The Art Journal Habit: A History


Roughly a decade ago, my past self stumbled upon an art journalist’s blog and I began what has been an on-again/off again relationship with art journaling.  The blog was called “The Trumpetvine Travels,” and Martha’s posts about her travel sketchbooks made a huge impact on how I saw my own artistic abilities and inclinations.  I’d say it completely opened my eyes to the possibility of pursuing art when for years I’d assumed that I had no talent and had missed the boat for mastering any art form whatsoever.

Trumpetvine Header.jpg

A bit of history: Like many rural kids, I attended a small school with little to no funding for developing artistic talent.  Once I graduated out of the elementary school construction paper projects, there were no longer any classes available to explore art.  None.  My little school dealt exclusively with the major classes required to help its students make their state and federal requirements.  If I had been an art prodigy, with above average talent and drive, I’m sure this wouldn’t have stopped me from learning on my own, but I wasn’t.  I was an average kid, with average talent, and a slightly above average interest, but not enough to challenge the system in any way.  I accepted that I wasn’t artistic.  It was a shame, but it was reality, and I honestly didn’t lose any sleep over it.


Martha’s San Francisco Bay sketch

I took my first art class my junior year of college, a design theory elective, and I’d say that this experience began the “awakening.”  I followed it with a couple of graphic design courses the next year, and found out that though I was not at the prodigy level, I really enjoyed making time for artistic projects.  The instructors also affected the way I saw my capabilities and encouraged me to pursue my artistic inclinations further.  I was a history major in my senior year, so a career in art wasn’t on the table, but I felt inspired to figure out a way to make it part of my life.

After graduating from college, I went home to find a “real job,” and to prepare myself to start grad school.  The next 3 years would be some of the most frustrating of my young life!  I felt stuck, without any real drive to enter a grad school program and I really really HATED my office job.  I was certain that I was wasting my life away and treading water, but low and behold, I was wrong!


An adventure was just around the corner, and it was during this waiting period that I developed some of the habits that I most cherish now.  I learned how to play the piano using the chords method, which is now a big part of my life and a great source of joy for me.  I also discovered the world of art journaling, and I began another habit that continues to bring me joy.

There concludes my (lengthy) backstory!  Next time: The Art Journal Habit: First Steps

Do you have any habits/hobbies that brought you joy in a difficult time?


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