Art Journal Pages – Do They Have a Purpose?

Vick Robinson Art JournalArt journal pages – why? What are they for? That was the very honest question posed by one of the members of my FB Art Journaling Community. She went on say that to her – unlike scrapbook pages, or planners, or appointment journals – art journal pages seemed to have no purpose. Just what are they FOR. What do you DO with your art journal pages? As I was thinking on this, it occurred to me these are probably common questions. In a previous post, I gave you my personal definition of art journaling. But that still begs the question of “what are art journal pages for.” An analogy started to form in my mind ….

An Art Journal Analogy

Bear with me now. To me, there are two reasons you might go clothes shopping. The first is you need something to wear, so your trip has a defined purpose. You may not know exactly what it is you want to buy, but you’ll know it when you see it and you start out with the intention to find something. That’s the equivalent of a scrapbooker, planner or appointment journal, right? You may not know how a scrapbook page will end up, or how exactly your will decorate your planner/appointment journals, but your intent is to record some memory or event or to track something. With me so far?

The second reason you might go clothes shopping is for the pure love of shopping. Alone or with a friend. Taking your time, looking through the aisles, trying things on out of curiosity – maybe a style you never thought to try or a color that you’ve always avoided. Just to see what’s new or what catches your attention. You aren’t in a hurry, you have no particular goal in mind and if you don’t end up buying anything you won’t be disappointed. See where I’m going with this?

Art journal pages are like reason number two. You do them just for you – for the satisfaction of creating something. To play with new colors or experiment with an interesting technique. You make art journal pages because creating makes you happy and feeds your soul. Maybe, sometimes, shopping reason number one plays a role because you have a something to say or an idea that can’t wait to translate onto something physical. But more often than not, at least for me, the need is to create.

Art Journal Defined

Vicki Robinson Designs Art JournalI think, when it comes to art journaling, people get hung up on the word “journaling” because they equate it with “writing,” – which leads them to think along the lines of a visual diary. While art journal pages may, indeed, be a visual diary for some, Merriam-Webster defines a “journal” as “a record of experiences, ideas, or reflections kept regularly for private use.”  If you accept that definition, then you can accept that an art journal can be anything you want it to be. It’s yours to use as you see fit.  It’s like the art you hang on your wall  – on the surface it seems to serve no real purpose. But think about it … it fills an otherwise blank space and you like to look at it – and you don’t particularly care if other people get it. So it is with art journaling.

What to do With Art Journals

That question makes me chuckle – because I’ve asked myself that many, many times. I do most of my art journaling in already bound books of mixed media paper or old altered books. I have a few (ok more than a few) stacks of loose journal pages that I’ll ( … eventually) bind in a very simple way and then they’ll sit with my other piles of journals. As I look through them, I am alternately pleased and sometimes surprised at what I find. Pleased because I created something I still like when I look at it and surprised because sometimes I surprise myself. Not always in a good way.  Lol!

Lighter Than Air

I used and old kit to make this digital page because it had the colors I was looking for.  I’ve been trying to decide if I should bring “Lighter Than Air” out of retirement.  What do you think? And I’d be very interested in your take on the question of what art journaling is for! I look forward to your comments.


16 thoughts on “Art Journal Pages – Do They Have a Purpose?

  1. Hi although I have retired other commitments eg. children, pets, rheumatoid arthritis all limit my time. It is not a moan I consider myself blessed.
    I prefer to keep my work in digital format for privacy and do not Facebook or utilise other public websites.
    I have purchased art journaling kits and my goal is to try produce one page a month to record the highs and lows! I love to see what others produce for inspiration and challenges to my own abilities!

    • I totally get the privacy thing, Mairi! And I, too, am retired. The digi art kit designing thing and my granddaughter – not to mention other commitments keep me busier than when I was “working”! Lol! Congrats on your goal for creating pages! Art journaling is a wonderful outlet! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog!

      • I like the elements that you have used here. How do you make them transparent . And some of tthem white. I don’t know how to make those. I like you to explain how did you make them

  2. Interesting post. I’m not a shopper (I hate shopping whether I need something or not), but I enjoy art journaling as a form of “therapy”. Just a way to take time to myself and get out of the stress, the grind of daily life. I usually end up with a smile on my face from doing an AJ page (I tend to do positive pages more than negative, to keep remembering myself that life is good).

  3. Your analogy is divine! Art Journaling is sort of all about aesthetics.
    To me, another way that sets it apart from scrapbooking is that there is a ‘message’ of some sort. Many AJ pages have little quotes or elements that imply “Happy” or “Sad” or even “Encouragement”. This tells me a lot about that person, especially, a friend. So, it’s a way of learning about each other. It is another way of expressing ourselves, because digitally, friendship terms are a bit different.
    Many AJ pages have some catch word or meaning akin to encouragement. Like ‘You can do it!” I think of these as the digital equivalent to a hug.
    Or, at least, that’s what I think!

    • What a great way to put it! “Equivalent to a hug” – that’s so perfect! I love pages that have message. And when pages don’t, I like to think the message is the art itself. xo

  4. Yes, love the shopping analogy. Shopping can be a creative act- a way of engaging with the world of physical things, ideas, colour and concepts. We are all born creative and have the impulse to express that creativty…it’s what moves life forward. There are as many forms of creativity as there are human beings. Art journaling is a particular form of creative expression. Those of us drawn to it enjoy working in a visual field that uses lines, shape, colour, spatial atrangement…all the tools of visual expression, as well as the freedom to colour in or outside our own lines. We journal because there is something in us that needs and longs to be expressed in the world. The images we create all have their own beauty because they express some aspect of our humanity. That is why they matter.

  5. Love your shopping analogy Vicki! I love shopping of just about any kind, except the weekly grocery run! For me, art journaling is all about fun and the chance to try out new things whether it be new products or new techniques. Sometimes I add some word art or word snippets, but never too much actual journaling in the sense of writing about feelings or anything like that. Sharron L, I love your idea of interspersing AJ pages in your regular scrapbook albums. Brilliant!

  6. I like your analogy, and can’t add a thing to that (except I hate clothes [or any other kind of] shopping, and I love art journaling). But as to what to do with them:
    I used to put them in the clear protectors in a 3-ring binder. But now I just intersperse them with the scrapbook pages I make. So they are essentially going into the current album at about the time I make them. I like doing it this way because it not only breaks up the Slice Of Life scrapbook pages, but reminds me of where my head was at about the time I was doing the scrap pages.

  7. For me art journaling is just a time when I can sit down at the computer (mine are all digital) and just play or like you said experiment with different techniques. I’m not happy with the outcome most of the time, but I save them all to a folder and then come back to them later. Sometimes, I’m even able to incorporate a piece of them into a page but mainly use pieces from them for my planner pages that I print out.

    • I love that you sometimes find a way to use parts of pages you didn’t particularly care for in your planner pages!

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