By Linda Woods and Karen Dinino
More and more, the scrapbooking and art journaling communities are merging, and they are making a gorgeous, mixed-media world of creativity. Like scrapbooks, art journals tell stories and artfully capture moments in our lives. Art journalers joke, however, that scrapbooks are for preserving their memories, and art journals are for preserving their sanity. Their scrapbook pages have the finished, clean look of a presentation, while their art journal pages have the rough, raw look of spontaneous expression.
Art journals typically differ from scrapbooks in their focus, their supplies, and their journaling style. Art journals have a more reflective, personal focus—your handwriting, your words, your favorite font, your fingerprints, your brushstrokes, your imperfections. You can see: hands made this journal, and you know whose hands made it. Art journals use color, texture, images and words to express feelings, represent experiences, and mimic sounds. While they often do include memories, their purpose is not to house memories. Exploration and free self expression are the purpose. No rules limit what you put on your page, how you place elements on the page, or if you even use a page.
It is so easy to begin art journaling, because you don’t need any special supplies. You can journal with just scissors, a pen, and a glue stick or tape. Use what you have on hand. Art journals often feature paint, which scares some people. Don’t be afraid of the paint! Remember when you were five years old, and the best part of school was painting? Spread some paint all over some paper, and have fun. The goal is to express yourself, and you don’t need any certain type of paper, adhesive, or paint to do that. You don’t even need an “art journal” book. You can journal on any surface you want. YOU are the boss of your journal!
Art journaling is usually free-form, stream-of-consciousness writing: the journaling is for self-expression, not narration. Don’t worry about what or how you write—just LET WORDS ESCAPE YOU. For example, in your scrapbook, you might feature a layout titled: “Spring Cleaning,” with photos of your overflowing closet and bags of old toys, with the journaling:
Why do I hold on so long to jackets from the ‘80’s and the kids’ old toys? I got up at 6:00 a.m., and filled 12 bags with donations. Shh! The kids don’t know everything that’s in there!
The same feelings expressed in your art journal might be more revealing and more haphazard, as if you simply transferred your thoughts from your mind to the page:
IT IS TIME TO GO. Clothes that don’t fit. Energy vampires. Saying ‘yes’ when I mean ‘no.’
Art journaling may be in sentence fragments, capturing a thought as it is formed or an emotion as it is felt. These uncensored bits of thought and emotion can then evolve into unique, expressive scrapbook pages. Through art journaling, we can convey more personal, spontaneous feeling throughout our scrapbooks.
We created three prompts that are easy starting points for art journals and scrapbooks: “Spring Cleaning,” “Shades of Me,” and “Welcome to My World.” You can discover, explore and express your memories and emotions with private art journaling, then create a unique, personal scrapbook page that is, unmistakably, yours. Look at the diversity in the art journal and scrapbook pages created here, then design your own page!
In her “Spring Cleaning” page, Linda cleaned out all her garbage, using a painted green background (her color to express irritation) and the symbolic photo of an expired parking meter. Her journaling and doodling convey urgency and annoyance. Her page doesn’t have a tidy title; there’s nothing tidy about the messiness she was expressing.
Putting ourselves in our journals or scrapbooks often is a challenge: either we hate pictures of ourselves, or it seems “egotistical” to be in the book. You are a key part of your life, so GET IN THE BOOK. If you hate pictures of you, be in your book symbolically, as Linda is in her “Shades of Me” page.
Purple and red are two colors that Linda uses to symbolize herself; they are the colors that “feel” like Linda. Her abstract shapes and few words express a time of change, growth, and confusion. By playing with colors to see which shades suit different people in your life, you will easily select backgrounds and accents for your layouts.
What makes your world yours? In her “Welcome to My World” page, Linda focused on her perennially paint-splattered sleeves. The response to this prompt might change weekly, which is a great reason to scrapbook or journal often. Don’t get overwhelmed trying to show your whole world at once: take a magnifying glass to one aspect of your life, and present that, simply.
Grab a pen, your glue stick, and –yes!—some paint. Fearlessly express yourself, and watch your scrapbooks blossom with new life.
Visit Linda Woods Artworks for prints on canvas, paper, or wood for all size spaces and budgets.