Urban Sketch or Art Journal?

Christy Olsen

Sketchbooks or journals (visual or handwritten) are all diaries. They record events, observations, news, or thoughts of a personal nature. It's been a long-standing tradition. Each artist has a reason for keeping one or more and may have several, each dedicated to a specific medium, technique, or subject matter.

Art Journaling Versus Urban Sketching

Sketchbooks or journals help the artist articulate what they see, feel, or experience throughout their lives. Through the centuries, artists have kept notebooks in which they experimented and recorded themselves, which may or may not be for show.

'Art Journaling' and 'urban sketching' are modern-day art movements influenced by artists connecting with each other over the internet, which have exploded in the last decade. Each involves the use or practice of a sketchbook or journal. However, both have a very different approach and philosophy for making art!

What is Urban Sketching?

Most urban sketchers strive to improve their drawing or painting skills. It's a global community of artists that practice drawing on location in cities, towns, and villages where they live or travel. The book "The Urban Sketcher" by Marco Taro Holmes, published in 2014, details the birth of the Urban Sketching (USk) movement, started in 2007 by journalist Gabriel Campanario on Flickr.

We show the world, one drawing at a time!

--Urban Sketcher Motto

Marc Taro Holmes: Milk, Tea, Honey Approach in Watercolor

Urban Sketcher Approach

  • Draw on location, indoors or out, capturing what we see from direct observation.
  • Drawings tell the story of our surroundings, our places, and where we travel.
  • Drawings are a record of time and place.
  • Be truthful to the scenes we witness.
  • Use any kind of media and cherish our individual styles.
  • Support each other and draw together.
  • Share our drawings online.
  • Show the world one drawing at a time.

I love to draw and paint places and things I love, whether it be the majesty of the Grand Canyon, the humble flora and fauna of my homelands in the Sonoran Desert, or instruments of music.

--Stacy Egan, Art Verve Academy Instructor

Stacy Egan, Urban Sketch

Stacy Egan, Art Verve Academy Instructor

What is Art Journaling?

Whether you have any art training or not, all you need is some supplies and a willingness to play. It's an easy way to add creativity to your life or relax; don't worry about what it looks like.

'Art Journaling' is often associated with a process that requires no prior drawing or artistic ability. It's all about self-expression. Anything goes. Choose whatever media you want. Scribble, doodle, stamp, or stencil. Collage, paste things in, or layer over the page with gesso. Most pages go through several stages and are layered via mixed media techniques. If you draw or paint something, use your memory, imagination, or a reference.

Art Journaling Magazine. 2018 Jul/Sep/Aug p. 82

Art Journaling Techniques

  • Making a collage with torn-out images from a magazine
  • Layering gesso or paint over collage
  • Doodling, scribbling, or stenciling
  • Mono printing, Mono typing, or printing
  • Stamping or stenciling (you can make your own)
  • Creating lists – i.e., wish lists, grocery lists
  • Focusing on a theme, such as gratitude, a recent trip or vacation, visualization, or the things you love
  • Words quote or write out your feelings (and then cover it with paint if you wish!)
  • Sewing fabric, paper, or beads onto journal pages
  • Bookbinding and making your own journals by hand
  • Rip out pages or cut windows into pages

I was drawn to art journaling because I love color and I didn't think I could draw well. Art Journaling gave me a venue to be creative and helped me develop my own artistic process.

--Michele Vaughan

Michele Vaughan's Art Journals

Michele Vaughan, Art Verve Academy Instructor

Art Journaling Magazine

In every issue of Art Journaling, artists open their journals and share creative techniques for capturing their emotions. Each journal is filled with innovative techniques, from stamping and collage art to painting and sketching. Detailed photos and commentary help you discover your journaling style, with hints and tricks for creating a stand-out page.

Art Journaling Magazine. 2018 Jul/Sep/Aug p.14

Art Journaling Magazine. 2018 Jul/Sep/Aug p.28

Art Journaling Magazine. 2018 Jul/Sep/Aug p.8

Links to More Information

Sponsored by the Art Verve Academy. Enroll in studio art classes for adults in Tucson, Arizona, at ArtVerveAcademy.com.

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