After I watched her video showing her art journal, I asked Zom, who teaches art journaling in Australia, to talk a little about her passion for journaling, and she wrote this amazing post that I just love.
Being creative is a strange balance between refining and perfecting your skills and taking risks. Taking risks usually involves doing something you have never done before, which means you have to be willing to fail.
In my experience, the biggest hurdle to being creative is fear. Most people are under the illusion that creative people are born oozing creativity and everything they make is fabulous.
But it isn’t true. The truth is that people who are creative practice their creativity. I read once that you have to paint 300 bad paintings to get to the good ones. In the beginning all my paintings were bad. Now, after twenty years the percentage has gradually gotten lower. But I still consistently paint a percentage of paintings that I would not show.
Many people don’t realize that it is always a mixture. If you are being creative it is always a mixture of success and failure. It has to be. You are making something that has never been made before.
But we think that every thing we make is telling us whether we are talented or not. That every piece is a judge of our worth as a creative.
How do we get free of this? Basically you have to make a lot of stuff. You have to draw so many drawings, put together so many collages, create so much that you know from your own experience that some of what you make will be bad, some will be good and a lot you just won’t know either way. By this time, it won’t matter so much because you will realize that you are creative because you create. And you will have fallen in love with just making stuff, good or bad.
How does this relate to art journaling? Well, art journaling is a fast way to get there. The first journal pages you do will probably be scary. You will probably rate them, judge yourself and wonder whether you should keep going. If they are ‘bad’ in your opinion, you will feel discouraged and think you can’t do it. If they are ‘good’ you will feel encouraged for a while – until you create a page that isn’t so good. Or if you are less fortunate, you will keep making ‘good’ pages and find yourself mysteriously bored. Because to keep making pages that you like, you will have avoided taking too many chances.
Because if you take chances, try things where you don’t know what you are doing or are something you would never usually do, it is inevitable: you will make stuff you don’t like.
But a wonderful thing about an art journal is that you just keep going. (A journal page where I kept going.) You can put more layers on your ‘ugly’ page, you can experiment more radically because you don’t have to worry about ruining it. Or, you can turn the page and go onto the next page and the next and the next. You don’t need to hang it on the wall, or even hide it in the closet. You just close your private book and you don’t have to show anyone.
An art journal is like a private room where you can quietly close the door. All your experiments, your play, your explorations, beautiful and ugly creations are there in your private space.
You are practicing taking risks, you are practicing being courageous, you are learning how to be brave.
Ricë also blogs at The Voodoo Cafe.
Read more about art journaling.
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