A Word About Skill Level…

Each and every art journalist had to start at the very same place — The Beginning. Everyone started art journaling not knowing what to do, where to go, how to start, what techniques/tools/media could be used.

I started art journaling at the end of 2011. That’s when I learned about this magnificently creative way to journal. I am a beginner… There was even a long stint between when I fell in love with art journaling in 2011 and now where I did absolutely nothing art journal wise except watch an occasional video. I was depressed — too depressed to take action on anything. Then in May of this year, I pulled my journals back out and slowly started getting back into them. You wouldn’t  be able to tear me away from them at this point…

Effy Wild, one of my favorite art journalists, has a post on one of her sites which talks about not comparing yourself to others. One statement she makes in her post resonates loudly with me:

“Compare [yourself to others] for one reason only: to see what you want to learn.”

That’s it. It’s that simple. Do not compare yourself and then berate yourself with “my work doesn’t measure up” or “I will never be that good” or any of the other negative self talk that plagues creatives. S/He is not better than you. S/He is different than you. S/He has a different style, uses the same techniques slightly differently thereby yielding a different result, and has different tastes than you. Why would you want to recreate what someone else has already created? Your art journal is YOU — about YOU, for YOU, and from YOU. Be YOU in your art journal and not someone else…

I am not saying don’t look at other’s work. That’s almost entirely where I get my inspiration from. It’s also how I learn different techniques, information on different products, and instruction on how to use the products I have for my art journaling. Watching others will give you inspiration and ideas, will instruct and educate you, and will help you grow into the art journalist you want to be. It will help you to develop your style, because that’s whose style should be in a personal art journal — yours and yours alone. Deconstruct the page(s) and figure out what s/he did to create the page, pull out the things you want to do on your page, and then create your page your way. Learn from what you watch and read, don’t compare yourself to it.

Think about it, if you were to take an art journal class or workshop you would be learning techniques to use on your own pages. You may be following along and recreating the exact same page(s) as the instructor; however, that is only to facilitate learning of the technique without having the student struggle to come up with a design that the new technique could be used on. You are learning techniques, not individual style. Take that knowledge, apply it to your own pages and make them yours.

As a further source of encouragement for you, take a look at my pages. They are not complex, they don’t incorporate 10 techniques on one page, they are quick and simple yet beautiful. Why? Because I’m still learning and I’ll try one or two techniques on a page to see how I like doing them and how they will end up. Because I don’t know that many techniques yet. Because I am still developing my individual style…

My pages can be seen here on this blog, on my S.E.V.E.N. Circle Sistahs website, and I’ve recently created a YouTube channel so people can watch the process. I find that viewing process videos greatly aids me in understanding techniques and in generating ideas for my pages. Enjoy and stop belittling yourself!

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