Finding it challenging to maintain a daily journal? I did, too, a year ago. Then I discovered art journaling.
My Art Journaling Journey
I love writing. I like the idea of putting my thoughts on paper with a pen. But then, why can’t I keep up with my supposedly journaling habit?
“it’s not only the benefit of catharsis in the moment of writing that makes journaling so effective – It’s also reviewing what you’ve written.” Lindsey Pratt Psychotherapy, LMHC, said. that is where ideas keep on floating inside my head, but they never get translated into words nor do I see them in black-on-white on my journal sheets. I desired to keep my diary full, but all that stared back at me were pages after pages of pristine blank nothingness (Okay, that’s melodramatic).
Then I chanced upon a Pinterest page of creatively colorful journals. And that chance encounter introduced me to the world of art journaling.
Art Journaling: What Is It?
Wiki defines an art journal as a diary kept by the artist and contains both words and images, at times in mixed media presentations such as collages. While I agree with the definition’s latter part, I strongly contradict its first part.
Art journaling isn’t just for artists. Anyone who wishes to mix art with words can do them.
Personally, it’s a medium ideal for the creative person, for the individual who finds it difficult to express his thoughts, ideas, and emotions through words, for those who loathe writing and want a more exciting alternative and for those who want to see more than words spring up from their journal pages. Simply put, art journaling is for everybody.
I didn’t buy any fancy sketchpad or notebook when I started my art journaling journey. I’ve written a few entries in my journal – a cheap (about $2) pad with, fortunately, thick enough pages – and decided to continue using that even though I’ve changed mediums.
I was always fond of doing doodles, so I bought gel pens in black, blue, and red colors for that as well as colored pens to fill in my drawings (nothing fancy, just low-cost ones) along with a few school supplies I thought I could use along the way. All in all, I think I only spent about $5 on everything.
There are many forms of art journals to choose from when opting to do one. Below are the most common types:
Standard Art Journal – the general kind, a mix of words and images with an emphasis on the latter.
Themed Art Journal – the journal keeper chooses a theme or a topic to base all his entries on.
Sketchbook – a journal of sketches and practiced drawings.
Scrapbook – yes, scrapbooking is an art journal form!
Glue Book – a medium that uses notebook, glue and anything you can glue on the former’s pages. You can do collages of things you find and cut to create something artful.
Coloring Journal – a journal made out of the coloring pages you’ve colored. To do this, date your art page after you’re done coloring then put each inside plastic sheets and bind them together.
For my art journal, I chose the standard one as I didn’t like the limitations I had to adhere to if I opted to go with the themed one. Over time, though, my regular art journal evolved into something with a theme, into a glue book, and a scrapbook. But as art journals are primarily made to satisfy your creative side, I believe it is okay to deviate.
“Journaling is great for enhancing self-awareness through helping us detect and track patterns of behavior, thoughts, and feelings.” Alison Stone, LCSW, said. And for me, chose to use song lyrics to describe my thoughts, emotions, and ideas in my art diary. Then, when I decided to read the whole book of Psalms for my Bible reflections a few months back, I decided to do a verse or two that caught my attention during my readings. I wrote these verses in handwritten calligraphy and gave myself the freedom to doodle on anything.
Writing the verses on paper made recalling them easier. And writing in my art journal gave me a sense of contentment I didn’t feel when I was merely jotting down events of my day. The drawings, the doodles I did make looking back through the entries I wrote more interesting compared to using simple words to describe events. Most importantly, I noticed that my creativity improved.
To date, my art journal is a smorgasbord of written emotions and random thoughts, a few flower cutouts, drawn flowers and feathers wreaths, and calligraphy. It’s messy, but it’s mine, and I love it.
You might think, “Oh, I’m not artistic, creative or anything so art journals aren’t for me.”
But honestly, anyone can try his hands on art journaling. It isn’t supposed to be a masterpiece but an expression, an outlet of one’s inner self. “Some have found it valuable to keep journals and then go back and read them to see how far they have progressed,” says Kathy Hardie-Williams, NCC, LPC, LMFT, That’s all that matters.
If you’re not a drawer, why not do collages or scrapbooks instead? Let your imagination go beyond its limits. It’s the best way to discovering the best you can do all the while reaping the benefits journaling gives you.