An altered book art journal is a place for art making and writing that utilizes an old book as the canvas. Other versions of art journaling you might have heard: Art journal, junk (or junque) journal, artist book, visual journal, smash book, glue book, altered book, sketchbook. Each of these other variations have their own nuanced approach and benefits.
1. Sometimes words aren’t enough
Taking pen to paper can be a great way to get stuff off your chest, but sometimes words aren’t enough to capture the essence of how you’re doing. While writing and other logical thinking tap into the left hemisphere of your brain, in art journaling we use images, color, and other expressive elements which tap into the right hemisphere. So when words aren’t enough, diving into imagery to explore what you are feeling can be a great way to more fully express yourself.
2. Creative playground to experiment and play
Unlike a big blank canvas or piece of paper that can feel intimidating, in altered book art journaling there are already words or images on the page. For many, starting with a page that already has “stuff” on it can make getting started a whole lot easier. In art journaling the key is to work in layers, so you get to keep experimenting, playing, and adding onto your page until it feels "done" for you. This can be a very freeing experience and one that encourages exploration and playfulness.
3. Develop creativity and artist identity
An art journal has no rules, so it’s the perfect place to explore your own creativity and artist identity. As a former no-no-I’m-not-a-“real”-artist person, I have found my own artist identity within the pages and time I’ve spent in my own altered book art journals.
4. Encourage presence
While making art, your focus is on the materials in front of you. Your art journal can be a wonderful place to tune into the present moment. As you watch your brush move across the page, the scissor splice through a magazine page, your pencil dance across the paper, you will find that your racing thoughts begin to slow down and shift into the background. After a session of art making, you’ll likely find yourself feeling more relaxed and present.
5. It’s fun!
Your altered book art journal can be a place for you to have fun! When else in your adult life do you get to show up, make a mess, create without a plan, and spend some precious time for yourself?
An altered book art journal is so much more than a space to make art; it is a space to dive deep, explore, create, play, slow down, or whatever else you need it to be.
If you’re ready to get started with an altered book art journal, I invite you to enroll in my class!