The following 3 books are what I consider must have’s for people new to art journaling. The techniques are basic but explained well and these books suggest that you experiment.
Danny Gregory’s The Creative License. He includes interviews from a wide range of people and suggests a simple set of tools- pens, watercolor, and journal with a sense of documenting the simple and everyday items around you to appreciate the moment. Danny Gregory has a great blog that he no longer updates as much as he used to but is a great resource.
The Journal Junkies Workshop by Eric Scott and David Modler. This is a comprehensive guide to techniques that you can use with pretty simple materials. Again observation is mentioned here, as well as writing and creating texture and visual interest. This book works much more in the abstract realm than Danny Gregory. These guys run a neat blog too.
Diana Trout’s book Journal Spilling is another favorite of mine to suggest to people just starting out. She gives you a serious list of tools to use in your art journal, all using simple materials that are inexpensive. Additionally she’s got a set of youtube videos that go along with the book as well as a blog. I’ve reviewed her books for the zine and I’ll report that article here at some point.
What you’ll notice about these 3 books is that they suggest simple materials and gathering your own materials to use in your journals. These books avoid pre made materials that you can buy at the craft store. This makes your journals 100% your own. It’s this sense of unique that I think people look for when they create a journal. These books all foster that spirit and not the “cult of stuff.”
One of the questions I get asked pretty often is what books I would recommend to someone just starting out in art journaling. There are 3 books I think are essential to anyone just starting out in Art Journaling.
First is Keri Smith’s How to be an Explorer of the World. I reviewed this for the zine and I’ll republish the article here at some point. But this book is all about looking at the world around you. It’s inspiring. It’s full of proposed action. Get it.
The second is Dan Price’s How to Make a Journal of Your Life. I haven’t reviewed this but will. It’s about opening up your perception of the world and learning how to look and to be in the moment.
The third is Danny Gregory’s Every Day Matters. I also should review this book. It’s about learning that life, every moment of it, matters and that we should take time to fully savor and enjoy it.
What you’ll notice about all three of these books is that not one of them is about technique. They are about enjoying your life, opening up your mind and looking at life and enjoying every day. None of the books recommend expensive materials; in fact Kerri Smith’s book is made to be used as a journal. Dan Price suggests you start out in a cheap pocket sized spiral notebook and Danny Gregory suggests a cheap watercolor set, black ink pen and a moleskine.
As I see more and more of the “cult of stuff” filtering into my precious art journal scene I am more and more drawn to “old school” art journaling- a black ink pen, a set of travel watercolors and a simple sketchbook. These 3 books are just that good old fashioned basic books on art journal, full of inspirational text that will get your art journal mojo going.