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Art Journaling 101: Preparing for #ArtJournalJanuary

“Art Journaling 101: Getting the most out of thalo’s #ArtJournalJanuary”

In anticipation for Art Journal January, here is a primer on the various kinds of ways you can make your Journal best suit your needs going into the New Year! Whether documenting your thoughts, or preparing your next body of work, we hope that Art Journal January can serve as your creative planner and seed planter for your projects in 2018!

The purpose of an Art Journal, first and foremost is to serve as a place to record your ideas, thoughts and concepts for development (keeping them in your head can be exhausting)! How you choose to do it is all up to you and can make all the difference.


Art Journal One

What do you plan on using for #ArtJournalJanuary?


                Choosing Your Journal:

                Depending on what you want to accomplish, the biggest element will be the journal itself. If you are planning on using it as a diary or sketchbook you can use a spiral-bound notebook or drawing pad. If you are going for more formal and presentation-worthy, you can acquire or build a journal. Custom-made journals tend to not only become works of art themselves, but can help root the theme of your book as it progresses. The type of paper can be important, especially if you plan on being experimental. Heavier paper will be able to take more media.  


Art Journal Pad Samples

Your journal can reflect your work in AND out! 


                Materials –

                Whether you plan on using your workshop tools (trusty pencil/pen) for documenting notes or developing more solid pieces (ink/paint/watercolor), you should feel free to use whatever you feel comfortable with. Especially if you are looking to experiment and explore new materials, you should encourage yourself to explore new mediums outside your comfort zone (papercraft, pastels, etc.)


                Types, Styles and Approaches –

                There are several methods to developing your Art Journal, depending on your approach and intent. 

If you are a painter/illustrator, you can create color swatches and thumbnails, list the different pieces you would like to work on or create a library of composition sketches you can use to and pick throughout the year to develop.

                Another opportunity is to collect pieces of work, ideas or scraps and put them in your book as well to act as inspiration and reference for new works.

                 If you take a writerly approach to creating visually, you can create poetry or short stories and use those to inform and inspire your ideas and artwork. The general incorporation of written work can be helpful even in small doses. Describing visuals or key words like textures (scaly, sleek, bulky, etc.) or prompt/inspiration words (Summer, Fire, Elemental, etc.).


Thumbnail Examples for Journaling

Note the use of color swatches, thumnails, inspiration words and dates used to help detail the kind of work, visual aesthetic and intent of a piece. The more descriptive, the better! 

                Setting Goals –

                The important question to ask is “What do I want my Journal to accomplish?” and that answer is entirely up to you! Ask yourself questions like “Do I run out of ideas too quickly?” or “Do I have a hard time keeping my ideas organized?” or “Do I want to make a body of work or just one project?” will help you in defining what you want your journal to be.

                It can be helpful to not only set goals for what you want to accomplish with your art journal, but also note those ideas in your book as well. If you want to organize long term project deadlines, you can write an in-journal calendar to help you schedule and plan! Or, you can set personal goals of either making a page of art a day, or develop a theme/concept every week or so, whatever best suits your working style (or even challenges you in a positive and engaging way).

                There are many different ways to inspire or set up your journal as well! You can frame your production as exploring ideas and projects (or products) that you want to see come to life in 2018, or you can merely collect inspiration and ideas for your own purposes.

You can challenge yourself to keep a steady production workflow by establishing good work habits throughout the month, or you can promise to develop a new idea or concept every day.


Pretty Pads


                Potential Benefits-

                Aside from being productive and archiving/documenting your ideas, by posting online you may be able to see what projects people react to and gauge which may have stronger client interest. Sometimes knowing people are interested in a specific project can help motivate or direct importance on getting that piece done if you know that people will be interested in seeing it come to life (and may increase the chances of it being sold).

                The act of putting work out in a timeline format can also be a great way to hold yourself to a production schedule and give yourself deadlines to encourage your focus and work habits. Sometimes “deciding” something is due by a certain time frame can help in establishing goals throughout the year.

                However, it is VERY important to make sure the goals you set for yourself are reachable, attainable ones. You do not want to turn your creative ambition into stress! Work in the way that makes you the most comfortable and maximizes your productivity in a safe and positive fashion.


Art Journal Page Example Two

Whether you want to make fully illustrated pages or simply gestural notes for what you want to make later, it's all up to you and how you want to portray your ideas! 

                Having Fun-

                Of course, the most important thing about participating in #ArtJournalJanuary is to have fun! Finding ways to be motivated and inspired to create new work can be intimidating. Butn by turning that energy into excitement and exploration you can open yourself up to dozens of new avenues of opportunity!
                Ideally, once your Journal is complete, you should have not only a great collection of thoughts and ideas, it should be able to serve as a Home Base for your projects and use as reference throughout the year!

                 The most important thing is to share your work to let other people see what you are producing and expand your audience! Contribute to the community using the following hashtags: #thaloartjoutnaljanuary , #artjournaljanuary , #artjournaljanuary2018 , #thaloart or #thalo to participate!
                Our thalo staff will be looking to see who is participating, and who knows who will take notice? 

Potential Ways to Make your Journal-

The goal of Art Journal January is to help artists of all disciplines gear up for the New Year, which means that everyone shall be doing their own unique projects. However, if you find yourself struggling to find some ideas, here is a list of ways you can get started: 

- Design your ideal Gallery Show: Give it a name and create the pieces you would have in your perfectly curated gallery show! You can design a piece a day or a body of work a week. By the end of the month, you should have a few bodies of work you can make and use to bring out to shows for the year. 

- Create a universe/property: Take an idea, sketch or prompt and expand it into a working universe. Create a new drawing or piece of work each day that develops your new universe (Characters, Buildings, Vehicles, Geography, etc.). By the end of the month, you'll have a brand new property to pull inspiration from! 

- Design your own painting/illustration series: You can develop your own series of illustrations on a specific theme or idea of your choosing. Once done, you will have a stock of new ideas to convert into finished pieces ready for prints, framing and gallery shows! 

- Create an art book: You can work on one exploratory illustration a day for the month of January. When you are done, you should have 31 images that you can turn into your own Art Book! 

- Explore your favorite themes: Pick some of your favorite things to draw and push yourself to draw them in different ways. Draw a self-portrait the same way your favorite artist would. Draw your pet like it was in your favorite cartoon show. Research different styles of art and try them out for a day. 

- Sketch (and schedule) a webcomic: You can work on sketching ideas for a comic strip or webcomic. Explore styles, how you would draw it and what kind of stories you would draw using storyboards and thumbnails. By the end of the month, you should have at least 30 comic strips either ready to scan and share, or enough material to fully develop your strip into a complete project! 

- Just draw, write, record or be creative: You don't have to come up with an elaborate idea or project to participate, either! You can jot down notes, record and illustrate your dreams, make an ornate calendar for your year's plans, anything you want to do that makes you feel creative and excited! 


Happy Creating - 

Hopefully this article has given you some idea of what to do and how to approach your creative January more effectively! Let us know what you think in the comments section, or ask us questions! We will also be posting and sharing progress with artists on Instagram using our handle @thaloart and we hope to see you there!  Happy Creating!