View Full Version : "Art journal" vs "Visual journal", what's the difference?

11-27-2013, 02:51 PM
I was wondering if someone could tell me what the difference is between an "art journal" and a "visual journal", or are they the same thing?

Thank you

11-27-2013, 03:21 PM
Hi Punchy, welcome to the Art Journal Forum.

The definition of each is pretty much interchangeable, as far as I can tell. It's a blank book of some sort with pictures, drawn, painted, collaged, layered, whatever, that expresses something for the person who did it. It may also contain words or not.

11-27-2013, 06:40 PM
Cathy Johnson addressed the name thing in her book Artist's Journal Workshop. She uses the term "Art Journal" to mean the ones where every page is a little work of art, the whole book is a work of art in itself, super collaged, beads, paints, layers, possibly meant for display or collectors. She uses "artist's journal" in the same way as Visual Journal (which is now a product name of Strathmore) which is a personal sketchbook as described nicely by DrDebby. A regularly used, usually chronological collection of sketches, paintings, art you enjoy, comments about the subject matter, paint samples, the mood, date, weather sometimes added. More a record of your sketchbook life than a planned-out "Art Journal." To me, the Art Journal resembles the finely, carefully composed scrapbooks popular now.

The terms are often just used interchangeably, which could be why this forum is Art Journals, rather than Artist's Journals. :lol:

11-28-2013, 11:47 AM
The common part of the two terms, the word "journal", means variously:
-- "a daily record, as of occurrences, experiences, or observations"
-- "record of occurrences, experiences, and reflections kept on a regular basis"
-- a recording of events as they occur in time
The word 'journal' comes from an old French word 'jurnal', which is derived from the Latin word 'diurnalis', which means 'daily'.

So while Cathy Johnson's definition is an interesting one, it misses the whole point of a regular recording of events as they unfold in time. That recording can be in the form of words, images, sketches, sound recordings, video, photographs, collages, any medium that the recorder wishes to use to chronicle events.

Cathy Johnson is probably thinking more of what's known as an 'artist's book', which is a work of art "realized in the form of a book"'. For more on this art object, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artist's_book


Munin Raven
11-30-2013, 10:07 AM
I would consider an "art journal" as more of a general sketchbook - lots of ideas, studies, thumbnails, doodles, sketches and observations etc... and a "visual journal" as more of an overt illustrated diary of day to day occurrences.

11-30-2013, 07:56 PM
One feature I like best about journaling (by whatever name used) is the bound or spiral nature of them, where you can page back thru' and relive a lot of memorable events, like a diary... but with pictures.