Why I Don’t “Art Journal” and Have You Seen “The Ugly Art Club?”

Why don’t I “art journal” even though so many people do? And even though everyone who does do it seems to love it? Several reasons:

  • I know that no matter how good my intentions will be in the beginning, my art journaling activities will quickly morph into gleeful procrastination. Why start working (ewwww!!) on something of substance when I can scratch the itch that prompts it simply by doing a dehydrated version of the itch? Like this: let’s say I wake up one morning wanting to make acrylic splats into faces. Cool! But I can do that faster and more easily in a journal than on a big canvas. Once it’s done I can stop thinking about those splatty acrylics. Out of my system!  
  • People often say that their journals are the only places they can create freely, with no filters and no expectations. Wonderful! That’s a dazzling place to be, creatively. But I never feel hemmed in or limited or filtered. I do what I want the way I want to now. If I want to let loose and create something totally off-the-wall I don’t need a journal, I just do it. 
Yeeeeeeooow, What IS this? Hint: Who cares? I was fiddling around with pens and watercolor crystals and markers. It went nowhere but was enjoyable to do. Its current home is inside a book, doing an excellent job of keeping my place.
  • Because I don’t have a studio or one discrete place where all my art stuff lives I feel like I’m living inside an art journal. There are art-opportunities everywhere so I take advantage of that and create wherever I am using whatever is nearby. 
  • Finally, most of my work involves a computer or tablet or camera or scanner at some point. All of those things do an excellent job of creating and storing mock-ups, drafts, lists, previews, and sketches. Translating/transferring those into journals would take a long time (extra work!) and I know that the result wouldn’t be the same. 
An official sketchbook I bought years ago for art journalling. I used three pages for that. The rest of the pages are reserved for my occasional forays into charcoal (love it but it makes me sneeze).

However, I understand the lure of art (or visual) journaling. I’ve tried it sooooo many times! Last count I have eleven large and three small sketch books that I bought planning to “art journal.” Some of them have a few pages full of words, images, notes, swatches, scraps, etc. The other pages remain unused. Other books immediately turned themselves into sketch and drawing books. But most are empty. Are they unused art supplies or empty art journals? Both? No idea. 

This was an honest-to-goodness art journal thingie, in an honest-to-goodness art journal book. But I liked parts of it so much that I scanned it as soon as it was dry, then put segments of the scans into work-work. Maybe that’s art journalling? Maybe it’s not.

I wish I felt inspired to fill art or visual journals. I’m probably missing something valuable as a result of not doing them.  Or maybe I’m doing a similar thing but in different ways and not missing anything? Dunno.

Re “The Ugly Art Club:” 

If you’re on Instagram you may have seen The Ugly Art Club.” If I go back to Instagram (yes, I’m considering that) I’m going to follow it. Maybe it’ll push me to try art journaling again. 

4 Comments

  1. I just started my first book this month and I am enjoying it, actually did something in it every day so far! If nothing else it’s a place to experiment with different color combinations. No rules, all for fun!😉

    Liked by 1 person

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