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An Art Journaling Epiphany

I've been a writing journaler for many years. As a child I had a 'secret diary' with a tiny key (those are lost now). My need to journal daily began in the late 70's when every year my uncle would send me calendars from Switzerland - where he lived at the time. There was always enough space to write a bit about the day. From there I progressed to larger, Moleskine sized journals - but they remained primarily written journals describing the days happenings, ponderings, and daily life - the good, bad, maudlin and silly.

Some years ago I discovered art jounaling and realized with delight that I could add art to the words I was already writing. My only problem with that is that I felt compelled to make the pages 'right'. I wanted each page to be able to stand on it's own. Complete and well done. I was asking too much of myself and taking hours to make each page - not a bad thing necessarily but it did cut down on what I could turn out. I still maintained a separate written journal as well. Now, I ask you, how often does a page of art journaling ever come out complete and well done? I suppose almost by definition journaling has to include strike throughs, white outs and changes in tense or sentiment.

This year, being one of note for me ( the frightening 60), I decided to use my favorite journal. A Quo Vadis Habana journal in Anise Green. I love the clean white super luxurious Clairefontaine paper - it's fountain pen and art supply friendly - not great for heavy color washes but not bad for light ones. It's a bit larger than the Moleskine's I've been using for my journals but I really think I prefer this paper. My pages are blank but the notebook is offered in ruled or blank.
I love this anise green color !
So what's the epiphany you ask? Writing and art journaling can exist in the same book! I suspect to most people that would be a "duh!" kind of moot point. Something that any sane person would know from the get go. By  simply allowing my journal to be an everything journal I feel so much more free to add silly things like receipts and color splashes, envelopes that hold a challenge instruction of feathers I found along a walk. Brilliant. So much more fun and colorful to leaf through as well! 

I will still have one or more more 'serious' art journals that will hold only art work that I hope to use for something other than a casual page or memory - but my journal hybrid is really floating my boat at the moment. It makes me take things more lightly and I don't strive for any sort of perfection. Very liberating for me.
Here I splashed some water on a few new watercolors I had just received and made a note that my long over due memory quilt was finally on it's way for a machine quilting appointment with my favorite long arm miracle worker, Keri Stone
A Polaroid image- the first I've played with in many, many years and the instructions from a stadium seat my friend Janet and I got for our upcoming journaling jaunts. A page filled with cottonwood, 'cotton' that Janet picked from a tree in Wyoming and sent my way.
One of my latest pages about my job elimination. It's so much more fun to just get it out onto paper and not worry about how it looks to anyone else but me. Freedom!

What are your favorite ways to journal? Do you maintain separate books for written and art? Have you always been a hybrid journaler? What sorts of things do you put in your journal?


  1. I'm not much of a word person, so mine tend to be designs with brief notes of ideas. One is at most places I'm likely to sit, so I can pick it up with no effort and record the idea before it is gone.

  2. I'm a hybrid. Or a wobbler. First, I think I'll keep separate, then I start gluing 'stuff' in or some doodles and then it becomes a hybrid. I think I like the mixture as it shows more about my frame of mind as I journal.

  3. What a great post, and it's interesting to hear how the two art + writing can happen in the same book. I've got a diary that I write in, but its got a lot of collage and doodles since I started art journaling a couple of years ago... :-)

  4. I have a ""diary", but I would love to get into the practice of art journaling daily. Boy, I miss a week of reading and bam, your life changes dramatically. Hope all is improving. Hugs.


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