Art journal pages – why? What are they for? That was the very honest question posed by someone unfamiliar with art journaling. She went on to 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 my Art Journaling 101 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 you 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. You’ll take your time, look through the aisles, try things on out of curiosity – perhaps 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 something to say or an idea that can’t wait to translate into something you can see. But more often than not, at least for me, the need is to create something — anything — that gets me to actually start the process.
Art Journal Defined
I 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. I also create digital art journaling pages that get posted in galleries, or printed on my home printer and incorporated into my physical journals.
As I look through those journals, 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 am surprised because sometimes I surprise myself. Not always in a good way. Lol!