On Maintaining an Art Journal

Today’s art journal entry is more random things. I thought the colors of the inks in my pens for this week were so pretty and vibrant, they reminded me of the different colors of peppers (except for the blue ones, lol). The journal entry on the right side of the page is about maintaining an art journal.

I’ve been approached by people both online and IRL expressing their desire to start an art journal but they feel like their skill level isn’t “up there” yet. I get it, I feel the same way too sometimes, but the truth is that if I compare myself with the people I admire and refuse to make art because I think I’m not as good as them, my journals would be blank. The thing is, somebody will always be better than you are at what you do. If you’re always looking at other people’s output, you’ll miss the point of having an art journal.

For me, keeping an art journal is about self-care. My journal is an eclectic mix of handwritten journal entries, little watercolor paintings, pen and ink drawings, old photos, clippings of comic strips, washi tapes, etc. I write or draw my dreams so I don’t forget them. I mess pages up, I leave entries that I haven’t completed, I don’t check my grammar. My journal is my playground and my safe place on paper. None of the drawings I put in my journal are practiced outside of it, I just draw whatever I want. Sometimes it’s random things, sometimes it’s profound and expressive. Always, it’s honest.

If you want to start an art journal, pick up a journal and start on your first page. Use whatever you have on hand. Someday you’ll compare your first art journal to your tenth and you’ll see your efforts in a larger context.

I think that we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves when it comes to our own art journals. Of course you want to get better at it but here’s the thing, you have to practice to get better. In my experience, the more you practice and study and experiment with different techniques, the more your hand obeys your mind. You just can’t jump forward and get where you want to be without putting in the time and effort in honing your skill. Self-edit but don’t stop. Learn along the way. Own wherever you are in the process and most important of all, enjoy it.

 

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