An art journal is simply a private and safe place to be creative. Often a book (but not always), it can be of any size or dimension. It doesn't have to be a place to create "art" (though it may), and you definitely don't need to be an artist to work in an art journal (although you most certainly can be). All you need is that little feeling...it might be a deep and unexplained yearning or just a little nudge from somewhere inside.
You want more creativity in your life, you want to express yourself, you want to play with the visual and tactile.
Visual language is the art journaler's primary form of expression: Image, color, shape, line, text brought to form in any medium—paint, ink, collage, words—often mixing several media on a page.
The dictionary doesn't seem to recognize "journal" as verb. According to Merriam, we don't journal (about something); we write in or read a journal. So okay, I can live with that. I write in my writing journal all the time.
But art journal? In my mind, the more important part is the action not the thing, the verb before it's a noun.
Merriam doesn't include "art journal" at all—noun or verb—so we are left to our own devices.
art journal (art jur n l) v.t. To art journal is to visually and creatively express anything—ideas, feelings, perceptions, the moment with any desired media.
art journal (art jur n l) n. a) A safe and private place to be creative. b) A beautiful record of those creative experiences.
This is what else I can tell you about an art journal: there are no rules and it's only for you. Nobody else. This is amazingly freeing once you get comfortable with freedom and realize that yes, you can actually create (we all can!) You get to use whatever medium you like. You get to express anything you'd like. You get to learn whatever you want to learn and make your art journal whatever you want to make it. Some people call it visual journaling, others sketching or noodling—call it what you will because there are no rules. Not for what an art journal should look like or how to art journal or when, where or why. Our art journals are for ourselves alone.
I invite you to begin.