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What is an art journal?
It’s a journal you make art in. It really is as simple as that. There are no rules for art journals. I know there seems to be a type of ‘art journal movement’ that makes it look like art journaling is associated with a certain style or creating a certain look, but it really isn’t. I also like to call it a ‘visual journal’, it sounds a bit less intimidating.
Anything goes with art journaling
To me something is an art journal as soon as you veer from using just the written word and start adding pictures, drawings, painting, collage, blobs of colour, you name it.
Why do I love them?
You can express your thoughts and explore your feelings in a super safe place. You close the book when you’re done, you don’t have to show it to anyone, but it’s there for you to re-explore or turn to when you want.
I love the way a filled art journal looks, when you can hardly close it anymore and all the pages fan out and you see the colours on the fore edge (that’s the bookbinding term for the edge of a book opposite the spine edge).
My art journals are so dear to me and I get super excited about getting to work in them!
What is the best art journal?
I used to have some silly self-imposed rule that I could only have one art journal and had to finish it before getting another. I don’t know where that came from, but I’ve since realized that it’s great to have more than one journal. Journals can be different sizes and dimensions and different types of paper which all adds to the fun and multitude of uses.
I don’t know if there is one ‘best art journal’ out there. Different people like different things and certain journals might be more suitable for a specific purpose. These are the journals I am currently working in, the ones with an * are my current favourites:
*Falkiner’s – A4 with 300gsm hot pressed watercolour paper
*Dylusions – large (approx. 11×8”) with manila and white cardstock
Daler Rowney – A5 with 150gsm sketching paper
Seawhite of Brighton –20x20cm with 160gsm cartridge paper wire bound
Moleskine – 9x14cm with sketchbook paper
Things to try
- When picking an art journal think of the following questions: Do you want to work small or big? Do you use a lot of wet media (go for heavy watercolour paper)? Do you use a lot of 3D elements (go for a spiral bound or a journal with fewer pages)? Do you like working portrait or landscape orientation?
- Start a new journal and give it a specific theme (e.g. faces journal, experimentation journal, lettering journal, dream journal)
- Try using the whole spread (the two open pages) or just one page
- Turn your journal 90 degrees and work in a different orientation
- Experiment with gessoing your pages first or not and see how different paints react
What art journals do you have? Leave a comment to let me know!