Working in multiple Art Journal volumes

Are you working in many Art Journals at the same time? Maybe too many to keep track of? I know the feeling.

When I started with art journaling many years ago, I always worked in just one, big Art Journal at a time – from start to finish. It helped keep me focused and it made me fill journals rather quickly.

It always chocks me to hear that some artists never finish their books, or being known for their art journals for many years but never sticking to one journal or notebook… I was through my first one within 2-3 months if I remember correctly, and since then I have filled a lot of them (I lost count around nr 15). I should try to stack them in one place and order them again some day I guess, at least for a few photos but not today. My point is, filling a journal is not very hard at all if you’re focused…

Working in Multiple Art Journals and notebooks at the same time - pros and cons list by iHanna

But for many years now?I’ve been a lot more… scattered with my Art Journal practice (hence loosing count of what number I’m on). I have randomly started a couple of different volumes (and series), and I’ve also been trying out different styles and sizes of notebooks. This has led me to many awesome discoveries, but also in the direction of feeling a little fragmented, like I don’t know where I am with anything.

Both ways are totally okay, but having more than one book has its disadvantages I think. If it works for you, of course keep at it, just as long as you yourself don’t feel overwhelmed by all the things you start. That is what’s happened to me lately, so I have deliberately decided to work on finishing some volumes, just to simplify for myself. I think I started it late autumn, through December and into January – when I was finally (again) Art Journaling daily (!). Yes, almost all 31 days of the month. I don’t know about you, but I’m impressed.

An art journal is a Love Letter to yourself - a message from iHanna

Ongoing journals

These are (some) of the journals that I have “going” right now, started, half-filled, almost done – all WIP at the moment:

Moleskine Art Sketchbook – my book of Abstractions
Kikki.K 365 journal for daily painting (filled January, February and March 2019)
Cut and Paste book?(altered book about Egypt) Art Journal (started 2014! and almost finished now)
Nanami notebook with Tomoe River super thin papers
– Book of painting – altered text book where I throw acrylic paint on the pages at times
Randomosity Journal – not sure what number I’m starting in next
– Traveler’s Notebook sized Junk Journal (newfound love)
Bound Junk Journal from years ago (filled 2-3 spreads so for)
– Traveler’s Notebook for smaller collages started on YT (process video here, here and here)
– Doodle sketchbook – almost full
Watercolor journal from HahnemĂĽhle – for watercolor painting, obv.

Is that a lot? I think so. And I’m not listing the category of non-art related notebooks either, like Bullet Journal, calendar, Book Notes, Diary or the idea notebooks…

In between starting and working in all the above mentioned journal?I have also made several smaller junk journal volumes from magazine pages (something that I’ve fallen in love with but haven’t mentioned on the blog yet – I think), and maybe I have got more journals in the works that I don’t remember right now? Anyway, it’s a lot.

Being this scatter-brained I haven’t documented the progress as much either, and therefor not sure what I’ve blogged about or when – or even if I’ve mentioned some of these before. I want this blog to be a lot more about my Art Journal Passion this year, so I hope that is something you’ll look forward to and share with me. I just need a better way to keep track than keeping it all in my brain these days. I might be getting old(er)?

Pros and cons to using many journals

Disadvantages to working in several journals at once, as I see it, is mostly that it takes a lot longer to finish any one of them – sometimes years. For me, if I’m working in a journal for many years I loose sight of it at times, and forget about it, which of course makes filling it take even longer. I also don’t feel as close to it, or as connected, as I do when I have only one Art Journal that I keep close and want to return to day after day. When you jump fort all the time you kind of never feel at home in one place, right?

The advantages of working in several Art Journals at once is that you can dedicate them to different styles or themes. They become more coherent and the paper in them might be better suited for the media you’re using. For example, these days I really like having a hand bound book filled with water color paper at hand, because I love painting with watercolors on the correct kind of paper. For collages I mostly like working in big, altered books – but these days also in the TN-sized kind of junk journals I’ve been making (some coming up for sale, some already filled? by yours truly). And then I still am a fan of the more diary like Randomosity journals that I’ve been keeping for a couple of years now. It’s where I collected bits and pieces that are more directly related to my own life, like tickets from traveling to my own photos at times. I still have only filmed volume one, two and three – so that’s another area I should get caught up with because I myself really enjoyed going through those previous volumes and talking about what’s on the pages.

Yummy Pile of Art Journals - Photo Copyright Hanna Andersson

Working in different journals can feel awesome too, and maybe it does for you, but I think the problem starts when you have more than one Journal for kind of the same purpose. It can become a complication because you have to make a decision each time you want to add something: which one should I pick up today? It adds another layer of decision making, and when it comes to habits – that is something you should avoid. The productivity coaches always say that “to make sticking to a habit as easy as possible, you should eliminate as much as possible of the decision making process”. Nike branding has a point, right? Just do it.

No need to choose one journal

If you have one journal, one place and one process that you stick to, all you need to do is sit down and start journaling. It’s when you have a long “starting up time” that you procrastinate, or when you feel overwhelmed with the amount of choices you have to do before you start. For me, I love having one main book at the moment, as I’m working on filling the last spaces to finish it up. It makes me so happy to work concentrated on one big thing, something that is just for me and for my own health.The feeling of happiness? stretches out and becomes bigger for each day of January, and keeps me returning for more the next day.

I haven’t been Art Journaling daily for years… And now that I’m doing it, I can’t understand why I haven’t made it a priority in my life for so many years? Where was my head at all of last year, and the year before that? I didn’t do any art collages either (like I did in 2018 when I created a whopping 365 of them) so that’s not my excuse. Scrolling through instagram, facebook or Pinterest gives me absolutely nothing compared to DIY:ing – doing art myself.

I want to recommend everyone to DIY something, anything – today. What will you create?


2 Responses

  1. I think it was Diana Trout that once said: do not fall into the YouTube trap. When you are watching other people working in their art journals for hours. But if you would have taken the time for yourself, you could have made an art journal page in your own art journal. Yep! Guilty….

    • So true, although I tend to watch people that really inspire me to get going on my own things or to craft along with them, as I watch – so I think that it can work at times! :-)

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