Throwback Thursday: Art Journaling, Past and Present

15 Nov

Art journaling became very important to me a little over 2 years ago when I became very depressed. The thought of creating art, let alone getting out of bed in the morning, was physically and mentally overwhelming. While those were some of the worst days of my life, I’m really thankful for them because in the depths of that sadness I learned a lot about myself as an artist.

I literally could not even handle looking at a blank piece of copy paper. To me, it looked gigantic, empty, and void of all hope. But I didn’t know what else to do; art was all I had and I knew I had to do it no matter what.

So, I decided to work smaller. I bought myself a little 4×6 notebook, something that could fit in my purse, under my pillow, in my car, or anywhere else I might need it. Not threatening at all!

I resolved to fill every single one of those pages. For me. Not for Tumblr, not for Facebook, not for mom and dad, not for any single person except myself. I needed to be selfish and indulgent. To create art for the sake of creating art, to express all those thoughts and feelings that were eating me alive.

Every single drawing in this notebook is a self portrait, even if it’s a flower or a boy or a single word. They’re all a part of me. If I have anything to do with it, most of the entries in that notebook will never be seen until the day I’m dead and buried. Some are silly and selfish, some are still painful to look at, and some of them kind of amaze me.

Here are some of the entries from 2010 that I’ve decided to share:

Obviously, a lot of different stuff going on there. But just having that little place to escape to helped me immeasurably. I experimented with tons of different styles, medias, and ideas I never thought of pursuing. I think not caring how the entries turned out made it a lot easier to take the cap off of my creativity.

Even though I don’t journal as much as I used to, it’s still essential to my life as an artist. I think every artist needs an escape.

Especially now that I’m doing art professionally and I have clients who need their pieces to look a certain way, I really need that time and place where I can create whatever the hell I want, where I can be snarky, sad, happy, funny, rude, or just flat out weird. It’s so important to stay true to all of these things about me and nurture them, because if I’m not, well, what the hell’s the point?

Obviously, I don’t have as much time to go all out on them like I used to, but I still have fun with ’em!

Haha…life is so filled with ups and downs. I really don’t know how I’d handle it all without art. I really and truly feel like I would die. So it’s a pretty damn good thing I keep drawing!

So if any of you are experiencing an artist’s block, going through some hard times, or are totally frustrated with how your art is turning out, get yourself an art journal. Just do it. Don’t think, just create. I swear. You’ll learn some incredible stuff about yourself.

Until next time! ♥


7 Responses to “Throwback Thursday: Art Journaling, Past and Present”

  1. MissMegsSays November 16, 2012 at 12:09 am #

    Ahhhh!!! I just have to say this is amazing! I started an art journal about 6 years ago(i’m not an artist by any means) but it helped me in the same ways it helped you. For me, it was mostly a creative outlet at times but it was also very therapeutic when I was dealing with some difficult things in my life. I just wanted to say that your post and your work is very inspiring! Also, I don’t know if you’ve ever heard about the artist/author, Sabrina Ward Harrison, and her book, Spilling Open, The Art of Becoming Yourself, but it’s basically her personal art journal that she decided to publish. I thought you might find it interesting! Thanks for sharing your work!!

    ❤ Megs

    • thetinyhobo November 16, 2012 at 1:37 am #

      Wow, thanks so much! I really appreciate the kind words! I think all kinds of journaling are great for anyone to tap into that creative soul inside them. I haven’t heard of Sabrina Ward Harrison, but thank you so much for the suggestion. I’m definitely gonna check that book out!

  2. MissMegsSays November 16, 2012 at 12:36 am #

    Reblogged this on Miss Megs Says and commented:
    I encourage anyone who is creatively inclined, even if you aren’t, to try art journaling!

  3. artsychicksw November 16, 2012 at 4:10 am #

    I, too, have been in the depths of depression. Thankfully it’s been a lot of years ago now. But one of the things that helped me immensely was keeping an art journal. This was before I was creating jewelry and art for sale or gifts…I’ve just always had creativity in my soul. It seems that when we don’t necessarily have words for things we can find in our soul the creativity to express our soul through pictures and scribbles. Most of my journal was done with good old Crayola crayons. The blurry look of crayons fit with how I felt. I wouldn’t have been able to use colored pens or even a pencil most of the time. I also did some collages with pictures and words from magazines…this was great at the time, too, to be able to see something that fit with me and how I was feeling.
    As an artist, a human being and a psychotherapist I highly recommend whatever form of art journaling works for you when you’re in a tough spot in your life. Yes, even if you aren’t artistic. You can learn so much about yourself and express things you have no other way to express.
    Thanks so much for posting on this topic and for sharing some of your very personal work from your journal. You are brave and courageous…a model for others to follow.
    Peace to your heart, Sara

    • thetinyhobo November 16, 2012 at 4:30 am #

      Yes, I totally agree. The best way to journal is to focus on the emotion or thought, rather than the outcome of the drawing/collage/writing/whatever. It’s very healing.

      And thank you so much for the kind words and for sharing your experience as well! I really appreciate it!

  4. artsychicksw November 16, 2012 at 4:12 am #

    Reblogged this on thecreativesoulsara and commented:
    I am a huge proponent of journaling in any form, and particularly of art journaling. At difficult times in our lives we sometimes don’t have words to express what is going on inside or to work through it, but drawing or collage making allows us to express in pictures what we can’t in words. No need to be creative or an artist, either. It’s just for you, after all. Peace to your hearts


  1. 365 Drawings Project! « the tiny hobo - January 2, 2013

    […] done art journaling in the past, and I still do this kind of thing quite often, but I figure keeping up with it every […]

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