For the last several years I’ve attempted to keep an art journal without too much success. However this year I decided to try again after discovering The Documented Life Project which is a free online project complete with support group and weekly challenges.
I like the idea of a keeping a daily journal as a visual reminder of my life because the days fly by so quickly as you get older, and it’s easy to forget the small things that are worth remembering.
But first I realized that I would need to deal with the challenges that I faced in previous years that kept me from making my art journal, otherwise this year would end up the same with little to show for it. So I gave some thought to the process of making and keeping an art journal, and finally came up with a solution that worked for me.
I realized that in previous years my main problems were time restrictions, overwhelm at the whole process, not really knowing where to start, and wanting my pages to be “perfect”. So this year I let all of that go and broke the process down into small steps that were comfortable for me to work with.
Instead of working with a purchased sketchbook which is kind of intimidating with all those empty pages, I’m making my own pages. This is a really creative process and is the perfect way to try out new techniques using my gelatine plate, Inktense blocks, and other surface design techniques suitable for making background pages.
To get started I needed some colored pages, so I dragged out my gelatine plate which I made about six weeks ago and I’m happy to report that it’s in perfect condition. If you want to make a permanent gelatine plate, you can find the link in this post.
I folded some cardstock sheets in half and made a bunch of grungy background pages that I can use as the pages for my art journal. The technique for making these types of monoprints is quite easy and fun and I made a video which I have yet to edit, but I should have it online later this week.
Filling a whole page each day is very intimidating and can easily become overwhelming, so I chose to start by using a half page for each day. Then on days when I have more time I can fill a whole page if I choose. So at the end of each day I set aside 15-30 minutes to complete my pages. I’ve found that it’s a relaxing way to end the day and can be quickly and easily achieved by choosing one small thing as a reminder of the day.
Using stamps and embellishments to decorate the page is fun and creative.
Quick washi tape.
At some point down the track I’ll make a cover for the journal and then consider how I want to join the pages to make a book. In the meantime, just making an entry each day is enough.
I’ve also begun the first challenge from The Documented Life Project which is to photograph, sketch, paint or incorporate your front door. This is not my front door obviously, but I already had this doorway leftover from a previous project and it’s much nicer than my real front door so I decided it can be the magical doorway to this year.
Keeping an art journal has many benefits and can be used as a way to self-explore or express your creative nature. If you’ve been thinking about starting an art journal, I think the trick is to stop worrying about how everyone else does it, figure out a way that works for you, and then stop making excuses and just do it.
I’m really enjoying the process so far and I’m sure that if you decide to start an art journal for yourself, you’ll enjoy it also.