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Visual Art Journal

What is your visual art journal?

Your art journal or sketchbook, will likely be your most important tool throughout your art education.  It is the starting point of your creative journey. Whether it's a prompt given by your teacher or something you have chosen yourself, your art journal is where you begin documenting your ideas.  It could be a strong concept, a rough idea, or just some doodles - it all starts here.

How do you begin working in your art journal?  Often your teacher will give you some initial prompts or small tasks to complete.  This might be as simple as adhering a list of art vocabulary or other introductory handouts. 


For some basic art vocabulary to help you get started, click here.

From there you might begin to explore what these words mean..

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..or maybe you'll begin by personalising the cover of your art journal with your own unique design.

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A good starter task - try drawing any object of your choice. Write the date.  Give yourself some time and come back to that same object to draw again.  This is a good way to see your progress for yourself.

It's always good to annotate your work.  This means to label your ideas and to write down a few simple notes about your process. Each page of your art journal should be a balance between textual and visual information.

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As you progress further through your art course you will be expected to write reflections and evaluations of your work.


A good rule of thumb to follow is to always try and answer these 3 questions about your work.  Try to be specific!

What did you do?

What went well?

What could be improved?

Artist research, analysis of specific artworks and documentation of important art periods will further influence your understanding and your own art-making practice.  Use your journal to explore these topics in your own creative way..

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Good layout and design skills can be important to how you organize and present your ideas. Think about your art journal as a magazine and your the art director.   Each page should be balanced between text and images.  Use headers and subheaders to organize the page and highlight your ideas  This can be furthered by using bold writing, different, colors and varying font styles. Ulitmately, treat your art journal like an art project in itself.

The great thing about working in your art journal is that you can do it almost anywhere and at anytime.  To get the most out of your art course keep your journal with you where ever you go.  Try to spend a minimum of 20 minutes every day working in it.  This could be working on tasks set by your teacher; revisiting old ideas; or something entirely new of your own creation. 


Here's a short video to get you thinking:

For even more ideas take a look at this website.  Lots of fun and interesting starting points:  Art Prompts

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