Five Reasons Why You Should Art Journal

I think it’s safe to call art journaling a phenomenon, don’t you? Thank you internet! It’s a hobby and an art form that draws more and more people around the globe. I don’t think it’s a trend, though. Trends come and go, but art journaling never "came" nor will it go. It's a practice that goes far back into time. Maybe to the first artists ever. Journals and sketchbooks have been around for centuries. The difference, now, though, is that I think it's opened up as a practice for all creative people, not just for artists. Or maybe I should say, you don’t need to call yourself an artist to art journal. You just have to want a safe place to be creative.

There's a lot of different ways to keep an art journal, of course, and different people art journal for different reasons. Some do it to record their lives—like a visual diary—others use it for practice and others for pure fun. But no matter what kind of passion and excitement that gets you to the page...

Here's five reasons why you should art journal:

1. Your art journal can be the foundation of your creative practice.

rock stack

You can build skills and a repertoire of techniques.

With your art journal, you can build “me time” (or rather, “you” time) into your life.

In your art journal, you can be a person who expresses, reflects, revels, and learns…

You can develop your style—or maybe, grow into someone who expresses the innate you-ness of your style.

2. Your art journal can be a place to explore and experiment without fear of failing.

Leaves AJ

You can play “what if I…” and find out. What if I mix this shade of red with this shade of blue? What if I paste this random collage bit next to this random bit? You can run mini-experiments with techniques and supplies. Start with a hypothesis and set up some controls and then run the experiment and see what results.

No one needs to see what you make. From page to page, you can just start something, with no idea where it will go—and see what happens. Or you can have a clear idea and try to recreate what’s in your mind’s eye. Either way, the worst that can happen is that it doesn’t turn out and you cover it up with Gesso and start all over.

And the best and the worst that can happen is that you learn something.

3. Your art journal can be a place to record what you want to record.

What I believe AJ

Some people like to keep a visual diary of their days, but there are all kinds of other things you can record, too.

  • Feelings
  • Life events
  • Experiments
  • New Techniques
  • New supplies and how they behave
  • Art learning
  • Life learning
  • Growth over time
  • Interests
  • Schedules and to do lists, even!

The great thing about an art journal is that it can be anything you want it to be and you needn’t record anything at all. You can just play. But I’ll let you in on a little secret: In the end, you record something about yourself and your life.

4. Your art journal can inspire your creativity.

mixed media art

Many people—like me—start art journaling with no intention of creating anything else but what is in their art journal. But sometimes, a funny thing happens. The ideas start coming in and suddenly you find yourself making something else. Jewelry or paintings or fiber art projects ore ceramics or writing…who knows what will call or why. But one thing is certain. Art journaling just gets those creative juices flowing.

5. Finally, an art journal can be an art piece in itself—it’s very own something you make.

rhapsody AJ

It’s funny how an art journal becomes the sum total of all of its parts. Some pages are “better” than others, some you like more ad some less, for sure. But as a whole, each completed journal is a beautiful object in and of itself, filled with the story of who you were when you made it.

And an unfinished art journal? Your beautiful creative life story in the making.