Art Journal vs Sketchbook for Personal Development

I’m an Art teacher.  Its important to keep improving.  Both as teacher AND as Artist.  When I decided to approach my personal development with purpose I looked into Art Journaling.

Wow, the examples on Pinterest when you search “Art Journal!”  Its a bit intimidating.  Okay its really intimidating.

Now remember I’m a teacher first.  I don’t typically take the time to create.  And let’s face it, if you’ve gone to college for Art or Art education they don’t cover stamping…  (something you see a lot of in the world of Art journaling.)

But it is so important to focus on your own creative self because personal development is HUGE!

The big debate:  Art Journal or Sketchbook… What’s the difference?  (Okay not really a ‘big debate’ but a question I had.)

Disclaimer- this is just my own interpretation of how the terms seem to be used.  It is by no means an exhaustive definition.

An Art Journal:  When I look at what is labeled “Art journal,” I run into both one page designs and a two page spread.  They seem to be full page, completed projects.  No half worked ideas or hints to a larger project.  Medium is very mixed media.  Paints, inks, watercolor, stamps, paper, cut images… Often there is writing (hence the “journaling” term).  This could be a quote, a saying, an inspirational word or phrase, or just a train of thought.  Term and style seem to be used mostly by creative ladies.

A Sketchbook:  I’m more comfortable with this term.  After all I did go to school for Art and Art education.  A lot of variety when looking up “sketchbooks.”  but I will try make some observations.  Sketchbooks are used for getting down ideas, either for a larger project or just a recording of inspiration/ideas or maybe just to work out thoughts.  Line seems to be used heavily.  Often inks, pens, or pencil are used but definitely not exclusive.   In contrast to “Art journal”, “sketchbook” is used by both the ladies and the gentlemen.  But the term seems to be used by people in a more professional Artist capacity.

Let me just say that I don’t believe you should be limited by either term or style when you venture on your own journey.

I took a look at both of them to try to find my own style for my own personal development.

So with Art journaling, I like the idea of doing something everyday.  To really build those creative muscles.  “Art journaling” as a daily habit is very appealing.  A couple of the sites that I absolutely love for understanding the nuts and bolts of Art journaling are Art Journal Everyday (this link has a plethora of information on the subject, it will take me forever to look through it all) and Creative Every Day.  These ladies have a huge base of knowledge and I suggest checking them out.  I will probably refer to specific posts as I continue on this journey.

Working off of the idea of doing something everyday, I started a page I could come back to when I had time or inspiration to create.

I am page journal

I’m not sure if that is my style….at least not yet.  I’ll keep at it and see how it goes.  But I do like the idea that I can come back to it.  “Super Mom” was added after having a particularly not-so-super mom moment with my teenager.

So then I started to look more at sketchbook assignments.  After all I do that with my students.

Owen reading sketch

The key with this is that I don’t have a full project.  I can do quick studies whenever and where ever.  It’s not a finished drawing and it doesn’t have to be.  Its just practice.

I can’t predict the future of course, so I’m not sure the twists and turns this journey of doing something everyday will take.  If it will be more Art journal or sketchbook.  Or a mess of both combined.  After all I like to experiment and try new things.  Different mediums, techniques, and styles.  I am a teacher who likes to switch thing up with my students whether its Zentangles, watercolor, sculpture, or printmaking.

From the Art journaling premise my goal is to do something everyday.  I also like the idea of setting up an area that can easily be used without much prep or set up.  Let’s face it, we are busy.  Being able to sit down and get right to work then get up and walk away is very appealing.

To start Art journaling check out Art Journal Every Day.  Julie had great resources for getting started.

And to really participate and check out what others are doing head over to Creative Every Day.  There you can link up your own work or just look around.  This sounds like fun!

From the sketchbook platform I like just carting it around and being about to pull it out anywhere I go.  Sketchbooks are also considered more for experimenting and working out idea.  For the planning of larger projects or the recording of quick sketches or inspiration.

So far I seem to lean toward the sketchbook template, but maybe I’m just scared to create what should be considered completed projects.

So how about you?  Are you an Art journal or a sketchbook person?  What’s the difference for you?

Welcome to my adventures in teaching Art outside of the public school system. I’ll share our projects and challenge myself and you to continually improve. So glad you stopped by!

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