Art Journaling Without Rules

{reposting this essay from March 2011}

Psyched to bring this post forward for The Buried Treasure project at The Altered Page! Seth Apter is coordinating a massive treasure hunt and I'm taking part.

this is a page from a book i altered a few years ago

We're governed by rules and we impose rules {trivial and not so} on ourselves -- things like no coffee after 2pm or always vacuum on Mondays -- so it's not surprising that we make rules for our art.

A two page spread has to be one journaled as one big page.
Don't tear out pages.
Every page has to have some words or journaling.
The colors I choose have to "go" together.
A page has to be finished in one sitting.
You can't art journal on canvas.
Pages must be worked in order.
My pages have to look like those of {insert cool art journalist's name here}
Don't brag. Don't bitch. Don't be a downer. Don't get too personal.
Don't cut up your journal pages.
You can't work in seven journals at once.

All of the above are certified 100% without a doubt, officially, undeniably wrong. Art journaling has no rules. It is whatever you want it to be. It's not "having" finished pages but "having created" the pages that makes me happy. To put a rule on yourself misses the point. You CAN have a journal dedicated to something specific. You CAN have a journal of one style. You CAN finish a page in one sitting. But you don't have to.

I don't like to follow rules in general, and certainly not in my art.

The joy is in the play.

Please... tell me about your rules. I am curious to learn what constraints we put on our journals. What rules, spoken or un-, do you place on your art journaling or drawing? Do any of the rules speak to you? Do you have rules that you didn't realize you had? Let's chat.