Art Journaling – Out Of Bounds

Definition of Out-of-Bounds

Merriam Webster defines out-of-bounds as something “outside the prescribed or conventional boundaries or limits.”  For example, in sports being beyond or passing the limits or boundaries of a field or a course, is out-of bounds. Anything behavior that is beyond established boundaries or prescribed limits is said to be out-of bounds.

Digital scrapbooking was once considered out-of-bounds. The paper scrapping community argued that it wasn’t really scrapbooking because it was done on a computer. Gradually, though, digi scrapbooking became widespread.

When art journaling appeared on the digital scene, it too, was considered out-of-bounds. Ironically, most of the same digi community that struggled for acceptance in the scrapping world had trouble accepting this kind of art. It was out-of-bounds (in their thinking) both in terms of memory keeping and it’s “no rules” philosophy. Throw the “mixed media” aspect into the mix and chaos ensued. So much chaos, in fact, that digi artists felt compelled to open sites that took a more welcoming approach to “out-of-bounds” art. Remember Deviant Scraps (now Mischief Circus)? As you know, eventually digi art journaling/mixed media was brought into the “fold” along with photorealistic art and what’s referred to as “digital artistry” or “Photoshop artistry”. 

The Out of Bounds Dilemma

 All this acceptance, though, created a new set of problems – especially for owners of sites that were previously “scrapbooking” sites. They had branding/name recognition issues to consider. Starting all over with a name that didn’t appear to limit the intended audience to scrappers would be nearly impossible and had dire financial consequences. And how to deal with customers that didn’t want to accept the expanded view of what constitutes “art?”  It’s a problem that continues today  – who decides what is “acceptable” as art? The only answer I have for you is my own opinion, which is “you decide”.  Whatever works for you is ok. But, as is true in the rest of life, you can’t – and shouldn’t – try to force others to comply with your own ideas of what is right and what is wrong. Nothing is ever going to work for everyone.  If it’s not for you, that’s ok. Move on.

The Appeal of Art Journaling

Being permitted to go “out-of-bounds” is the very thing that draws many people to art journaling. That’s what got me – being able to do it any way that captured my fancy. I don’t look at the pages of others and say, “hmmm … that’s not art journaling” because the art form is way too personal. You can’t tell by looking at a page what the artist was thinking as they created it. Sometimes, there’ll be clues.

But not all journaling has hidden messages, or pictures, or even journaling – and that’s ok. As I said in my Art Journaling 101 post, ask any group of people to define art journaling and you’ll get that many answers. 
Does that mean there really are “no rules” in art journaling? From my perspective, there is no one style that defines art journaling. There are overall design principles that, when applied, will help you end up with a piece that satisfies the eye or feels “finished.”

But sometimes whatever it is you need to say breaks every single design rule – any maybe even some society norms. That’s what helps me be creative.  That permission to go out-of-bounds. I hope you will learn to feel that permission too and stop worrying about the “right” way to do art journaling. I’ll share with you some of what I’ve learned about the craft and some ways I re-create mixed media effects digitally on a page. I share some of the design principals I’ve learned along the way. But ultimately, it’s your call.


Out-of-Bounds in Digital Scrapbooking

So, what got me all philosophical about this topic? Oddly enough, it was the technique my Creative Team member, Gina, used on her wonderful page, “Happiness”. If you look carefully at the photo, the women appear to be stepping over the frame – or out of the boundaries of their one dimensional photo. It occurred to me that being brave enough to step out-of-bounds applies to many areas of our lives and in particular our art.

Looking at Gina’s page, it might seem that an out of bounds technique is difficult to accomplish. It’s surprisingly simple though –  if you knew a few Photoshop techniques. I’ll step you through them in the tutorial below. 

If you’d like to leave Gina some love on her page. you’ll find it in my designer gallery at Oscraps. She used my Miss Ella kit. And I’d love to know how you feel about “out-of-bounds” – are you ready to step out of the box in your art? What do you perceive as your biggest obstacle to doing so? I really would love to hear from you – either in the comments here, or in my FB Art Journaling Community.

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