Okay, so I’m totally ranting at this point. My wife and I are having a debate about the difference between an art journal and a smash book. Which is better? I’ll lay out my opinions and you tell me if I’m off my nut or if I’ve got it spot on.
Art journaling is a way for artists to try new techniques, practice using different supplies, and journal all in one spot. My art journal is my spot to play around and let my mind and fingers go free. I’m unencumbered from having to make something look pretty and photo-ready. It can be ugly. That’s okay, but it’s mine. It’s my art. Art is beauty and art is ugly. You can’t have one without the other. I can create a spread in my art journal using my mood or feelings as a guide. I can add journaling to remember exactly how I felt. My art journal is my soul spilled out on paper.
Smash Booking is K & Company’s way of catering the 14-year-old girl in us. It’s sticking a bunch of junk (or “ephemera” if I use a euphemism) onto pre-printed papers, stapling napkins and playbills, and movie tickets and other such ephemera into one place. Smash Books have been kept by teenagers since the dawn of time (reference to this research material available upon request) in the form of journals wherein the teenager would staple movie tickets, tape playbills, and other ephemera into their journal. Can you tell I’m not a huge fan? Okay, my personal feelings aside, I see a use for Smash Books. They’re a great place to “smash” all of that daily junk that would never make it into your art journal or scrapbook pages.
So, which is better? There is no definitive answer on this. It all depends on what you want. If you want a place to experiment on new techniques, practice sketching, stamping, painting, spraying, stenciling, lettering, etc. then you want to keep an art journal. If you want a place to staple and tape all of the ephemera from your daily life, then keep a Smash Book. My wife wants to keep a Smash Book and I’m actually kind of glad. She would enjoy making it and I would enjoy having a way to look back at the stuff we did without having to dig through piles of papers. As for me, I’ll stick to art journaling. The smell of gesso is permanently embedded in my nose and I would like to keep it that way, thank you.
So, which do you prefer? Do you keep both? I’d love to hear what other people think on this topic. Chime in!