What is Art Journaling

What is art journaling and why is it a superb art form?

Art journaling may sound pretty straight forward. Art in a book. An art diary. Journaling or keeping a diary that is embellished or solely made of art. Any spin you take on it, art journaling is a fantastic art form that can fulfill a number of your artistic needs.

Art journaling is unparalleled in its capacity for expression, primary because aside from fitting inside a book, there are no rules. The content is yours and can be as public or as private as you like. That freedom of expression makes the art journal a true garden for creativity, a place to plant emotional pain and joys that need some contemplation, a zeitgeist time-capsule of your life and experiences, a factory for developing thoughts and theories that might be expanded for larger or continued works.

Testing Ground

Looking over art journals from some of the greats including Matisse and Da Vinci, you can see the progression and metamorphosis of some of their master pieces. The book is a great place to play around with infant ideas, create thumbnails, and envision various incarnations of this idea. Who knows ,these pages might become important once your work is finished. Personally I enjoy seeing the process of a piece as much as the finished work itself.


Those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.

I don’t know if I’d paint our necessity to analyze the past and capture the present with such weight when it comes to art journaling, but there is a lot to be said for looking deeply into what is happening around you and how it will shape your future. It will save you a couple of grand in therapy as well (completely kidding ;p)

A Time Capsule 

You will never be where you are now, ever again.

Photographs are a great way of marking where you’ve been and what you’ve done, but what often happens with photographs, and I see it all the time, a traveler will walk up to the view take a photograph and get back into the car. They’ve sufficiently captured that awe-inspiring view. Hardly. It can be difficult, especially with our social media-induced attention span to take a moment and appreciate the beauty of the many experiences that are imbued in our every day lives. That’s why art journaling is such a powerful conduit. By producing something in the book, you are taking more than a moment to delve into the world around you. You are doing more than glancing at your surroundings, you are experiencing them more deeply and assimilating them more fully into your consciousness, into your day, into your past. After walking away from an on-the-spot drawing of that brilliant sunset or the magnificent piece of architecture, you don’t just have a jpg on your computer, you have really seen and really understood what stretches before you and in a way your relationship to it. We talk a lot more about this in the class and also learn ways of strengthening your ability to see what’s in front of you and how to capture that experience. As a piece of time, these journals invaluable capturing the meaning in your day to day.


Art books are a great place to store research for school, college classes, hobbies, or work projects.

Boring content can take on life when mixed with sketches of historic figures, photographs, newspaper clippings, photocopies from books on the subject, on-the-spot drawings of architecture and notes on local flavor. Not only are research journals a piece of art, but they are a kind of live journal filled with discovery. 

Scrapbooking vs Art Journals?

Scrapbooking? Not exactly, there are a lot of overlaps, but when all is said and done, I believe the concept of art journaling goes beyond scrapbooking. Maybe these are just semantics. However, conventionally scrapbooking involves decorating photo albums; art journaling, as I’ve said, has the capacity to be much more.

What is involved in the art journaling workshop?
Synopsis is available here. I give workshops in and around Los Angeles. Contact me to see if there are workshops already happening in your area. If not, I am happy to discuss forming a new group or working individually.