Freedom Ambassador Sue Leslie always loved arts and crafts as a child, and happily reconnected with crafting about five years ago. Sue especially loves paper crafting – stamping, die cutting, stencilling, doodling, embossing – she loves them all!

But her real passion is Art Journals, combining colourful imagery and positive words to create a unique, personal and emotionally relevant art object. In today’s post, Sue looks at how you can get started in Art Journalling and where to find inspiration.

Recently I had the pleasure of creating a new art journal. I made an altered book journal using a vintage hardback book with gorgeous thick cream-coloured pages.

I decided it would have a gardening/plants theme, and I included loads of great visual elements – beautiful leaf stamps, some botanical line drawings from a hundred-year-old school book, some tags of birds and flowers with jute strings, and some cool ephemera in the way of old cigarette cards with gardening tips and flowers of every hue.

Great stuff. But paradoxically, the more bits I added to the book, the more empty it seemed! I loved all of the elements, but at that stage, it just had no real meaning for me.

You can make the most gorgeous page ever, but in the end it’s just images, colours, and textures arranged in a pleasing manner. As such, its personal value is limited to a brief frisson of pleasure for a design job well done. The lack (so far) of any truly personal elements in my altered book made me fully aware of the fundamental importance of meaningful content for every kind of journal.

Whether mainly words or mainly art, your journals need to include things that are important to you and your sense of identity. Now it could be argued that the journals in themselves are an element of, even a testament to, personal identity – and that’s fine as far as it goes. But looking back through an old journal and finding that poem you love but haven’t thought about recently, or that precious family photo, or a ticket stub to a concert, or the lyrics to your favourite song – those are the kinds of things that will make your journal mean so much more, both to you and to anyone you share it with.

So here are some things you could include in your journaling to increase its meaning and personal relevance:

  • Photocopies of formative/favourite poems
  • Photos – family, friends, pets
  • Ticket stubs – plays, concerts, festivals
  • Travel or holiday ephemera – tickets, menus, guides, postcards
  • Inspirational quotes, affirmations, mantras, and key words that you want to remember
  • Lyrics to your favourite/significant songs – plus pics of the artists/performers
  • Bits of wrapping paper and special cards – Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries.

You get the idea – use literally anything that has personal meaning for you! Have fun and really make it your own.

Journaling is like most things in life – the more of yourself you put into it, the more you will get out of it, the more meaning it will contain, and the more it will truly reflect who you are. And when you know who you are then you are capable of great things.

By admin