First reaction: OMG! I don't know what I'm doing!
Second reaction: man, what should I make? There's no 'boundaries' like there is with scrapping... how do I know what the P2S girls want? I know I did Dina's class recently but... err.... HELP!
Third reaction: oh well, I can get all my stencils and paints out. Woot, I don't know what the hell I'm doing, but I'm going to get messy, yay!
If, like me, you are new to art journalling, or are yet to give it a go yourself, you might know where I'm coming from. Being such a free-form, personal, individual thing, it's hard to get a handle on what the point of it is. You know, I struggled with that for a while - I've seen other scrappy friends' gorgeous colourful work and thought 'wow, that's pretty' but when I've tried to give it a go myself, I've felt a bit lost. Like I couldn't quite see why I'd do an art journal page when I could do a layout instead.
I kind of thought of art journalling as a 'nice, but not for me' thing for a while. And I really think if you're going to journal in the traditional sense, meaning you've got yourself a book and you want to try and write stuff, then it might help to have a theme or a purpose to give yourself some structure to work within if you know what I mean. Especially if, like me, you've never really been a diary-keeping kinda person so you feel a bit exposed putting personal thoughts on paper.
Of course, if you're brimming with inspiration and just want to get stuck in, that's great!
But sometimes a big white blank page staring back at you can be a wee bit indimidating for us creative folks, so to ease yourself into it, you could try starting with a theme of sorts... who knows where you'll end up, but these ideas might help you overcome scary blank page syndrome.
Here's some ideas:
- A traditional daily journal / diary for your thoughts
- A record of an important time in your life, or a period of change like babies / weight loss / finally feeling like an adult(!) / relationship changes / travel
- An outlet for dealing with an illness, your own or someone else's
- A book to simply practice colour mixing or to test out different techniques with your supplies
- A dream journal
- A book to paste all your Photo-A-Day pics in
- A bucket list
- Secrets, poems, feelings, dark thoughts that you need to get out of your head
Having said that, I've just read another blog that says 'don't have a theme', so the upshot is, do whatever ya want! :)
What I've found over the years I've been scrapping is that sometimes I want to record a feeling or a moment and I don't have a photo to go with it. Art journalling is great for that. You might be in the car with your family, looking forward to a lovely day out, and you look over at your hubby and he smiles at you, and you feel wonderful in that moment... it's not really the time to go 'hang on honey let me Instagram that so I can scrap this later'... (although maybe we have all done that at some point...).
Of course, there's no rules with an art journal, so if you want treat it like a scrap album and add photos to your pages, then why not? In fact, you might want to check out Karyn Pawson's project for this month which is a record of an awesome event where she has combined photos and art journalling. Check it out in store; it's so detailed, I love it!
Ultimately, its about the journey, not the destination. Enjoy getting messy. Give all your paints / mists / inks a workout. Get stuck in and make mistakes. And just accept that people at work won't understand why your fingers have been green for three days. :)
As you can see I don't really have a particular style or theme or anything going on here...
I love how this page turned out, although it looked pretty crappy to start with. Note I've used some lines of text cut from vintage papers - this is a good starting point if you don't want to journal, or you're one of those people that never knows what to say! :)
Another good thing about art journalling... you don't need mountains of supplies. Just a few essentials, and the rest you've most likely got in your stash already. Confession: I have 7 tubes of paint. That's it. And 16 mists and inks. Not really that much compared to some lovely ladies I know!
So what do you need? You don't 'need' much of anything really - some thick watercolour paper, anything to make pretty colours with, and a good journalling pen (Fude Ball pens are awesome, P2S should have them in store). Try out any pens and pencils you have lying around to see what works well on your pages. I still have a mountain of sketching pencils from when I studied fashion design years ago, so I have dug out some charcoal pencils and a Chinagraph pencil (white and waxy) which is fun to scribble with too.
A palette knife (or an old credit card), baby wipes and paper towels (prepare for major mess) and a Ranger craft sheet also come in handy.
Other stuff you might like to add to your stash if you don't already have these things:
- Gesso (basically undercoat - for making colours brighter and more vibrant)
- Gel medium (for sticking stuff on - lots nicer to work with than PVA glue)
- Texture paste (for some lumpy bumpy stencilling action)
- Stencils, masks and stamps: big bold patterns seem to work best for me, fine and intricate designs seem to get a bit lost and smooshed into everything else, but maybe that's just me. Pages 2 Scrap have a fantastic selection of stencils.
- Black Archival ink
- Vintage ephemera or any bits and pieces that take your fancy
- And I hear Dyan Reaveley's journals are awesome to work in although I have yet to get my hands on one :)
If you want some ideas on how to get started, you can check out the blogs of such awesome ladies as Dina Wakley, Dyan Reaveley, or check out Pinterest for some great inspiration!
Another good thing about art journalling - you can do it with your kids.
I know this probably makes me a meanie, but I have never really let Holly (who is 3 and very crafty) join in scrapping with me as she is an octopus and wants to touch / use / mess up / break everything, so generally my scrap time is after the kids are in bed. But, I can say that I have road tested art journalling with a 3 year old and it was pretty nice for an hour or so. Then her brother wanted to join in and the fighting started, but with just the two of us, it was working ok! She used some of my old stamps and ink pads, and I put some paints out for her, and we enjoyed craft time together :)
In the green page above, I've punched those sea-green circles from a painting Holly did at daycare; so it's good for re-using the piles of kids artwork from school as well!
So... if you'd like to give art journalling a go, head in to Pages 2 Scrap for some essentials - I've used watercolour paper, Liquitex gel medium, Prima stamps and stencils, TCW stencils, Golden brand paints, Dylusions, Glimmer Mists, assortment of brushes and knives.
Till next time, stay crafty!