Visual Art Diary – Art Journal

Many Students have these, and most have them because they are told they have to as part of their studies, perhaps VCE Studio Arts. Ok get over it, you should use one because you want to, not as a have to. Many Artists use them as a way to create lasting record of things they want to record, often from their daily encounters with life.

So what’s the value, the benefit, the reason… Well most people who have one, will have seen the benefit and should be able to tell you, it’s for exploring, writing, gathering, recording, giving you points to reflect on and not just as a sketch book, it’s more than a diary to write in; note the title “Visual Diary” or “Art Journal”.

Here’s a quote from the Victorian Curriculum Board…

A visual diary may take any form that supports the student’s individual design process and is reflective of the key knowledge and key skills as detailed in the study design.

The design process can be presented in a variety of ways that suit the student’s needs or the art form being developed. The visual diary may contain a record of work in development in the form of photographs, sketches or screen dumps. It will contain a record of trials and explorations throughout the design process; these should be in the form of annotations and evaluations.

The student’s ideas, as outlined in their exploration proposal, must be reflected in their visual diary.

My suggestion is to see the Journal as a way to keep things together, so when you want to show how a work of art, or your thinking has developed, you have the “evidence” rather than just having some new art tangent you have miraculously plucked from “thin air”.

In simple terms it’s a diary on steroids, not just a collection of past events, but of present thoughts and ideas as well, that you can reflect on and use in the future. A personal resource of information (it can include anything and everything you can think of that fits on to a flat page.)

Do a bit of internet searching and you will probably find lots of outlines for how to create a journal, but the key to creating one is making it work, and that’s simple, get one and use it all the time. Example, I bet you have a mobile phone with you all the time, same with this, you can even have a small one so you can carry it with ease then add your entries to a big one if you want. If the first one gets filled up grab another one and add to that to. One thing I will say, NEVER throw out rip out any part of the diary, keep it in tact, you never know when some info you were going to throw out will be useful.

The Journal can be great to have at an interview for courses of further study, as it can reaveal a great deal about HOW you work and back up the actual work.

If you want to see journalling on steroids (go on take a look…) check out the 1000 journals website and see how others have tackled Journal writing on a massive scale!

And here’s a video to give you more ideas…


One Response to “Visual Art Diary – Art Journal”

  1. Emmeline on January 21st, 2009 3:36 pm

    That’s excellent advice. I’m starting The Anti-Scrapbooking Society at an artspace called Emerald Arts (Newcastle, Australia). Basically it’s for anyone and everyone to get together and make art diaries/journals in as many different ways as possible… there is a facebook group (just started) and a Manifesto for you to check out:




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