I began this art journal project arpund 2012, I believe. I am a fan of Julie Fei-Fan Balzer and her work, and she had this Art Journal Everyday project I joined at the start of my own art journaling journey. I had done two false starts with loose pages until I finally decided on an altered book.
An altered book as an art journal is basically a book that you change up and use as your journal. I happily jumped into converting or altering this business book which was one of several copies at work. I didn’t realize that the choice wasn’t only about the size and the paper (do not pick glossy pages!), but the binding at the spine was a very important consideration as well.
Because I mostly painted my layouts using very wet methods, the spine gave out several times and I eventually reinforced the binding with masking tape for most of the layouts. That’s what a glued hard bound book is wont to do, and I found out halfway through the book that I was supposed to look for older ones which were sewn and then bound. Too late, so I worked around it.
I would paint the background pages ahead, and have had so much fun creating multi page layouts with cut out windows or letters. Creating the backgrounds and journal pages was half the fun — the other was when I actually did the journal entries. I lettered and wrote as I would in a regular journal. The big difference was the theme of “happy” and “happiness” emblazoned on the pages, and quotes I had picked up from the web as sources of inspiration. This first book I entitled “A Happy Life.”
Art journaling has been very therapeutic for me, and while I fell out of the “Art Journal Every Day” pace, I continued my art journaling off and on for the first two years after. On the third year, I became preoccupied with other things and actually managed to lose my journal which I hid too well. After I found it earlier this year, I continued the remaining layouts and am about to wind down to the last pages. Although there are blank pages left for me to journal through, I’ve made up my mind to begin a new journal to mark my 51st birthday this April.
This time around, I’m making the journal itself and I’m hoping it will be an even more meaningful journey moving forward.
Our offices are moving from building to building, and mostly into smaller space. As a result, we have been purging and digitizing files to make our office record keeping more efficient. A previous boss also retired which meant going through a mountain of files pertaining to his tenure. All those used Manila folders gave me an idea. I was going to repurpose them into my next art journal.
The first question was what size would I cut the folders into. I already knew the tabs would have to go, and the spine as well. I didn’t want those embossed lines.. While others may find an appeal in just binding the folders together as is like they do with junque journals, I wanted to make sure I didn’t make the mistake of having my journal pages fall apart on me like the first. I also wanted a smooth surface so that meant the crimp or creases at the fold would have to be cut out. I thought 7″ x 10″ would be good, resulting in a 10″ x 14″ spread.
The second consideration was how was I going to bind it. Do I sew the pages together? (But I didn’t want to have the paint seeping through to other pages..) Ring bind them? This was problematic because I usually did two-page layouts. So I thought I’d try and tape the pages together.
I’ve started with a small batch and am working on seeing how the painting affects the binding. If this turns out as something that can work, I will make a video and post how I bound my card stock thick folder pages together. All I used was a roll of masking tape you can easily buy from the dollar store. It was more about figuring out a way to bind the pages the way I wanted the finished book to be. After tweaking the taping of the pages, I’m thinking this might actually work. I’m really excited.
As I get to the last few layouts of my first art journal, I’m thinking of doing a flip through video to go through the book. Yes, the whole book. The second will be very different in that I now want to use more pictures to decorate my pages. Maybe I will use printed backgrounds as well instead of painting through all of them. I know my journaling style has changed. My first entries will be the previous year’s summary and then I move on to 2017.
I want to use more of the pictures I take and include them in my art journal as well.
Just a few minutes a day– and I have taken to doing several days’ entries in one spread. Sometimes I just put in a word or two — something to remind me of what I did on that day. At times a day will spread on to the next. I don’t have too many rules with my art journaling. It comes when it comes.