I’m teaching art journaling/creative sketchbooking right now – I’ve wanted to teach it for a long time but for some reason it was a hard sell. I finally got someone to take me up on it and the students are loving it!  My class is called #Sketchbook Magic/Permission to Create.

What is art journaling?

For some, art journaling is about beautiful, perfect pages with hand-drawn images.  That’s not what I’m about, as you can see from the image above.  My teachers, who I’ve studied with online, are Lisa Sonora and Shelley Klammer, and both are art therapists.  For them, it’s not about pretty pictures it’s about the journey, the process, and it doesn’t matter what it looks like, beyond what the images have to teach you about yourself.

It’s journaling, it’s writing, but with paint and color and fun and freedom and images.  And those images don’t need to be images that you create, they can be photos or drawings from magazines, they can be words you’ve cut out, images you rubber stamp.

Here’s Amy Maricle’s definition of an art journal:

“An art journal is the same as a written journal, except that it incorporates colors, images, patterns, and other materials. Some art journals have a lot of writing, while others are purely filled with images. It’s a form of creative self-care.”  

How can I get started with art journaling?

The class I’m teaching right now is only three sessions long, so I wanted to give my students resources to help them as they continue their journeys at home.  Here are some of the resources that I shared with my students.

This list includes free e-courses and e-books, paid e-courses, lists of prompts to help you know what to write about when you get stuck and more.  And at the end, there’s a free download of a page of my image-quotes for you to print out and cut and paste in your own sketchbook/journal.

Why #Sketchbook Magic?

Because having a creative sketchbook practice really can be magic for you.  It can be a voyage of self-discovery.  It can be a place to practice being creative, with consistency.  It can be a safe place to put all your feelings, experience art making without judgement and with joy, which pours over into your “real” life.

Places to go for further study

https://kristalnorton.com/art-journaling-101  Free e-course

http://mindfulartstudio.com/what-is-an-art-journal   Amy Maricle, art therapist

https://www.expressiveartworkshops.com Shelley Klammer, art therapist

http://www.clothpaperscissors.com/art-journaling Free e-books

http://lisasonora.com  Lisa Sonora, art therapist.  Fee courses.  Free writing prompts.

https://www.expressiveartworkshops.com/expressive-art-journal-prompts/art-journal-therapy-index  Writing and art prompts.

Here are some quotes for you to use in your journals if you like, you can also see this as image-quotes in my blog post series, 100 Creativity Tips.

“You can’t use up creativity, the more you use, the more you have.” ~Maya Angelou

“If you want fresh ideas, it is best to get fresh mud on your boots.”  ~Agatha Swanburn

“A ship in port is safe, but that is not what ships are for.  Sail out to the sea and do new things.” 

~Marion Wright Edelman

“An artist can show things that other people are terrified of expressing.”  ~Louise Borgious

“Clean out a corner of your mind and creativity will instantly fill it.”  ~Dee Hock

“Talent arises out of love and self-acceptance.”  ~Shelley Klammer

“When we are able to find what makes us different, we find the source of our true creative power.”  ~Aimee Mullins

If it’s easy, it’s sustainable.

50 Art Journal Prompts

April Bowles-Olin has a terrific list of 50 fun art journal prompts, check ’em out:  http://www.blacksburgbelle.com/2010/10/50-art-journal-prompts

Psychology Today has a nice list of their “Top Ten Art Therapy Visual Journaling Prompts:” https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/arts-and-health/201311/top-ten-art-therapy-visual-journaling-prompts

What else can I tell you?  It’s a wonderful practice and I hope you give it a try!  Oh, maybe you’d like to know my favorite sketchbook?  I like the 9″ x 12″ Canson Mix-Media spiral bound book.

They usually have a blue cover, but sometimes it’s black, and thrillingly, they’ve just come out with a spiral bound, hard cover version of this sketchbook.

Why do I love this sketchbook so much?  It’s primarily about the paper.  Because it’s designed for paint, or whatever you want to throw at it, I can paint the pages and they don’t warp.  Permanent marker (for the most part) does not bleed through.

The covers are also nice and sturdy and hold up to collaging, even with a coating of gel medium on top to seal it.

Watch for these to go on sale each year at back-to-school supply sales at both your favorite local big box craft store and Blick Art Supplies.

I use inexpensive craft paints (the kind that come in the little cylindrical bottles) because they dry quickly, whatever is on sale at the craft store or comes in nice colors. I have developed a few favorites in gold, for my “success” pages, which I’ve blogged about previously.  Delta Ceramacoat  has a gold called Wedding Gold that is delightful, and the Martha Stewart gold is just deliciously deep and metallic.

Here’s what those look like:

Sketchbook success pages showing gel pens and gold paint.

What do you think?  Ready to give it a try?  

Even if you’re on a budget, you could go spend $1.00 to $5.00 as a dollar store and get started.  Or you could look around the house and see what you’ve got.  While paint and metallic pens are nice, they’re optional.  All you need is a book of some kind – you can use a composition notebook, an old calendar, some people even use a novel!  The goal is just to start!