Zom Osborne & Seven Truths of Art Journaling

In her first guest post, Zom–who teaches art journaling workshops in Australia–wrote about how art journaling can make you brave. In this post, she offers seven truths for art journaling, things you might not have considered but that lie at the very heart of what art journaling can be.


Art in Service page by Zom Osborne

Truth 1: Don’t worry about planning; you can be spontaneous.

Most of my art journal pages are unplanned.

When I am in the mood, I make backgrounds. When I feel like doing some collage, I go through the images that I have saved and see which ones attract me. Then I pick one or two and try them out on the different backgrounds. When I see a combination I like, I glue it down. I do the same with writing. I have a small drawer where I collect writings, mostly my own, sometimes someone else’s, and then I just pluck out whatever resonates at the time and write it onto a collaged page. This leads to some very interesting synchronicity. People often think I have planned these juxtapositions but I haven’t.


Truth 2: Ugly backgrounds can end up the best art journal pages.

Ugly beginnings are tremendously freeing.

I have noticed time and time again, when I make an ugly background, I feel free to do almost anything on top. I don’t feel like I can mess it up and that is terribly freeing.


Truth 3: Beautiful backgrounds can be dangerous. 

You worry about messing them up.

When I do an exceptionally beautiful background, I often find myself avoiding doing any more, afraid that I will lessen its beauty.


I Only Came Out for Lipstick by Zom Osborne

Truth 4: Don’t rip the page out, just keep going. 

When a page is at this point it is fabulous because now it can’t get any worse – you can risk doing anything.

Here are some journal pages where I just kept going.


Truth 5: Just try it and see what happens (whatever strikes your fancy). There is always another page. (and there is Truth 6).


Truth 6: You can always gesso over it.

Or gesso over part of it. Gesso is the giant art journal eraser. Except it is even better than an eraser because you still have what is underneath as another layer. And layers are mysterious and cool.

A very old post where I talk about The magic of gesso.


Truth 7: Try what sounds like fun (rather than what you think will ‘work’.)

Here is a post telling the story about a time I ‘ruined’ a drawing following what sounded like fun. I did not regret it.


Your art journal is for you. It is a place to explore, experiment and make lots of mistakes. That is what creativity is, making lots of mistakes, to the point where you no longer know what is a mistake and what isn’t.


To see more of Zom’s work, visit her website and her blog.


Ricë also blogs at The Voodoo Cafe.


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