Here’s a little something about me you may have caught onto if you know me well: I love people.
Seriously. Most all of them.
I love talking to people, hearing their stories, and finding out what they care about. Don’t get me wrong, I prize my alone time too… but there’s something so great about meeting someone new or catching up with a trusted friend. Now, here comes the plot twist. One of my favorite groups to spend time with is made up entirely of people I’ve yet to meet in person.
The not-so-little section of instagram where the art journalers come to play has become an awesome source of community for me. Through hashtags and follows, artists who may be journaling in their guest rooms, at their kitchen tables, or in beautiful art studios get to share their work and their lives with each other.
In 2016 when I started sharing pieces of my early attempts at art journaling, I discovered I shared a lot with the art journaling community beyond our love of art and journaling. Many of the values I hold close are also important in the art journaling community. Take a look at these pages I did this week while thinking about the character of this group.
As my spread shows, I found the art journaling community to be authentic, encouraging, positive, welcoming, social, and safe. It’s important to me that the communities I belong to are inclusive and supportive of anyone who wants to be a part of them, so seeing a group of people from all over the globe inspiring and encouraging each other is goal status! And unlike other social media spaces, I have yet to encounter any trolls or negative feedback (except that once when I misspelled Justin Bieber’s last name, but we’ll consider that a special case).
This community ethos is what jumped out at me again this week when I picked up the latest issue of Art Journaling magazine. I might have been especially aware of their use of ethos since I’m currently reading Losh and Alexander’s, Understanding Rhetoric: A Graphic Guide to Writing, but it’s also kinda my job to be a rhetoric nerd…
Even just looking at the cover of the magazine, we can see hints of the politics I mentioned in my spread. Two of the articles teased on the cover, “How to practice self-care through journaling” and “Empowered women empower women: Celebrating sisterhood with art” emphasize self-advocacy and community. “Facing the challenge of working on a small scale” invites journalers to try something new. The promise of an artist profile will introduce readers to a new-to-them artist or perhaps help them learn more about someone they already follow online.
By previewing these four article titles on the cover, Art Journaling magazine is showing their ethos. Losh and Alexander tell us that ethos is the trustworthiness a speaker develops through their argument. In this case, we art journalers can trust this speaker, Art Journaling magazine, because they’ve demonstrated they share the values of our community. This is all before we even talk about how they feature art journalers’ submissions on their cover and throughout their magazine! There’s no question that this magazine knows their audience (us!) and how to reach us. I’ll be writing more about what’s inside the magazine in later posts, but for today, I just couldn’t get past the ethos. Consider it a love letter to my art journaling community. :)
I’d like to continue this love fest in the comments. What is your favorite part of the art journaling community? What do you see as the core values or ethos of this group?
For those of you who aren’t (yet?!) part of the art journaling community, I’d love to hear about the communities you belong to that you feel at home in. I can’t imagine the art journalers are the only ones who’ve cracked it!
For the next several months, I’ll be blogging on a topic I care a lot about (drumroll, please): art journaling!
If this term is new to you, the good news is it is pretty self-explanatory. Art journaling is the combination of art and, you guessed it, journaling. Typically this is done in a journal but other than that, the form the art and journaling take is completely up to the art journaler. In my art journaling, I tend use a lot of paint, collage, doodling, patterning, printed pictures, and ephemera.
I started art journaling in January 2016, so I’m fairly new to the game. If you want to know more about my beginnings with art journaling, you should check out my TEDxGeorgiaSouthern presentation. I’ve led art journaling workshops around Statesboro, co-hosted the July 2018 GlueBook Party (an instagram art meetup), and even incorporated art journaling practices into my first year composition course as brainstorming and organization tools.
Something that makes art journaling so easy and rewarding to share with others is that it is accessible to anyone with very basic supplies. Anyone with a pen and a notebook can do it! Add in some old magazines, a box of crayons, an old movie ticket stub, some stickers, well… you can see how easy it could be to get a lot of supplies without much investment. The most important supplies are creativity and a willingness to try. Because art journaling is personal, it’s not evaluated by any kind of rules or requirements. Anything you put on the page is good! As long as you are getting something from either the process or the product, the art journaling has served its purpose.
One thing I get from art journaling is a sense of community. I choose to share some of my art journaling pages online and through that I can connect with other art journalers. I have friends all over the world thanks to the art journaling community and I am regularly inspired and challenged by them. One thing going on right now that has inspired me is the Creative Bug and @getmessyartjournal collaboration: #creativebuggetsmessy. Here's their intro video.
Throughout September, they'll provide daily prompts, instructional videos, and live instagram sessions. There’s even a free year of Get Messy membership to win, if you complete all the prompts! If you’re interested in checking out #creativebuggetsmessy, you can see membership info on their profiles. If you aren’t ready to pay, the instagram hashtag and live sessions are free of charge and allow you to create some art journaling pages along with the Get Messy folks. I watched a session tonight and it has me itching to get into my journal!
Now I’m curious about your experience. Have any of you tried art journaling? What about art or journaling separately? Let me know in the comments so I can get a sense of what you might like to read about as I go on.
Amanda J. Hedrick
Story collector, recipe enthusiast, educator, striving for a constant input and output of all things art and learning.