a journal box - this is particularly useful for journalling that involves a lot of bulky objects such as charms, buttons, shells, etc that would be difficult in a standard book - your individual journal pages can be bound at a later stage if you wish, or in the case of children's' journalling you could bind their individual pages when they are grown up to give them as a gift later in life.
Starting your own journal.
1) Find a sketchbook - any will do its just down to personal preference whether you have a bound, spiral, hard back, paper back, A5, A4 - Check out art stores or stationery stores and see what takes your fancy.
2) Optional: Decorate your cover, recover it, stick things to it, put your name on it anything to make it yours and unique to get your creative juices flowing
3) Open your book, miss out the first page and turn to your first double page spread. Scary plain paper is enough to stop anyone mid creative flow so pick up a pen and think of a few words that sum up why you have begun this journal - i.e: Inspiration, challenge, creativity, expression. Jot these down however you choose, a nice neat list or spread throughout the page. There, its not so scary now.
4) Technically you have created your first page already, from here there are no limits. You can add colours, pictures, patterns, trinkets anything that reflects how you feel right now, use different mediums play with doodles its up to you, its your journal.
5) Continue to create in your journal frequently try using other art that you encounter as inspiration the most important thing is that when you open your journal your inner art critic is sent out of the room - there are no mistakes, its your journal and you set the rules. Perhaps that could be the mantra that you put on your first page?
Giving the gift of inspiration.
Art journals (and boxes) make fabulous unique gifts for anyone of any age they can be personalised with the recipients name, be decorated in their favourite colours, even depict passages from their favourite books if you wish. An art journal or journal box can be commissioned from One and Only Design in Eastbourne UK. Each book or box will come with an introduction to Art Journalling worksheet to get the recipient started. Each item is individually handmade to order and are ready for collection or posting within 10 days. Prices start from £14.00 including personalisation.Click here for more information
Classes and Workshops
An art journalling class is a great way to start if you need a helping hand - Classes for both adults and children are available at One and Only Design in Eastbourne UK. Classes are held in a working art studio. Prices start from £11 per person per session and include use of all the art supplies in the studio (paints, pens, pastels, cutters, glues etc)Click here for more information