Make Art with Anything

I've ranted and raved about commercialism in art journaling before. (been under a rock or just discovering me now? Click here.) And I keep ranting about it. I've been gathering videos for technique today over the last few days. (It gives me a nice 20 minute or so break from reading heavy stuff.) It's becoming increasingly difficult to find videos with good solid art technique, if I stick to videos related to art journaling. I'm not usually too shy about looking at stuff that is art andnot art journaling related. But as I viewed video after video, it really hit me.

It's hard to find a video about art journaling that isn't a blatant ad for a product or process or linked to classes. All of it is trying to get us to part with our money. I'm wary of technique videos that read like a who's who of products. Tim Holtz this. Glimmer Mist that. Hellmuth's paints. Grunge Board. Glossy Accents. Spray inks. The videos don't teach us a technique but to be reliant on these products. They don't teach us how to make these product (though there are some old vids that do) they teach us to buy more.

Here's the deal, the secret, all you need to art journal is a pen and a journal. Call me a minimalist but my every day art journal carry (EDAJC) has been the following for the last 2 weeks: A Field Notes notebook, a BanditApple Carnet PeeWee, in a leather cover I made myself and a shitty ballpoint pen*. If I were to extend out my EDAJC I'd add a tin of watercolors in limited colors, a waterbrush, a camera**, a pencil and eraser.

I'm not making "great" art but I am making meaningful art. The art I'm making is helping me to remember the look of the sky as I waited when I picked up my partner. Or the jerking of the train as it rounded corners. Or calmed me after a busy class. This, to me, is what making and creating a journal is all about. It's not about the products I'm buying andusing. It's about the memories I'm creating. It's about my life.

It's real.

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*And by shitty I mean, a sturdy servicable pen that works reliably. But Costs $1.25 and is a standard ball point. I review it here.

** Yup a camera. I've been using Hipstamatic on my old iPoo for awhile now, and it'sstill  just as fun as it ever was. I consider much of my photography as art journaling.

  • sheryl

    That is so true and there are many good technique videos and as you said many using only commercial foo dads! Love the boldness of your portraits. I am lazy and it is too much effort to go to my loft studio where all my stuff is so i usually sit I’m my living room chair and use whatever pen is handy. I do always carry my book and go to the museum to sketch.More to see what is there by looking and drawing things more carefully. I do notice much more about the art if i do that. It is a deeper appreciation. It was your online art journaling group that got me interested and then your videos taught and inspired. Thanks Less

  • Amen to that.

  • Angie

    So glad to hear someone else talking about this. So many times I am reading and then realize that “oh, it’s another sales pitch”
    And don’t get me wrong, to be able to support yourself in the artistic world means constant self promotion and such, but boy, it sure is nice to know that it’s okay to use whatever is in the junk drawer at home!! (or maybe a lost pen or pencil in the bottom of a purse stuck to that piece of gum you thought you had thrown out….

  • SusanJane

    You are our conscience. Good common sense.

  • Love your whole style Les Herger. I don’t even know where all these people come from who are showing us and now I have my *brand name here* thing and about to draw it on my *brand name here* paper …

  • rainbow

    I agree with you. It’s all about products and not so much about art anymore. Sigh.

    • lessherger

      I’ve got a Cult of Stuff style rant brewing, I think art journaling is getting a lot of influx and influence from the scrapping community. While not always a bad thing, the element that I think it not good for art journaling is the commercial aspect. while a lot of the commercial “things” in scrapping were designed to make things easier, I don’t see a lot of the things that we’re getting as making art journaling “easier.” What I see that we’re getting are items HEAVILY influenced by scrapping, rather than people who are deeply involved in art journaling making stuff for us, we’re getting people out of the scrapping industry looking at art journaling as the next great frontier. the great art journaling products are books that give us ideas, things like Trout’s Journal Spilling, the Journal Junkies books. I think people mistake mixed media in a book for art journaling. Two different processes and influences it’s not all one and the same