Art Journaling: Goal Notebook, Scientific Logbook, Art Therapy, Themed Collage, Business Notes

17 April, 2012

in Art & Art Journaling

Art Journal

Hello, friends! I hope you are well!

There’s been a lot going on around here lately, which always leads me back to art journaling.

As a maker and master over-thinker who’s always trying to “figure things out”, art journaling excellently combines the need to fiddle with my hands and mentally work things through in my head.

I use art journaling in different ways and thought I’d show you a few pages from this year so you could see if any of these types interest you.

Art Journaling is what you want it to be. 

Like this one, they don’t even need to be particularly “artsy”. 

You can journal with the end in mind, working out a pleasing page. You can journal with the past in mind, recording memories and points of time in your journey. You can journal for the process itself, working out your feelings or thoughts in the now.  You can journal with the future in mind, putting together interesting bits that you want to see again, not have stuffed in a box.

Art Journaling, among other things, can be a goal journal, a scientific logbook, an art therapy session, a themed collage, or business notes.

Art Journal

Art journaling is a goal notebook.

It’s a pleasing place for your goals and lists to land in harmony with your aesthetic tastes.

This is the first page inside the journal I just finished.

Since I wrote some really specific business goals for 2012 and have many other lists like “WIPs to finish this year” “New Crafts to Try” “The Crafty Bucket List” “House Projects”, etc., etc., I kept my resolutions clear, but informal.

Specifically picked yellow & the butterfly stamp. Both symbolic of hope, a new day.
Jan 1 scrap is from a vintage kids’ book page on holidays.
Still use security envelopes a lot – they come in so many blues and are perfect backgrounds and frames.
Fabric scraps another perennial favorite. This rainbow colored selvage represents the many possibilities and directions of a new year.

This page was made to look “pretty”, carry meaning, and showcase something particular, my goals.

Really, leaning in the direction of the purpose of a scrapbook.

Art Journal

Art journaling is a scientific logbook.

It records progress and process to note the past and riff on in the future.

These are the sketches and notes made from graphing out the You, Me Oui Thumbtack Art and then sketching out log cabin pillow possibilities for the little house print I’ve been working on.

Art Journal

These pages are a record of a point in time. What I was making when. Or a record of how long it takes me to figure out what kind of pillow I want to make.  Ha! 

(A downside to being a very visual person is the need to literally draw everything I’m imagining out or I can’t “see” it.  Sometimes that feels like it takes forever.)

These pages will probably also end up having a couple swatches of the fabric I’m making for this log cabin pillow stapled to them.  And if I’m really thorough, a photo of the finished pillow taped in. 

A “scientific” record of the full process of one of my design cycles.

Art Journal

Though I bemoaned the fact at how long it takes me to visually work through an idea sometimes, the advantage is that later I have a personal record of my thought process, meaning that the next time I have an idea, I get to jump through all that past thinking quickly.

I can riff on whatever idea I have from there, rather than starting over.

If I threw these away, there’s a big chance I’d have to begin from the beginning, or near it. 

Kinda like throwing away your scientific notes about an experiment and then having to do the experiment all over again….

Art Journal

Art journaling is a themed collage.

What initially started out as me pulling a couple pieces of paper out of my pile to reduce it’s size, ended up becoming a theme around financial records and lists and money and time. 

A red and green menu saved by my dad for me from one of his travels.  (Because he thought I would “like how it looked”  Isn’t that sweet?) 
Field’s Fabrics yardage tally sheet 
A receipt from souvenirs my dad bought me in Lebanon. 

Once I realized a theme, I pulled out a receipt I’d saved from a time last year when I bought myself a really nice dress, old coin paper rolls, and a House Fix-it list.  I went back to the same kids’ book mentioned before and cut out the store clerk and the dress.

This page started out as just a collage to use up my giant amount to paper bits and ended up being a themed commentary on both global commerce and daily life and the things we want.

It transcends time and space with bits of daily life from the past and now, from a regular mall in Ohio, to a souvenir shop in Lebanon, to a restaurant in the Caribbean.

What the bits and pieces say together adds so much to what they say individually.

Art Journal

Art journaling is art therapy.

This is an example of what I would call an “ugly” page. 

It hurts me to look at.  It’s so disjointed.  It breaks my “rule” of never having a plain white background. 

But I’m exposing it to you because art journaling is not just about pretty, yellow, butterfly pages. 

It’s whatever you want it to be, including a tool of both distraction and concentration. 

This is me, fidgeting. 

Using up papers that have long sat in the paper binder just to get them out of there and start fresh.
Including scrapbooking stickers
A napkin that had water spilled on it and turned into a sunset tie dye.
Bit of lace, old stamped hearts, wallpaper piece from Hanna’s art journal zine, calendar photo scrap, sketched leaves.
The envelope is from when I made many from the pages of old Victoria magazines.  I don’t remember what I wrote about inside, but I’m sure it’s as disjointed as the page.
A grade school sticker of my name saying “Elizabeth has no CLUE” pretty much solidifies what’s going on in this moment.


The colors are bright.  My favorites in fact, sunny orange and nature green.  Everything on the page is full of life.  It’s not cohesive, but it’s there.  When I finished the page, I still felt clueless, but realized that I also felt hope that it would all come together somehow.  It’s not a dark page.  I’ve done the dark, angsty pages.  Though random feeling, I could see that this page is the moment in time where you know you’re about to turn the corner but you just haven’t quite gotten there yet.

It’s amazing how much an “ugly” page can tell you.  Art therapy, friends.

Art Journal

Art Journaling is taking business notes.

An example of a new direction some of my art journaling pages have taken. I’ve always listed goals, dreams, etc., on these pages, but now I’m consciously adding notes to them as well.

Pam prints things out from the web that she finds particularly inspiring or useful to bring them more fully into her life.

Just as I draw out every idea, I endlessly take notes. Mostly because I remember what I see but not what I hear.

So I took Pam’s idea, added it to my old school note taking and started taking notes on things I hadn’t thought to take notes on before, like podcasts.

Other business people may see this as ridiculous, but if it helps me, who cares?  Making connections between disparate things like type A business advice and favorite vintage wrapping paper is how my mind works, so I need to honor that.

Taking the time to make an art journaling page to stick them in helps me to further process them and solidify the ideas in my head as important bits to remember.

Goal Journal
Scientific logbook
Art therapy
Themed collage
Business notes

Art journaling is what you want it to be.

What is in your art journal?  What types of pages do you make?


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: