Friday, January 6, 2012

Art Journal?

What is the difference between an "art journal" and a "sketchbook"? Is the difference measured on a continuum or along a sliding scale? If so, then what defines the two poles?

Or is the difference one of intent and purpose? In which case is there is no continuum, but only a yes-or-no answer?

What of this definition? --->  An art diary, art journal or visual journal is a daily journal kept by artists, often containing both words and sketches, and occasionally including mixed media elements such as collages. Such books will frequently contain rough workings, in cartoon form, of ideas later to appear in finished works, as well as acting as a normal diary, by allowing the artist to record their day-to-day activities and emotions.

Is that definition specific enough? Is it too inclusive? 

What's the difference between an "artist's journal" and an "art journal"?

What about this alternative definiton? ---> Art journals are collections of composed pages, designed to be complete "works of art" once finished, both as individual page spreads and as whole journals. (Courtesy of my friend JWG.) 

Does this second definition rule out "rough workings"? Is there a place for "rough workings" in a "compete work of art"?

Bonus: I wish this guy was related to me!


vivien said...

I think they are quite different animals :)

Journals are, as has been suggested - self conscious - layouts are considered at all times and the book is designed to be a complete 'art book' with writing neat and compositionally considered.

Sketchbooks are workhorses. They may be beautiful, pages may be beautifully laid out but it isn't essential. They are a resource for ideas for paintings for years to come.

Mine are sketchbooks and are for me - therefore unselfconscious in the fact that I'm not trying to please anyone else with them.

They contain finished pieces, very rough sketches, ideas written down, quotes, things stuck in, one page may be oil, charcoal, pencil, the next pastel, the next watercolour, coloured pencil ... or a mix of anything and everything that gets ideas down. They are about working around ideas, testing materials, experimenting. Archival consideration don't matter, getting ideas down with the marks and colours I want does. Writing tends to be fast and very scruffy! just jotting down info quickly.

You can see old sketchbooks on - the messiest pages and stuck in stuff hasn't all been scanned but the sketches are there.

Each valid and interesting - but very different. That's what I feel :)

Observe Closely said...

Thanks, Vivien, for your thoughts on this. I am not so sure I agree that there is such a clear-cut difference between the "art journal" and the "sketchbook". I am tending more toward the continuum notion. A book can fulfill the functions of a sketchbook, but yet be thoughtfully and "artfully" designed and executed.

I don't know!!!! That may turn out to be my New Year's Resolution: to approach my sketchbooks with more care and consideration. See what happens.