About Art Supplies, Art Journaling and more
First, You Don't Have to Bring Much to the Studio
Most art supplies are provided at the studio. Our small space is stuffed with them for your use! We hope this frees your mind, your spirit and your body to dash into the studio to create!
You just need to bring in a few items. All classes and workshops will specify a supplies list in the class description when you register, but generally you can expect to bring a recommended surface (sometimes an art journal, if you want, and any recommended "special-to-me" items for that particular project.
For Open Studio, you should bring in an art project you're currently working on or your art journal. If you just have the itch to create without any project in mind, you can also just drop in and freely create with the materials we have at the studio.
With that said, the more art making you do the more of your own personal supplies you might want to bring. Collage papers and images from your collection, specialty paints or acrylic mediums, your own nice paint brushes...your personal stash of ink pens.
Feel free to bring in whatever you need. The more we create, the more we learn about and sort out the differences between brands and types of art media and we learn our personal preferences. Only you know what you want for your art work.
A special note about ink pens
Pen work is often part of a mixed media piece whether on an art journal, a canvas, a collage, a drawing or a book. We use ink pens to integrate collage elements, doodle, embellish, hand letter and for expressive mark making. Ink pens are important.
We do have some pens at the studio--but it's a very limited supply and that's on purpose. The truth is, there are so many pens on the market, each specialized by ink type, ink flow, nib size... and while some are more expensive than others, most are easily destroyed. Ink pens really aren't meant to be shared.
We ask that everyone at Createful bring at least two special pens in a pen case.
One permanent ink black ink pen
- Faber Castell Pitt pens are a popular choice
One opaque white gel pen
- Uniball Signo white gel pens are my favorite and people also like Sakura Gelly Roll white pens
You'll want to get yourself a pen case for these pens, and if you just throw it in the bag you bring to class you won't even have to think about it. And beware: the further you go into mixed media and the more techniques you learn, the more pens--and even pen cases--you're going to want to own.
Recommendations for Art Journals
You don't have to art journal in Art Fix classes—but we encourage you to give it a try. (Read About Journaling below). If you want to get yourself an art journal, here are my recommendations:
First, choosing an art journal largely depends on personal preference. It takes a little time to figure out what you like. To begin, get one this is mid-range size (not too small or too large). Somewhere in the 8" - 12" range works best to start. Anything smaller than 5X8" is too small for our purposes (though not all art journaling purposes!), and even 5X8" can feel too small for beginners—while 12X14" or larger can feel too large!
Coils or no coils: it's up to you. You almost need to work in both before you know which one you prefer. So pick one or the other to start.
The most important element is the paper. It must be heavy enough to withstand water mediums. Journals manufactured for mixed media or visual/art journaling work best.
You can purchase art journals at art supply stores such as Michaels or Rileys or online. Canson Mixed Media Journals, Strathmore Watercolor Journals and Dylusions art journals work well.
To Know: In addition to manufactured books, experienced art journalers often create in handmade art journals, alter used, hardbound books and even create separate pages or cards to bind later into creative forms. There are so many fun ways to art journal—this is just the beginning!
Art Journaling and the Inner Critic
Here's a little more about how and why I love visual art journals—and why we often turn to our art journals here at Createful.
When I read through this list of materials my heart beats a little faster. Does yours?
I swoon a little as I imagine what other materials I could add to the list (shells, metallic thread, postage stamps…) and what mediums I could combine with them (acrylic paint, watercolor, spray ink, gel pens, pencil). I begin to think about how I could cut, glue, tear, scribble, drip, brush, dab, doodle, stamp, stencil, scrape, bind, sew, sketch...
My hands want to get busy just speaking those words aloud.
Do your hands want to reach for scissors, paper, art supplies?
WHAT STOPS YOU?
For me, before I began my creative journey years ago I believed that I couldn't make "art" and that I didn't have time to do it.
It took me a long time—way too much wasted time—to face down my Inner Critic and start creating (“Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain"). I wasted value time until I learned that there is always time for what’s important (in fact, there is only time for what's important). Once I listened to my heart (swooning is a pretty good heart message), I found that I’d kept myself from a source of joy I could not have imagined.
THE WAY IN: ART JOURNALING
For me, the beginning was my art journal. And to this day—almost ten years later—my art journal continues to be my day to day creative focus. Page after page, book after book, my art journals are just for me. I usually don’t mind sharing them later, but the art in them is not generally for display.
Knowing that my work there is not for others allows me to be free. I can throw any material onto the page and see what happens. I can take risks and make something ugly (Oh well! Turn the page or cover over it and start over...), I can resist my usual protective reflexes because I am safe in my own art journal.
OUT WITH SELF-CENSORING!
OUT WITH FEAR OF PERFECTION!
SELF JUDGMENT? OFF WITH HER HEAD!
Most of all, I can express myself any way I want in gorgeous color and line and texture...
This is my art journal practice.
OUR GROWING CREATIVE COMMUNITY HAS FOUND ART JOURNALING TOO...
We create all kinds of mixed media art projects here at the studio—but we also do a fair amount of work together in our art journals.
It's true that we all have different reasons for art journaling and different processes.
For some of us, to art journal is more like traditional journaling—but with added visual elements. It's a space to reflect, think, and express what's going on inside.
For others of us, art journaling is pure creative playtime. It's a container to express and to experiment with different art mediums and techniques and ideas—learning as we go. And to create interesting, amazing art pieces, one page at a time.
The truth is, most of us do a little of both: inner excavation and creative play, sometimes in more than one journal at a time!
In the end, though, an art journal is simply another kind of canvas—but a safe canvas you don't have to create on for anyone but yourself. Each page in our book is an art project. And over time, all that creativity builds creative muscle, and often we start making things for other people too...
Sometimes art projects call to be shared, but sometimes we just need to create for ourselves.
The good news is that the choice is completely up to you.