Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Less is More Art Journaling

These are the first two page spreads in my current art journal.  If you've been following my blog long enough, you may notice that these pages are very different from those of my earliest journals.  The pages are emptier, there's more white space, the colours are more muted.  I'm calling it my "less is more" art journal:

"Sharing Diffusion."  Found text, Faber-Castell Pitt pen, watercolour pencils, gold gel pen, photocopied book page, acrylic paint.
"Forget Everything."  Found text, Faber-Castell Pitt Pen, collaged paper, watercolour pencils.

In my earliest art journals, I tried to cram as much onto a page as I could with layers of collage, acrylic paints, gel pen doodles, and lettering.  It was the kind of style that I saw most often on other blogs.  But I began to realize that those pages did not fit the way I wanted to live my life.  I want to build my life around concepts such as simplicity, minimalism, and wabi-sabi.  I am becoming more interested in sketching and watercolours and less interested in collage and acrylics.  I like muted neutral and earth tones more than bright colours.  None of these aspects of my life were being represented in my journal pages.

The journal that I named "Number Four" marked a turn towards simpler, single-layer pages, but I still wasn't sure what my style was, or even if I wanted to continue keeping an art journal.  After my last art journal was finished, I didn't start another one.  Then I discovered Quinn McDonald's book, Raw Art Journaling, and I was reminded of why I had started keeping an art journal in the first place.  Her style in the book - focused on simple techniques using ordinary materials - began to give me ideas of what I wanted my next art journal to become.

I started this art journal this spring, and I quickly settled on a name for it: the less is more journal.  Less is more art journaling recognizes that less (using fewer materials, fewer colours, fewer layers, fewer images) can create more meaning on a page.  I use only a few simple materials - mainly my Faber-Castell Pitt drawing pens and my watercolour pencils - and I use collage and acrylics sparingly.  The PooPooPaper notebook that I am using for this journal has rough pages that aren't ideal for watercolours - sometimes the pigments bleed through to the other side - but embracing imperfection is part of what I want my life to be about, so it works for me.  I try to create pages that are rich in meaning for me, even if they don't look fancy or elaborate.  I create the pages slowly, over days, weeks, or even months, and I don't worry about completing them chronologically.  I've been working in this journal since February and I only have a handful of page spreads completed.  But that is okay.  Less is more.

What do you think about less is more art journaling?  Is it something that you would be interested in trying?


  1. Less is more -- I love that as an art journal principle! Bravo for following what is meaningful to you instead of simply emulating what you see online. I have a notebook made of recycled poo paper, too - how ideal for your wabi-sabi attitude! I love the way ink spreads out unpredictably on it.

    1. Thank you! It's taken me several years to get to this stage, but now that I am here, I am very happy with it. It is a wonderful feeling to create a journal page and know that it is so much more "me."


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