I am not a trained visual artist. I took only one Survey of Western Art class as a freshman during my undergrad, and that I struggled to get a B in. Even when I was very young I was not prone to doodle in the margins of my textbooks. So sketching, in the form of art journaling (words-sketches-collage), does not come naturally to me. But after experimenting a bit this past year, and forcing myself to produce an effort everyday or so, I have been able to start this 2013 off with an onslaught of art journaling that even surprised me – once I came up for air and had a look at the pages I was accumulating.
Art Journaling is a great hobby in which to while away a few hours at a Tokyo cafe, kill chunks of time on the job, or focus on when insomnia strikes.
For me it takes the form of venting frustrations or exploring bizarre themes with words, doodles, pasted scraps from a day’s travel, stamps, stickers, and anything else I feel looks good on the page. My tools are simple: 12 Faber Castel watercolor pencils, a HB led pencils, a few black pens, scissors, and a glue stick. All this, along with my art journal, are carried with me pretty much everywhere I go- all the time.
I don’t always have a theme to my pages, or even an overall direction in which I am heading – mostly just casual observations about my surroundings. Even mundane things like coffee mugs and a stack of pancakes has a place in my art journal. It is simply there for the doing, the accumulating, art to be proud of, shared or unshared.
It’s a way to spew forth from yourself anything you want, mash it up, make mistakes, develop for a later date, and most importantly – a means to keep you going- as an artist or as a human.
It is my new addiction, one I hope continues well into the future.