Updated: Apr 27
I spent about ten years teaching various art and creative clubs at our daughters' school, and one of the last clubs I did was Art Journaling. I developed it out of necessity and it turned out to be one of the most enjoyable. Prior to this club, among other classes, I was doing Mixed Media Art lessons for high schoolers (ages 13-15 generally) during their lunch hour. Well, the lunch hour was actually 50 minutes and in those precious 50 minutes, the students had to get their lunches, which often involved standing in line at the school canteen and eating, which meant eating before coming into the art room as I had a rule of no food mixed in with mixed media. So by the time the kids got into the class, we'd have about 20 to 30 minutes (if we were lucky), because I also had to allow 10 minutes for clean-up. See, there was an actual class that started at the top of the hour, so the room had to be clean and empty. Projects that could have taken a couple of hours to complete, ended up taking weeks and weeks. And all but the most dedicated kids got bored of doing one project for weeks at a time.
So one year I decided that I would try hosting a Journaling club. Each student would get a good quality art journal and each week, I'd introduce a new project. My goal was to let the kids take charge of their art. They could complete a project in one session or take as many sessions as they wanted. Because a Journal allowed them to just "turn the page" students could find a clean page to start a new project, if they wanted to, or go back to an old unfinished project. They could decide to not do that week's project if it wasn't interesting for them and again, work on an unfinished project or do some thing else entirely in their journal.
My job, as I saw it, was to facilitate. I'd give them ideas, by way of demonstrations, introduce techniques, provide them with the supplies, and then let them go. I could circulate offering them help, hints or just encouragement. I still introduced lots of different mediums and techniques, as I had with Mixed Media, but since they were working on a smaller scale, clean up was quicker and easier for the most part. It was most interesting to see what they came up with, based on the suggestions I gave. Some kids really embraced the opportunity to try new things and to put their personal flare on them. Others were determined to apply their preferred method to each and every project (one student always drew faces no matter what medium or topic I introduced).
In future Blogs, I'll briefly provide step-by-step instructions on some of my favorite projects if you're interested in trying them yourselves or with your own artists. Here's a sample of some of those.