Ready to do some artful journaling? Wait. What? You can’t because you’re not a trained artist? Well, that’s okay. Me neither. 😉
Commonly called Art Journaling, putting colors and words on a page to express what’s on our minds is a way to creatively say what we need to say – even when we don’t realize we need to say it. Our ideas need a place to ‘be’ – especially in this noisy world that constantly pokes at us.
I’d like to share something with you that I learned recently:
“Artful” journaling isn’t just for trained artists who are working out project ideas or practicing new techniques. Turns out, journaling artfully can be for anyone wanting to express him/herself through colors, words and images. A few terms are often used interchangeably. Knowing which is the best fit depends on our intent.
- Art Journal
- Visual Journal
- Creative Journal
Let’s break them down…..
Art journals have a long history. Well known (and not so well known) artists have worked out their artistic ideas, pondered mechanical development through images and words (da Vinci), documented historic events as they unfolded, and described works in progress. Sometimes called notebook, sometimes diary, other times journal. Whatever the term used, artists have been sketching/drawing/painting and writing thoughts for centuries. They use art journals/notebooks to work out their first draft (kind of like writing, don’t you think?). Some current artists say art journals are generally associated with creating a product that can be/will be shared with others.
Visual journals also help us work out ideas, but have been historically associated with therapy. As a way to express one’s self, a visual journal acts as a safe place to work though personal ideas – thoughts, feelings, emotions, etc…. Colors, images and words help with healing. No harm in yelling at someone on a page, right? Visual journals are largely about the process for the person creating. Intention is more personal, less about sharing and more about processing quietly.
Creative journals seems to be a newer term, a hybrid of the first two types(?) – another place to explore and record what’s happening in our lives using colors, images and words. Creative journals seem (to me) to be the most relaxed (undefined??) of the terms used… as if to say, “I want to play with colors and words. I’m not necessarily happy or sad. I don’t necessarily need to be healed. I may or may not be artistically trained. I just want to throw paint at a page, doodle a bit, maybe add some pictures. I might throw in some words – found or created – for good measure. If I feel like it.” It’s a place to think creatively (as much or as little as we feel like on any given day). A creative journal seems to function on both the sharing/product side and on the private/process side – depending on the person creating it. The choice to share may also change day to day, entry to entry. I think I like this term best for these reasons…
Want to see a few creative journaling ideas? This fun one-minute clip will get you thinking….
All this talk about artful journaling and I wondered: Do people still scrapbook? How is art/visual/creative journaling different from scrapbooking? I’m reminded of Beverly Goldberg as she lovingly cuts, glues and sticks pictures of her ‘schmoopy’ kids. Or, as you’ll see in this clip, her devoted husband gives it a go. 🙂
To answer my question, I asked Google and here’s what I found (I’m paraphrasing): Scrapbooking is defined as ‘recording family life events’ while journaling is associated with reflecting on and recording things we’re experiencing and/or trying to figure out.
Bottom line? Artful journaling (similar to keeping writing journals) is about process. It’s about exploring life, learning, and creative curiosity. It’s about figuring things out, whether privately or publicly. Or both. As you’ll see in this clip, five journal artists share their perspective: “Which type of journal you choose is really about your intent for its purpose.” (18 min clip)
I’ve dabbled in “art journaling” over the past three years, trying different artistic techniques and materials as I’m learning, but realize I’ll probably call it “creative journaling” going forward – with my focus, my intent being on the process (as I do in my writing notebooks). Or, perhaps I’ll continue to keep multiple notebooks/journals to serve various purposes??
Side Note: Though I describe my art-making as process-oriented (read: slow and organic), I’ve recently realized as I’ve been spending more time in my art/creative journal that my ‘making’ is quicker and more clear there. I understand now after reading about these types of journals and hearing various artists’ perspectives about intent that my art for the public impacts my process; I consider what others may or may not like. That’s in stark contrast to my art journaling, for my eyes only… all bets are off. I sometimes choose to share parts of the process along the way, but I am selective, which affords me privacy and unrestraint.
My goal for 2019:
Continue building Creative Community in the new year. I look forward to encouraging others to discover their own creativity through writing, ‘arting,’ and journaling. 🙂
Do you keep a creative (art/writing/etc…) notebook or journal?