Welcome to HerdingTheDragon.com!

I'm a writer, a freelancer, a crafter, a nail polish mixatrix, a tea drinker, an unconventional life-liver, a journaling junkie, an introvert, a chronic-pain-sufferer, an idealist, a geek, a TV-lover. Welcome to my corner of the web!

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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Some art journaling tips

I'm a slow art-er. I've been working on this journal for AGES, which is fine because I know I'm slow and it's fun just filling the pages. But along the way I've been figuring out some stuff about art journaling...including the fact that this is, in fact, an art journal and not a random sketchbook like I've been calling it most of the time I've been working on it. And more! So here's some things I've learned...

1. Everything is art
If you put it together as art, it's art. That pic above is literally just tape I stole off a neat piece of paper left over when they repainted our building, but I liked the texture and the way some had more paint than others, so I put them in the book. The page next to it is random bits of green and gold stuck together in a speed-collage (I only gave myself thirty minutes and had to get it done). Towards the end of the book, I've got a page where I'm collecting random things I find on the ground and scraps left over from other pages that I like too much to toss. It's all art.

2. Make it easy on yourself
Keep your stuff nearby and your book where you can see it. Like, you don't have to keep every piece of art supplies on your desk, but keep some of it. I have a cup with my fav pens, a ruler, my scissors, a roll of tape, at least one glue stick, and a pencil that just stays where I can see it, and my book stays next to my computer, usually right under my planner or on top of my printer so I'm always looking at it.

I also have a stack of magazines behind my desk, and I periodically just go through and collect stuff that looks cool into themed envelopes so I can go right there and find, say, flowers or diamonds or patterns or whatever. I have a box full of paint and another cup full of paintbrushes.

If you keep stuff on hand, it's way easier to do stuff!

3. Don't plan the whole thing, let it happen organically
I usually know what I'm going to do when I sit down to do it, but I only have like three or four pages planned other than that--and that's mostly just a postit with a quote on it, or, like, the vague idea that I'll fill a whole page with those nail polish spills fashion mags like to have. The rest, I'll fill as I feel like it, as I decide, and as I have an idea. It makes the book super random as a whole, but I don't much mind; it's meant to be little snapshots of whatever I was thinking and feeling and playing with each page!*

4. Decide to put something, anything, on every page
Since everything is art, anything can be art, so anything you put in your book counts! A lot of times the backs of pages are covered with something meant to cover the bleedthrough from the previous page, and then later it becomes a piece of art on it's own. But every page should have something, I think, even if it's a little abandoned doodle or just a crumpled piece of paper glued in.

5. Steal what inspires you
Collect songs and quotes that spark something in you or resonate with you. Copy art you see around that inspires you, so you can figure out how it's done. Follow art journaling blogs and try out your fav pages, or new styles, or arrangements and techniques you never thought of yourself. If you're really into it, make notes on where you found it and what you did, and then you can reference back and do the same thing again!

6. Use what you've got--both in your stash and in your head / heart
You don't have to have piles of expensive things do make anything artsy. You can use whatever is laying around--any pencil or pen, any scrap of paper, any stamp or sticker or bit of tape. And then using those supplies, channel out the things that're bothering you, the things you want to remember, the things that resonate in you. Use what's around you to figure out what's in you! That's the journaling part of art journaling.

7. Play around with stuff
Do challenges, give yourself a time limit for a page, doodle, try something new, fingerpaint, do a page without looking at it, use tools and supplies 'incorrectly' just to see what happens, etc. Glue something down with paint. See what happens when you use coffee as ink or burn a page or try to glue down some cloth. Just give it a try. If it doesn't work out, just do something else over it!

8. Make notes about things you do want to do, even if you can't do them right now (and make the notes another page in the journal)
Even if you never get to the things on those lists or in the little thumbnail sketches, you've still captured them, and they're still in the book! And if you do get to them, you have a sort of built in history of the piece!

9. Add pages when you feel adventurous, just to make the notebook fatter
Sometimes I just cut down a page I find in a magazine and slot it in randomly, to use for art later. Sometimes I add in a neat piece of paper I find, or a free-standing collage or whatever that I made somewhere else. Sometimes I just put more pages in because I want to--I like a fat book. And if you're running out of pages but it doesn't feel like the book is 'done' yet, yeah, add pages! Art is about how it feels as much as anything else.

10. Aim for a few pages at least started a week
Like I said, I've been working on this book for ages, but I didn't really get many pages done until I devoted myself to at least starting two or three pages a week. Most of the time I finish the page, and sometimes doing one page equals two, like with the red one above, but as long as I at least start a page, I call it a win. And the pages get filled.

Messups aren't a problem--redo them, paint over them, whatever. It's a journal not an exhibition, don't worry about it. Just fill the page!

Do you art journal? What're your best tips for getting a book filled?

* I also fill pages out of order, because it's not meant to be like a planner or a regular journal, all sequential. And sometimes I just feel like covering the back of a page somewhere else.

- Express yourself in a different way than you usually do, and see what happens!

You can find me around the web here:
And on Youtube myself and with Joy for (un)Professional Fangirl


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