Art Journaling vs Scrapbooking

By Marion Boddy-Evans

Exactly where art journaling stops and scrapbooking starts isn’t always clear, but there is a difference between the two in terms of intent. Art journaling is focused on the creation of a visual journal or diary using your artistic skills and techniques, whereas scrapbooking is focused on the collation and presentation of memories, photos, small keepsakes and memorabilia, using creative techniques to enhance these.

The line between art journaling and scrapbooking can be blurred, depending on an individual’s preferences and creativity. There are simply no fixed rules about what you can or can’t do in an art journal or when scrapbooking.

What is Scrapbooking?’s Scrapbooking Guide, Rebecca Ludens, describes scrapbooking as the “creative art of taking books with blank pages and adding photos, memorabilia, journaling, and embellishments”. Rebecca adds that the “primary purpose of scrapbooking is to preserve memories for future generations” but that often there’s a secondary purpose, which is “to exercise your creativity as you display your memories in a scrapbook”.

What is Art Journaling?

An art journal is a visual journal or diary, rather than a traditional diary or journal filled only with words. It’s a place where you give physical form to your thoughts, expectations and dreams, realities and events, everyday events and exceptional occasions. While an art journal can/does include memories, it’s not limited to these; it’s also about personal reflections, philosophies or observations. It’s for all sides of yourself, from expressing the childlike aspects of yourself that ‘responsible adults’ may scorn, to your darkest side and secrets. It’s for when you’re at home and when you’re traveling.

Whether you create the art or visuals in response to something you want to journal, or whether you use art as a starting point, doesn’t matter. Anything and everything goes:painting, drawing, pen and ink, doodling and noodling, stamping, photos, and collage.

An art journal is somewhere to save ideas, while a scrapbook is somewhere to save memories. A scrapbook is the intended end result, whereas an art journal is just a step on the path of creation. An art journal is a time capsule of your creativity.

Tips for Art Journaling:

  • A spiral bound journal will stay open flat, making it easier to work in and to leave open if you need something to dry.
  • If you want a thicker (or heavier weight) paper, trying looking among artist’s sketchbook in art supply stores, as well as among custom-made journals in a stationery store.
  • Use a journal that has pages with and without ruled lines, otherwise you might find yourself ‘obeying’ the lines in a similar way on each page.
  • Making your own journal means you can put exactly the type of paper into it that you want, or even a variety of papers for changing moods. A ring binder or file is a simple format, or punch holes and bind the sheets between some stiffer paper or card using a cord or even keyrings.





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