The “How” of Journaling

So excited to be working on my art journal!

And although it’s not just straight cutting and pasting for me, I find it a very relaxing exercise to actually piece together my layouts. Now, this is just how I do it. I am a strong believer in everyone having their own style in terms of journaling and every other craft. Even in make up. What works for one might not necessarily work for another – and that doesn’t mean that one method is better or one method is wrong and the other is right. Like they say, different strokes for different folks.

My first attempt at art journaling was a hodge podge of pages. Then I tried a composition notebook. It didn’t quite work out for me because you can’t really paint on that thin a sheet. Secondly, pasting layouts was a little cumbersome and made the notebook itself misshapen.

Then I heard about altered books. I picked one of the discarded books from my boss’s library, a business book that was a recent print. That was my first mistake. The newer publications, apparently, are now glued together and not sewn the old fashioned way. A third of the way through the book, it started to fall apart on me. My remedy was to actually put masking tape between pages – more so where I was either painting the entire layout (Which was most of the book), or where I needed to insert more than one sheet. (I will attempt to pull together a video to show how that book turned out.)

When I decided to “end” that book, I was at a loss for the medium of my next journal. Sketchbook? Plain journal? Discarded notebook? I still need to rebind the book but it was quite a fulfilling project and I wanted to do even better with the next one.

I actually started putting together discarded manila folders I had cut to size, but when I tried to “bind” pages together, It was turning out to be a little heavy. I wanted something that I could bring with me as I worked on it without having to carry a tome. That’s how I came upon the decision to piece together portions of the book as I went along, and then compile them all into a book when the time was right. (That means either when the year is over, or when the book is thick enough – whichever comes first.)

I wanted to be able to spend my lunch hour in some quiet corner just working on an entry. It was important to me that the journal was easy to take along. A junque journal seemed a good idea – but I still had to have a base-size. I had lots of paper choices, and I decided I would use some upcycled file tab dividers which I had cut to 7×11. (Had to trim off the tabs, and the side where the holes were.) I wasn’t planning on using these pages throughout, but I was pegging my book on that size. I could easily pull together writing pads, laid paper, manila folders, or any cardstock. As long as it came out to a 14×11 layout. The paperstock wasn’t too thin and not too heavy. More importantly, I could draw on it with a signpen and there was no bleed to the other side. I also think this paper is thick enough to absorb a good coating of acrylic paint and even watercolor if I choose to use it.

I connected the pages with another page folded in half. I could have kept the “connecting page” smaller, but I wanted the “thickening” to be well distributed.

It may seem like a lot of work, but I am quite happy with the choice and it’s really working out. I’ve event started working on a multi-page cut out spread where I’m using cardstock.

Untitled

It doesn’t really take much effort. 15-20 minutes a day is a good minimum. I don’t confine myself to doing a layout a day – I think that’s too much pressure for an activity that should be relaxing. Sometimes I get stuck on a layout and that’s just fine. And there are other times I find myself working on several layouts at the same time. For now, I’m happy that it’s taking shape. If it goes on in stops and starts, I’m fine with that. As long as I keep it and pick it up again eventually. And this time, I mean to.

Related Post: The “Why” of Journaling

Art Journal Every Day – day to day

Art Journal Every Day

I’ve been meaning to write here a while but as always, life has intervened.  There are just too many things to do, and sometimes chronicling a step-by-step entry — more so on a multi-page layout like this one — can be quite the challenge.  But I try.

Art journal every day multi page layoutI’ve been rather good with the art journaling this last couple of weeks.  Maybe because I’ve needed the “release”, so to speak, with so many things happening in my life of late.  It’s given me an anchor of sorts, allowing me to keep my feelings and thoughts grounded, and also giving me a quicker and more graphic way to jot down happenings of note — or even passing feelings that come upon me in the course of the day.  As I write this, though, I haven’t touched the journal for almost a week, and there is some catching up to do.

If you’ve seen my Art Journal Every Day posts on my Flickr account, you’ll find that I have moved from two previous attempts at art journaling to my altered book which is where these pages are.

Art journal every day multi page layoutI had finished these pages waaaay ahead and am finally art journaling this multi-page spread.  I think I’m maybe a few weeks ahead, and I am already excited to finish this book and start the next altered book.  It’s a work in progress.  My first entries in this book were from 2013, and being that I journal in stops and starts, it has all of 2014 in its pages (which isn’t really all that much), but 2015 will have to “jump” to another book at some point in time.

Just to share the process I followed, I counted the approximate number of pages I would need, added 6 (for three spreads) and found the middle page of that whole set.

Art journal every day multi page layoutI started from the middle and began coloring the center most layout first and doodled the first spread and cut.  It’s important that you cut so that you can work around the layers as you go.  You’ll see that I cut around the designs, but I did not finish each layer beyond the “outline” of the flower on that particular page.  Most of the tinier details actually came much later, and some will be added as I go along, journaling on the back or hidden pages.  I’m not even half way through this entire layout yet, but I’m so excited with how it will come out later.

I’m just putting in random entries without worrying about anything beyond not writing beyond the “lines” so that I can keep it “within” the particular design of the page I’m writing on.

Art journal every day multi page layoutThere are times when I simply go through the pages of the altered book with all the journaling and I really find it fulfilling to see the previous pages almost full or rather full with entries.

I’m actually thinking of doing a video of the various pages — eventually — although there is quite a lot to see as it is. I can’t believe I’m almost halfway done. The book is bursting at the seams so I am seriously considering having it rebound, or maybe even attempting to do it by myself. (Ambitious, I know.)

I’m a little wary of photographing the finished pages because the entries can be very personal at time.

Art journal every day multi page layoutAgain, it’s supposed to be a personal exercise and I am just coasting by and pretty happy about it.  This is the kind of personal art that I can easily pull out when the mood hits me just like now.  It’s also nice to see how far I’ve gone, go back to what I had written through time, and even just in seeing a drawing or a single line, a whole slew of memories and thoughts come rushing back in.

Just a bit of art journaling every day.