In a world full of experts and professionals, it can feel overwhelming and intimidating to venture out into a new area and learn a new skill. We often believe that some people are just “born” artists, and that only a few people in the world will have the opportunity to express themselves artistically and creatively. Well, I’m pretty sure that there really ARE people who are better at some things than others, and that there ARE people who have more training, experience, and credentials in the area of the arts. That’s like saying that there are people in the world who have more education than another person . . . it’s TRUE!
But that doesn’t mean that YOU can’t have the gift of discovering creativity in your life. And that’s where the whole process of art journaling comes into play. You see, in creating and art journal, there really are no rules to follow, or expectations to be met. You aren’t going to get a grade on your art journal, and no one ever even needs to see your creations. Unless you want to share them with us, that is!
According to Tangie Baxter in her blog post, “What is art journaling?” she defines it this way: “Simply put, Art Journaling is a visual diary–it’s record keeping combined with creativity! It’s a place to record your thoughts, memories, and emotions through images, art and words. The number one rule about Art Journaling is that…there are NO rules.” That’s what I LOVE about art journaling! As a fiber artist, I recognize that I’m not great at drawing or painting, but I can figure out how to put pretty designs and shapes together on a page, and I can even use stitching on some of my art pages. I also have a pretty good collection of vintage buttons, lace, ribbons, and old papers and other stuff that I use on my art journal pages.
Maybe you don’t feel like you can do any of those things, so you decide that you simply aren’t an artist after all. But wait! If you ever loved to get out your crayons and coloring book when you were a kid . . . or if you had fun cutting and gluing pieces of paper together . . . or if you played with paper dolls . . . . or if you ever found yourself sticking Band-aids or tape or stickers on the side of the refrigerator when you were five years old . . . then YOU can make an art journal! Besides the fact that you CAN make an art journal, you NEED to take time to reflect on your life, on your day, on your vision for your future, on the joys and sorrows of your past. That’s because God made us all in His image, and HE is the Creator!
Tangie Baxter puts it this way: “We believe that everyone has a reservoir of creative energy just waiting for permission to be used! True, you may not be selling your artwork at a gallery anytime soon, but that is NOT what art journaling is all about! This is purely for you to explore more about yourself and the world around you. It is learning to enjoy the process of creativity and not being fixed on the end results. I’ll let you in on a little secret, I have awesome superpowers and I can prove that you are an artist right here and now. Do you know how to write? Writing is simply practicing artistic shapes over and over and over again until you had them memorized. See? You are an artist! Creativity is a muscle that needs to be flexed and used to grow and flourish to its full potential. I know that deep down inside you there is an artist just waiting to come out and play, won’t you let her out?”
The other good thing about art journaling is that you don’t need any special supplies. If you have a composition book and a pencil, you can start! And then when you decide to get a bit more adventurous, you can fold a few pieces of notebook paper or copy paper the size you want, staple them together, and start doodling. Another idea is to make your own book out of any ol’ cardboard pieces you have laying around. You can punch holes in one side, add some pages (maybe from your folded up pieces of paper) with holes punched in the side, and then bind them all together with apiece of ribbon or string. Then start adding stuff!
Here are some pictures of the “stuff” that I glue into my art journals . . . . I like to make little envelopes, pockets, and even tiny booklets that fit nicely into my pockets and envelopes. You can cut tags out of lightweight cardboard, or scrapbook paper (I use mostly leftover scraps of paper for my tags), or 3 X 5 index cards. Then, decorate them with drawings, doodles, words, or really anything at all. I have so much fun embellishing my tags and little booklets with scraps of pretty paper, ribbons, lace, buttons, or even ripped up paper scraps. You can add words that are meaningful to you, or quotes, or your own words, poetry, stories, or sayings.
(if you want to start with a monthly calendar page, you can find free printable calendars right here at Vintage Mama’s Cottage!)
In her article, “A beginner’s guide to art journaling” on her blog, EsKaa Makes, Selina reminds us that: “You don’t do it for the result, but for the process. Experimenting with colours, materials, images, words to express yourself, without the pressure that I often feel, to deliver a certain outcome. There are no rules, it’s total freedom of creativity. It feels so liberating!”
So here is one more word of encouragement for YOU to give it a try! I know you are busy. I know you don’t think you are interested. I know that you might even think it is a waste of time when you have so many other more important things to do. I know that. But I promise you, if you just give it a try, I’ll be right here to cheer you on. In the meantime, I’m working on a blog post to introduce you to one of my favorite artists who didn’t think she was an artist either . . . . and then she decided to try out a few ideas that she had whirling around in her head. She didn’t have any money to buy fancy art supplies, so she used what she had on hand. You will love her and you will love her whimsical art work. I’ll tell you more about her tomorrow! Come on, get started on your own creative journey of art journaling. You can’t do it wrong!
(Creative inspiration from Tangie Baxter)