Friday, January 15, 2016

Art journaling - giving it another try

You read that title correctly. Yep, I'm giving art journaling another try. You see, I really want to do it. I really think I could like it. I really think it might be a good artistic outlet for me. So, yes, I'm giving it another try. And no, I don't really expect to be any good at it.

The other night, I was at home relaxing on the couch and trying to get warm. (It's been VERY cold here in KY this week.) I didn't really want to go to my studio space and make a scrapbook page because I'd just gotten cuddled up under a blanket with the pups. While I love my studio, it's on the corner of the house with four windows, so it's not super warm in there. I hopped up to grab a sketchbook, my bag of pencils, and my container of markers and thought I'd give some drawing or art journaling a bit of a go. With my handy dandy iPad next to me and YouTube tutorials pulled up on the screen, I spent about an hour trying my hand at three different drawings. I thought I'd share them with you here.

The first thing I tried to draw was flowers - specifically cherry blossoms. Following the video, I sketched the blossoms first and then tried coloring them with watercolor pencils (on the left) and then with Zig Kuretake clean brush markers on the right. At first, I hated all of it. Then, I realized I sort of liked the marker side. I need to clean up the stems some, but I can live with those flowers. I especially like the far left marker flower...

Feeling rather self-assured, I decided to give a portrait a shot. Again, I searched for a tutorial and sketched out the girl I imagined. I really like the way her eyes turned out as well as the skin color that I used for her. The hair has edged lines that are too heavy, but I was trying to show her part and just didn't blend enough. Her nose is a little lopsided, but I don't think it looks freakish. Where I really screwed up was her mouth. At first, her lips were too exaggerated. In trying to correct that, I think I went too rigid with the shape of her mouth. It changed the whole mood of her face. I know that many people think that drawing faces is one of the most difficult things to do, so I'm pretty proud of this at least looking like an actual face. KWIM?

I thought that drawing a bird would be the simplest task, but I was wrong. I mean, I think it looks like a bird. I think the proportions are mostly right, although the shape of the bird's neck could use some work. Where I really needed some work was in the background shading; apparently, I have trouble keeping a fairly steady hand and dragging color uniformly. I also needed some work in blending the body of the bird. The outline of it is too heavy and the interior is pretty muddied in spots. Still, you can at least tell that this is a bird.

I totally expect for some people to take a look at this attempt at art journaling and to laugh at my obvious lack of experience and natural talent. I'm certainly not someone for whom drawing/painting comes easily. But I'm proud that I gave it another try. I'm proud of these first efforts. And I think I found it relaxing enough to keep working at it. Believe me: trying something new that isn't easy for me is definitely out of my comfort zone. I don't like feeling uncomfortable and inept. But I do think that art journaling and drawing might be an outlet that I'll enjoy. For now, I'm going to keep working at it  - for me.


  1. It's all about doing what makes you happy. I think these are awesome!

  2. I think these are great! I think of an art journal as an experimental place. Its where I try out techniques before putting them on a page or bigger area. Its about play for me!

  3. Thanks for sharing! I just listened to splatter impaired on the paper clipping round table podcast with Wilna, Dina Wakley, and Julie Balzer, and I feel like I can try art journaling now. What I got out of the show is that art journaling is about loving the process, not trying to have a goal of what it will look like, but just enjoying the mediums and eventually all the play and practice will accumulate and you'll make art you love. That's what I got out of it. I highly recommend that episode.

  4. :::high five::: for being creatively brave! Your initial pages are great! I never thought of cherry blossoms as having stems, but these feel really free and loose. [I've just put on PRT #267, which I'm sure I listened to already, but it's fun background for art journaling!]