Monday 20 March 2017

My Art Journaling Journey... so far.

As I seem to have shared so many of my art journal pages recently, I thought it was time to discuss what can be used as an art journal.  The simple answer is... anything can be used for art journaling; from diaries and cheap notebooks, to expensive products created with art journaling and mixed media in mind. In this post, I am not going to look into ways of creating your own art journal, as there are so many methods.  For example, you can make individual pages from card or paper with grunge board as a cover and hold everything together with book rings.  You can even use heavy weight acetate or acrylic to make pages.  The creation of junk journals from old books, where the insides can be removed and replaced with home made signatures is a whole new post, and there are many more experts with experience in this area than me. 

The first journal that I bought to use as an art journal, having been inspired by seeing the pages created by Vicky Papaioannou, was the same as one of the ones that Vicky uses; the Moleskine journal.  It was the most expensive at nearly £10 and ironically enough, the only one that I haven't yet used.  I still haven't plucked up the courage to get started with it (very silly, I know).
My first ever art journal page
Last year, I happened to be in a local art shop when I came across the Pink Pig spiral bound book that has been used, as you can see in the first picture.  It only cost £4.99, has a heavy duty front and back cover and contains cartridge paper (approx. 180gsm).  It was at about the same time that I came across the Mission Inspiration Facebook page run by Mike Deakin, which has monthly prompts.  My first page was in August 2016, and the fact that there were 10 steps which had to be followed in order, gave me the balance of structure and artistic choice that I needed to get me started.  I have kept this journal for the Mission Inspiration challenges ever since.  The best thing about the book is that the covers are so heavy weight, that I can stand it up and display my pages if I wish to.  I miss out a page between layouts and glue them together when I have finished two pages.  I therefore always lay my page out 'landscape' in this journal.
Journal52 Week 2
The second journal that I started, is similar to the Pink Pig book, but is spiral bound 'portrait' and this is how I always work with it.  It came from Alexander Paper Supplies (a local company) and contains 180gsm smooth watercolour card.  Once again, it will stand up easel style to display my work.  To begin with, I tried some of the 'Pick a Stick' 10 step challenges, but I found I didn't enjoy the process as much.  The instructions are picked out randomly and have to be followed in the order in which they are picked, leading to some strange sequences.  I now use this journal for the weekly one word prompt from Journal52 by Effy Wild.

By the start of 2017, I felt confident enough and enthusiastic enough to not only try following weekly prompts, but also to work with one word or very short prompts.  I looked for another group which offered weekly prompts and came across 'Art Journal Prompts' on Facebook.  I had just come across the Create Your Own Scrapbook 8" x 8" spiral bound kraft card book at The Works for the bargain price of £3.  I am still catching up with these prompts as I didn't come the group until Week 10, but I am getting there slowly and trying to complete one extra prompt a week until I catch up.  Once again, I work on every other page and glue them together for added strength.  I really like the fact that I will be able to decorate the front and back covers once it is complete.  There are more than enough pages to keep the whole of 2017 together even though I am missing out pages.  I simply gesso a page before working on it.
The final art journal Facebook group that I am a member of is 'Junk journal junkies and Mindful Art' which I was introduced to by a Facebook friend.  They hold a weekly challenge which consists of three colours and a theme.  As I didn't have a spare journal when I joined the group, I decided to use a notebook with very thin pages that i have had lying around for years.  I simply miss out two pages between layouts and glue the blank ones together to provide additional strength.  I have found that I can use acrylic paints in it without any problem, although I do gesso the pages first.  I have not tried many sprays or water however.  This notebook already has a 'finished' look as it has a mock suede fabric cover with leaves embroidered on it. 
As I have said, anything can be used for art journaling and my latest purchase is a large spiral bound notebook with lined paper.  That doesn't worry me, as I can always cover up the lines with gesso and paint.  The cover just spoke to me and I couldn't leave it in the shop (and especially not as it was on sale for £2).  I haven't used it yet, but the cover says it all.  You don't need lots of art supplies, an art journal page can be created with pen and ink, colouring pencils, hand drawn, an outpouring of your thoughts.  It can be for sharing or to be kept private, but it is one of the best ways that I have found to relax.

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