Tips for starting

Gunvor, who lives in Sweden and has done lots of creative swaps with me over the years, wrote a comment to my previous post about art journaling:

"Lenna, I just love following your work with your art journal. In fact, this has made me want to start off a similar journey, but I really don't know where to start, what kind of book to use etc. If you have any tips I'd be really thankful. Thanks for all the inspiration! Hugs, Gunvor"

I started to write a comment in reply, but then decided I had more to say and more to share. I'm actually new to art journaling myself. I kind of translated my altered book and collage techniques into an art journal when I decided to do the Sketchbook Project 2011. The theme I chose was "This is not a sketchbook", because I figured that would give me a lot of leeway to create mixed media art within it. When that was finished and at a time when I felt I was not doing enough art for my own enjoyment and development as an artist, I came across Julie Balzer's site. She was coordinating something called Art Journal every day <-- Read about the project there. Julie has been a great resource for me, not in just providing the structure (you can sign up and commit to this every month) but also in her education about art journaling and demonstration of techniques! 

Her site is filled with information and ideas for anyone who would like to start art journaling. I especially like the information on a welcome post she did a year ago for something she did called: Art Journaling week -read more here. Julie says in this post,

"There is no right or wrong in art journaling. I think that's part of the appeal for so many. You can paint, draw, stamp, collage, write, anything that feels good to you! I think of art journaling as a way to record my feelings, daily life, and artistic inspiration all in one place."

So, I obviously think Julie Fei-Fan Baltzer's site is a real go-to place if you are interested in starting an art journal. Julie is also a "real" person who has even commented on my journal work here on the blog (I was thrilled!) and on the flickr photo group dedicated to Art Journal every day. She has also replied to questions on her blog. I know there are other journaling groups out there but I am not familiar with them. Julie's approach really appealed to me, both her style of art and the way she freely shares information and ideas. You may find something or someone else who suits you better!

My own personal tips for starting to art journal:

  • Pick up a notebook and try something, anything! 
  • If you don't like the book or the materials, you can switch later 
  • If it helps you to begin, pick a theme to work with
  • start by using familiar tools (stamps, paint -what you are comfortable with)
  • Tell yourself it does not have to be perfect, even if you want it to be
  • The important thing is to do something creative -even remotely creative!
  • Just do it! (seriously)

The rest will follow if you just start and try to continue doing something, however small every day. The biggest gain for me so far is how it makes me feel. Calm, creative, exploring, following a path, committed to my goal, and by choosing to share on the blog I am inspiring others, deepening friendships and  hopefully entertaining & educating!!!

 : ^ ) lenna