Art Journal Myths Busted

You need to be “good” at art? You need to be struck by inspiration before you can create? Says who? Let's knock down art journal myths. You don't have to be "good." You don't need a muse. You don't need to go to school. What you need to do is take control of your art, your creativity, and yourself. Ready to bust some art journal myths? Click through to continue reading.

You Need to Be “Good” at Art

First of all, who gets to define “good”? Being a good artist is way to relative. Imagine if we both looked at the same five paintings. What are the odd the one we thought was best would be the same? We’re different people. We have different likes, interests, and opinions on what makes "good" art. So don’t use the word “good” and don’t try to trick yourself into thinking you have to be good at art before you can art journal. Your art journal is a reflection of you. The only person who needs to happy with your art journal is you. Make the art you like and forget about what anyone else has to say.

You Need to Be Struck By Inspiration Before You Can Create

Inspiration can help, absolutely. And I love to be inspired by art. I go out of my way to look for inspiration, but that does NOT mean I can only create when I’m inspired. If I wait for inspiration to strike me, I’d only create every once in a while. The truth is those “magical” ah-ha moments some people describe when they talk about their creations don’t happen often. You can be creative without a muse. You can create and art journal without someone hitting you over the head with inspiration. In fact, let's say the muse is a myth as well. We don't like her. She only shows up when she's in the mood, makes a big mess, then leaves us to clean it up. We don't need to wait on some mystical being; let's make art every day instead.

You Need to Set the Mood

It’s nice to get all your supplies set up on the dining room table, get the perfect lighting, and have just the right music playing in the background, but like waiting for inspiration, if you wait for the perfect moment to create, you’re not going to create very often. In The Artist's Way Julia Cameron suggest we stop looking for large blocks of time to create and instead focus on small moments of time to create. It may be the ten minutes you have between coming home and starting dinner. Maybe you get a few minutes at night after the kids are in bed. Or you might pause to work on your art journal several times during the day in three to five-minute blocks.

You Need to go to School for Art

You don’t need a class or a degree to deem you worth to create. Teachers and mentors can help us improve our craft, yes, but you don’t have to get an MFA. Check with your city to find out if there any type of art classes in your community. If you are a visual learning and need to see someone create first, YouTube is an awesome teacher. Search for "art journal pages" or "how to ___fill in the blank___." Other teachers can be books, blogs, e-courses, or a friend or family member who can show you a few tricks. And there isn’t anything wrong with learning on your own. Please don't ever feel the need to spend thousands and thousands of dollars on an "official" degree in art though. The best thing you can do for your art is to get in there and start creating.


Are art journal myths stopping you from creating? Let's knock them down now! (<<< tweet this!)


Art Journaling is Expensive

It can be, yes, but it most certainly does NOT need to be. In fact, I suggest you don't buy too many supplies when you fist start out art journaling because you don't know what you are going to do with your art journal yet. Start with supplies in your house. Do you already own crayons, colored pencils, magazines and newspapers you can cut up? Do you have glue, stamps, or washi tape? Once you've gathered the materials you already own, now you can go buy a few supplies to add to your collection, but don't purchase the most expensive of any material. Walmart has a great art section. Look there first. Once you've used your art journal for a while and know what you like or don't like, then you can branch out and buy some higher quality supplies.

Art Journaling Takes A Lot of Time

Again, it can, but it doesn't need to. The amount of time you put into each page is entirely up to you. A few tips?

  • Don't feel the need to finish a page in one sitting. Often you may need to let layers dry, so it is fine to start a page on Monday and not get around to finishing it until Friday.
  • Also, don't rush yourself. Only have time to paint one tree in a landscape piece? Put time and effort into that tree. It's okay that was all you were able to finish.
  • Don't get frustrated if art journaling takes time; focus on the right now. Enjoy the creation of your art journal pages. (Don't spend so much time looking ahead, you forget to look down every once in a while.)



The “I Don’t Know How” Excuse

I'm just going to stuff my fingers in my ears and pretend I can't hear you. You don't know how? Are you really going to let this myth stop you from creating? No. Repeat after me: "If I don't know how to do something, I will learn." If you need to, write that down. It's okay; I'll wait. You can't let not knowing something stop you. Start with this post: Art Journaling 101. Pay attention to what other people are doing with their art journals. Take an e-course or find a mentor who can show you different art journal techniques. But whatever you do, don't let not knowing how to do something stop you.

Your Art Needs to be Something No One Has Ever Seen Before

Just this past weekend, I pulled up Boho Berry's youtube video on how to create a mandala and followed along, copying pretty much everything she did. Imitation is a fantastic teacher. I don't feel guilty using her video they way she intended it to be used. (I'm also not going to beat myself up because mine doesn't look as "good" as hers.) Until you learn how to do something yourself, it's okay to use other artists' ideas as you create your own journaling pages.

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What art journaling myths are you struggling with? Tell us in the comments below so we can bust those too!