What comes to mind when you think of “art journaling”? This form of artistic expression has surged in popularity among digital scrapbookers lately, but it’s nearly impossible to pin down an all-encompassing definition. I’m not going to even try here – you can Google it and find probably thousands of different interpretations of what art journaling is.
Today I want to present a take on art journaling from my perspective as the “traditional digital scrapbooker.” How can you and I, the average digital scrappers, incorporate art journaling into our creative repertoire, and why might we choose to do so? Personally, I turn to art journaling to convey a deeper level of emotion than I am capable of on a regular layout. I feel more freedom to use color, perspective, images, text, and other tools to express my feelings on an art journaling layout. Some subjects seem to need that “raw” feel.
If you’re accustomed to “memory” or “event” scrapping and aren’t sure how to get started art journaling, here’s a few ways to ease into an art journaling layout.
- Try looking at the elements in a kit as representations of feelings and emotions, rather than purely decorative. For example, in my layout Love-Light (shown above), I used a cloud to represent heaven, skulls and crows to represent my fears and worries, and yellow paint to represent the “love light” of God encircling me. Of course, a cloud might also stand for rain or sadness, and skulls often represent death. Images mean many different things to each person. You can use this technique with any kit, but often art journaling-style kits will include a broad range of elements specifically chosen to embody various feelings and emotions.
- Allow for (and dare I say create?) “imperfections” in your process. Often you will find that these perceived imperfections reveal the true heart and soul in your art. Art journaling is usually very free-form. I didn’t allow myself to spend much time fussing with my element placement. Instead of thinking about the “rule of 3s” or creating a “design triangle,” I let my feelings guide my fingers and stuck the bits down wherever it “felt right.” Yes, I know it sounds wonky and a bit new-age-y, but just try it!
- Be prepared for the process to take much longer than a “normal” layout. The process of working through your emotions in a visual way may take a long time, especially if it’s a new experience. Don’t rush it. The Love-Light layout took me several days to finish. Much of that time was simply letting it “sit” and coming back with fresh eyes.
- Use a pre-made background. Or try scrapping in a different size to bust out of your comfort zone. I used a beautiful 8.5×11 collage background from Nancie Rowe Janitz and Fiddlette Designs’ Journal Your Art Out 1 kit. The page already included the heart and “soul food” tag, which perfectly meshed with the emotions I was trying to convey.
What I love most about art journaling is the freedom. There are no wrong ways, no “bad” pages, no pressure to properly capture a memory. Enjoy the process, and try art journaling the next time you need a little scrap therapy! To inspire you, I rounded up a few beautiful, emotional art journal-style pages from the DST gallery.