I kept one of these when I was in college. It was a great way to record memories and explore feelings - both the wonderful and the uncomfortable.
Now that life’s more uncomfortable than usual, it’s time to resurrect the practice.
What an art journal is.
There’s lots of words for it; diary, log, chronicle, daybook.
It’s a place to splatter your feelings across the page, with more freedom than a lined notebook offers. I love art journaling because there’s no rules. Some days you might have words to share, other days sketches. Maybe you cut out an inspiring quote and pasted it in.
Use any medium you like. Some of my favorite drawings came from leaky ballpoint pens.
Fill in a page, even on days when you’re not sure what’ll come out.
It’s a journal for you, so it doesn’t matter what it looks like. This isn’t Instagram. You can’t Facetune your feelings.
And still, do you worry someone might read your diary? That’s the best part of using art to express yourself instead of words. To the outsider, they’ll see a drawing of a feather, or leaf, or face - but even eight years later when I look back on my drawings, the memories of what I felt and thought when I made them comes flooding back. It’s like a secret code to yourself.
What kind of journal should you get?
This is personal. Some go big. The possibilities offered by the sprawling landscape of an empty page excites them.
Too big overwhelms me. A small page is easier to fill, and to carry.
I’m happy with a kraft cover. Decorate the outside with your art.
Too exposing? Simple, mysterious black might suit you better. Cover it in stickers made by artists that inspire you.
A spiral binding lays flat better than a bound one.
But I have only one essential requirement for my notebooks. Nice, thick paper. The kind that can withstand india ink and the weight of a year's thoughts, feelings, and cherished memories.