The Art of Journaling

If you don’t do it already, I highly recommend starting an art journal.

How and why?

First the Why:

  1. Your journal is a safe place to experiment, discover, play around. It’s as private or public as you want it to be.
  2. It’s a great way to loosen up without feeling precious about the medium and substrate or worrying about other people’s opinions.
  3. You keep track of your journey, your development, as well as the places you’ve been or your simple daily life.
  4. Daily art without pressure will help you find your own style.

Here’s the How:

First of all, don’t be precious! If you go and buy an expensive, fancy art workbook with artist quality paper or with a beautiful cover, I guarantee you, you won’t use it. You will be worrying too much about the art that goes in. Any visual diary will do. The only exception would be watercolours. If you are planning on using watercolours a lot, a specific watercolour journal will make you happy. But again don’t overspend. I make most of my journals myself using up-cycled paper and covers. I’ll share with you three methods below.

I’m using several journals simultaneously. Here are the ones from the shops:

A5 sketchbooks are great to have in your handbag/car for quick sketches (instead of scrolling on your phone), but I also used them as travel journals as the one shown above.

I use an A4 visual diary to collect patterns and type.

If I feel like colour I get my A5 size watercolour journal out, which has specific paper that deals well with water.

However, I often make my own journals using three methods.

1. Collect paper and have it bound

These 30cmx30cm upcycled journals consist of a variety of found paper or sheets that I kept from drawing classes. If they have a drawing on one side I use this page to collage on or I incorporate the drawing. Binding is done cheaply in any copy shop. I also made the one on the right using black paper only. They are great fun to play around in.

2. Collect paper and bind it yourself

I’ve been making my own A5 up-cycled travel journals using a method explained in the book Make Your Own Idea Book by Arne Nerjordet and Carlos Zachrison. Without any special equipment or materials you can create beautiful journals that you will treasure forever.

3. Wreck a book

Treat yourself to an op-shop tour to source some books to alter. Look out for the quality of the paper, cover and binding. You might need to take out a few pages to make room and then glue two or three pages together at a time. Use clear or white gesso to prepare the pages and then go wild.

And just for the record… you can even keep a textile journal!


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