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Friday, August 31, 2018

How to Art Journal

 Art Journaling Series: part 1


                Have you ever wanted to start a journal but didn’t know where to start, what to write about, what to leave out? Ever start a journal and get overwhelmed by the details of life or been afraid it would be seen by your family or kids one day or the whole world if you ever had five minutes of fame? Trust me I have been there. I have been journaling in some form on and off since I was 10 years old. I know all the struggles but I have also reaped many of the benefits and that is what I want to share with you.

                Art journaling is a whole category of journaling that helped me overcome many of the pitfalls of traditional journaling. It simply means journaling that includes images. You don’t have to be an artist. There are lots for techniques that take little to no artistic training.  Though, it is a wonderful place to explore new art techniques and tools if you are artistically inclined.
                Journaling helps you make connections and give meaning to the events that happen to you and in the world around you. When done right it reinforces positive pathways in your brain and solidifies your values and world view. It gives you practice in reacting to the world in the way that you deem respectable and constructive. Too many times, however, my written journals have spiraled into rants that only escalated the situation in my own head. The beauty I have found in art journaling is that it is light on words and heavy on meaning. It is hard to get carried away in chronicling the details of an event when you only have a page or two to fill with images. It cuts straight to the emotions and meaning of the situation and keeps the personal defenses down.
                It turns out that this kind of journaling is healthy for your mind and body. The things you reflect on most you learn from and remember long term. All the other junk information that streams through your day can just fall away. According to Scientific America studies have shown that reflective, values focused journaling helps you cope better with stress, heal better, boosts your immune system, and may even raise you GPA in school. So that’s how I passed nursing school! Ha

So How do You Start?

                Honestly, there are no rules, but I have tried tons of ideas that I am happy to share. All of them will take WAY more than this one blog post though. So, I have made this a series that I will add to every other week between all the other interests I post about. I will share journaling ideas, prompts, tools, and techniques as well as my own art journals to encourage you.

First, Gather MATERIALS.


Of course, you will need a JOURNAL. My favorite is the Strathmore visual journal. It has a hard cover to protect your work. Thick pages that can take on about any kind of medium (that’s your pencils, paints, inks, markers, and glue) and it is spiral bound so it can expand with what ever you put in it.  
Drawing/ painting tools. Pens, pencils, markers, watercolor paint or craft paint, even crayons. The sky is really the limit here.
Collage supplies. For those that are not very confident in their drawing skills you will love this one. Gather your favorite magazines, mailers from your favorite stores, children’s books. And Glue. Some of my favorites are quality gluesticks, mod podge, and acid free double-sided tape. You might want a sponge brush to apply the glue but I find my finger and a damp rag to clean in off work just fine.
Alphabet stamps and stencils. Until you are more confident with your own hand lettering this is a good place to start. Stencils offer all kinds of possibilities and the stamps are great for memorizing things as well because you have to find each letter separately. You can do this by cutting words out of magazines too if you don’t have stamps yet.
A bag to keep your supplies in so you can journal anywhere. Availability will help you keep you journaling habit consistent.  My favorite is actually from an Indiana nonprofit organization called the First Chance Center. Their Envision line of bags are so sturdy and have tons of pockets and best yet they provide training and jobs to people with disabilities who otherwise may not have got a chance in the work force. 

Second, Decide on your STYLE.

                What purpose is it going to serve for you? Is it to encourage you, help you study something you want to know more about, to process grief or and illness, or to help you remember things, etc. My first art journal was in art school (duh) and was specifically to help me become a better artist. That evolved into a journal to capture my ideas. That was a pocket size one I carried everywhere with me. Then there were travel journals, and health journals and devotionals, and dare I mention, scrapbooking! That is the most common and well-known form of art journaling. So here is a list of types of journaling that I can tell you a bit more about.

🌿The Field Journal: This journal helps you perfect a skill or learn more about a subject. Think Audubon or DaVinci. They drew in journals to better illustrate their research.
✨The Timeline Journal: This is akin to the scrapbook. It tells a story about your life.
🌿The Travel Journal:  This can be one journal for each long trip or book of all the places far and near that you stay in, dine in, or explore.
✨The Devotional/prayer Journal:  A meditation journal in which you spend a set portion of each day in spiritual thought, be it through verse, quotes, prayer or gratefulness.
🌿The Garden Journal: Part planner, part record, the garden journal helps you remember what worked and what didn’t and in what season to do or expect certain things. It can also be used as simply another way to appreciate the garden and can help get through the doldrums of winter.
✨The Vision Journal: This can help you on the way to meeting a goal. It helps you visualize where you want to be, how you get there and records your little successes along the way. All the big motivational speakers suggest these steps but you can keep these all in one place with an art journal.
🌿The Health Journal: This type is more focused. Whatever area of your life you want to get healthier in, it is always helpful to keep a journal. In mental health, losing weight, finding food sensitivities, and so on using glyphs, stencils or stickers to log your new routines and celebrate each achievement along the way will make it more fun.
✨The Happy Thoughts Journal: My personal favorite. I will be including a prompt list for this one soon. In this one you fill the pages with things that make you smile, memories or great times, and the words of people who love and encourage you. With this just near by you can never forget how good life really is.

Finally, Just do it.

Remember you don’t have to share these with anyone else. So, if you start out a little clumsy, no worries. It’s all about the process. And I will be here to guide you if you need it. My next post will include prompts, more examples and simple techniques. I am super excited to share this journey with you hope you enjoy it too.
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