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What is Art Journaling?

Art Journaling


What is Art Journaling?

“To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.” -Osho

What is Art Journaling?
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Tara Dufour


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What is Art Journaling?

How Do I Get Started? Here's The Basics.

What is art journaling?

  • Art Journal=A personal journal (or book) filled with any combination of art, imagery and words

Unlimited Expression With No Rules

Simply put, Art Journaling is a visual diary--it's a collage of images, text, stamps, scrapbooking and more that is combined with your creativity to express yourself, decompress, plan or visualize your dreams! It’s a place where you can lay down your thoughts, memories, and emotions through arctic expression and words. There is only one rule to Art Journaling…There are No RULES.

My Art Journaling Experience.

One of my favorite retreat workshops I offer is “Identity Through Creativity”. Many times the workshop involves creating your very first Art Journal. Many of the participants, mostly women or children, have a powerful experience. Once I give them the permission and freedom to express themselves without limitations miracles happen! The revelation and magic produced by participants usually gravitates around a strong self or personal discovery, physical or emotional healing or they are blown by the opportunity of meeting their authentic self for the very first time. When individuals break through the have too’s, grammar and intimidation behind standard journaling the world of personal exploration abounds, leading them down the roads of self they have never seen before. Now I could write a whole article on the science of creativity and the brain, body connections involved but I promised to keep it to the basics for now.

Stop right there… I Know What You Are Going To Say.

Trust me, I can read your thoughts. I know exactly what you are going to say next: "But I'm not an Artist!", that's because everyone in my workshops think and say the very same thing. I've been doing this for over a decade, so I've heard hundreds of reasons why people think creativity and art are synonymous and interchangeable. They disqualify themselves or reject the practice of Art Journaling before they even give it a chance. Can I just say creativity and art often go hand and hand. However, I also have seen artists who lack some creativity and met prolific creatives who are not artists. We all might not be artists but we are creative in our own ways. If you don’t feel creative maybe Art Journaling is the perfect place to start practicing your creative muscle.  So without hesitation, I say to your instant reflex to the idea of art journaling you don’t have to be an artist but you must get out of your comfort zone and be creative.

“I am not creative…” Guess What? I know, Better Yet I Believe You Are.

I believe that everyone has a little hidden creative energy just waiting to be unleashed or tapped into. Obviously, you may not be selling works of art on ETSY, but that is NOT what art journaling is all about! It is an avenue for you to discover more about yourself and the world around you. It is about learning your language of creativity and how to exercise your imagination. It is not about fixed results or outcomes. I'll let you in on a little secret.

We all have a creative superpower and I can prove that you can develop your creativity right here and now. Do you know how to write? Writing is simply practicing shapes over and over again until you have them burned into your memory. However, your own uniqueness is expressed through those organized shapes in your signature without you even trying. Not two personal signatures are alike. They are as individual to you as a fingerprint. What if we stimulated your creativity? It’s like a muscle that needs to be flexed, used and guided to grow and flourish to its full potential. I know that deep down inside you there is a creative longing to come out and play, oh please let her out?

Why Art Journaling Might Be For You.

Art journaling allows you to access new areas of your brain. It helps build bridges between your knowledge and understanding about our feelings and emotions. You may discover things about yourself so deep that only engaging in an art journal may reveal. One thing is for sure you will discover the type of person you really are. Using creativity in the form of artistic tools and expression in a journal doesn't have to be hard, when you take just 15 minutes a day or 1 hour a week to art journal your life will be enriched abundantly. Art journaling creates a deeper sense of self-awareness, empowers us, inspires us, encourages us, and can move us in powerful ways.

PRO-TIP: Are you a busy parent? You may be thinking this looks like a great activity to do with my kids. I want them to grow their personal self-awareness, imagination and creativity muscle. It is! If you find it hard to find time to write a daily journal, try making art journaling a family practice. Everyone will truly benefit from this artistic practice and as a parent you may learn loads about your children.

Here are some of those benefits of art journaling:

  • Eases the stresses of life by getting the chaos inside our heads down on paper

  • Allows us time in the "right side" of our brain, where creativity reigns supreme and problems are more easily solved.

  • The artsy stuff makes every day different, which keeps us motivated to record our stories, feelings, and ideas.

  • We can "see" our own thoughts. Sometimes, when we read back what we've read, we'll gain instant insight as to what we need to do to move forward in a particular situation.

  • It's a creative outlet, but it's also a very productive one, journaling is a very important part of the human experience.

  • Helps us learn to make friends with our creative process and ourselves  instead of stressing over the final outcome.

What Does an Art Journal Look like?

Your art journal can be ANY book you have on hand. I've used an old phonebook, textbooks, magazines and discarded used notebooks. Of course you can start with a new blank art book, notebook, bullet journal or even an adult coloring book, honestly it’s all about starting where you are comfortable.

On the inside pages you can use any supplies you have on hand. You can create with markers, colored pencils, watercolors, washi tape, colored pens, ink stamps, stickers, and even cut outs and a glue stick, which is my favorite! Hey, Techy Peeps! If you are a digital artist you can use your computer to create images or pages and then get them printed.

What You’ll Need To Get Started.

You can start with just a few pieces of paper folded together and any writing or drawing tool you’d like. Of course, you can make your journal as fun, fancy or fabulous as you want, there is an unlimited amount of art materials available today. You can harvest mixed media items from your local dollar store or your neighbor arts & crafts store. Better yet take a look online!

The important thing is to just start! Remember, there are no rules! None… that's what I said! None!

Art Journaling is the journey of finding your style. You don't need much to begin, but if you'd like to know my top favorite supplies here they are:

  1. Prisma Colored Pencils (they even have a watercolor version OMG!)

  2. Any kind of Stamps and Ink

  3. Watercolors any variety will do (the more expensive, the better the pigment though)

  4. Gel Pens all types, including sparkly ones

  5. Colored Pastels

  6. Glue Sticks (I like the purple ones so I can see where the glue is going)

  7. Washi Tape (not all "washi" tape is created equal, this is the real deal)

  8. Glitter Glue (I love glitter in my journals)

  9. Collage Sheets or Scrapbooking sheets

  10. Crayons and Markers

  11. Gesso’

PRO-TIP: Any time you use a wet medium in your journal that bleeds through, consider using a plastic sheet divider or paper protector behind it. You can even try using Gesso! Gesso is used to take a page and turn it into a blank canvas or to prepare your page for watercolor or paints.

Okay, now you know! You have no excuses to give it a go!

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