Recently someone I met at a conference wrote to me and said, look I’ve started drawing again. I encouraged her to keep it up and also to try art journaling.
Then a couple of days later, I recommended to an artist in a group that she start art journaling. She said that she was in a lull creatively and wondered out to get out.
Here are the resources I shared with them, and why.
Now, I should explain that I don’t mean the pretty-pretty pages that you can’t write on. The kind of art journaling or creative sketchbooking that I’m into involves creating attractive, but messy-is-okay pages that have plenty of room for writing on top of paint. It’s about the writing and the safe space, and also the collaging and intuitive exploration that comes from working with images.
Teachers for Art Journaling
My absolute top recommendation for getting into art journaling/creative sketchbooking, is to take an online course with Lisa Sonora. Sadly, the prices of her classes have gone up, so those may or may not work for you. Subscribe to her blog/newsletter and soak up all the goodness that you can, and participate in her annual challenges if they appeal.
I was lucky enough to take all of Lisa’s classes, before she retired some of them! They were *life changing.* and *artistic practice* changing. The three years during and after I did the courses were the most productive of my artistic life AND in 2017, my work was out on display for EIGHT MONTHS, including overlapping shows of the same body of work, meaning I had plenty to exhibit!
Lisa teaches you to create a safe space, both where you create, and in your sketchbook. She’s an excellent teacher and the courses are well designed; they gently guide you toward new habits, while teaching techniques in a very do-able and non-scary way. (I mention that for anyone reading the blog who doesn’t consider themselves and artist, and you don’t need to be an artist to take her classes.)
In one of Lisa’s classes, she told us that getting in the habit of committing on the page, in our sketchbooks, gets us used to committing in art and in life. Building that habit in the sketchbook carries over into your art, as you finish projects, are less hesitant, and in your life, as you become more decisive.
Sound like a lot of benefit to come from a regular sketchbook practice? Well, all I can say is that it worked for me, and I bet it would work for you too. It’s inexpensive to try!
Which class of Lisa’s to take?
Lisa Sonora has two online classes available right now: EffortLESS Creativity, a free video course, get on the waiting list to be notified, and Creative Sketchbook, a 4 week online class.
Another favorite teacher of mine is art therapist Shelly Klammer. She has a wealth of free resources on her website, plus a free introductory course or two and many affordable classes.
Which class of Shelley’s to take?
Start with her free intro. class, Deep Dive! into Art Journaling.
See all of her classes here:
I also love, love love her list of 45 Manifestation Principles for Artists. Any of these make a great quote to work with to design a page around.
Can’t take a class? Here are some terrific books to read, both on art journaling and on creativity in general, and how to work art making back into your life.
An Audience of One, by Srinivas Roa
Do the Work, by Stephen Pressfield
The War of Art, by Stephen Pressfield
Making Room for Making Art
Art is a Way of Knowing, by Pat Allen
Creative Entrepreneur by Lisa Sonora Beam
Want more ideas for ways to boost your creativity?
And check out the whole series 100 Creativity Tips (don’t worry, I haven’t written all 100 yet!) there’s more on mandalas, art journaling, and fun things to make on your own or with kids!
And here’s a post from me on how to get started on creative sketchbooking, including what supplies I like.