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

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Ideas on Paper: Bag Love

My Bag Love BookI have always benefited from writing down whatever ideas I have brewing in my head, be it in the form of a blog post or a random sketch.  I had recently come across some of my earlier jewelry designs when I was cleaning up my hard drive and I can’t help but marvel at the way my own style has evolved.  From the once very simple earrings to the more complex ones I do now, I can’t help but wish I had made copies of the photos and designs to chronicle my growth.

So this time around, I’m embarking on a new project to create something I love — bags or clutches, in particular — I wanted to be able to pull together my ideas in a journal of sorts.  After some false starts, I think I’ve finally come up with something that I will be able to go back to and write my thoughts in as I work on this newfound passion.

My Bag Love BookI have always been a believer that we always learn something new everyday.  And while there are a lot of brilliant bag designers out there, I am not hoping to compete nor make a dent in that market.  I just really want to create my own bags and maybe sell one or two.  These are to be one-off designs, not so much in the bag itself, but rather ON the bag.  Without giving too much away, I want to create an embellishment style that will be all my own — unique for each bag created.  It sounds quite ambitious if you read that aloud.  But I think it’s a pretty reasonable goal at the scale I hope to accomplish it.

So I’ve pulled together cut outs of bags in all shapes and sizes and put them together in the pages of a regular project notebook.  They are there to inspire and cultivate ideas.  These are the bags we covet… that I wouldn’t mind having for myself — but which, I guess, I can only dream of.

It’s the crafter in me, I guess.  I’m trying to put in ideas at least every other day.  I want to be able to write them down and work on them or develop them into something better.  And hopefully when I start creating, I can put my thoughts and notes here and learn from them and improve on them eventually.

That’s true bag love!

 

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.

 

Things I have been up to

The previous week(s) have been rather busy but I’ve been trying to get things done on the creative front.  The will is there, but there are days when I am too exhausted or just need to skip the creative time altogether.  I know I must find the time, even just a few minutes each day, but not everything I want to do can be done with the snap of a finger.

But the point is, I’m trying.  It has given me a sense of accomplishment somehow.  It’s a concrete sign of being able to move forward, no matter how slow it may be.

The good news is that I  have been successful in keeping my art journal up to date, and as I’m writing this and trying to make some chicken salad of some leftover KFC, I am also working on some backgrounds that need “gesso”-ing. But more importantly, I’ve managed to scribble something rather regularly even if not literally every day.

My gesso is a little old so I’m thinning it with water. The idea is to cover the back of the layouts below because the black ink of the text and the color shadings had seeped into the back of the next page. I was initially thinking of covering it with chalkboard black paint, but I nixed that for gesso first. I still might do the background in all black — but I’m having second thoughts right now.

My first attempts at using gesso were rather a disappointment, and I realize now that it’s probably because I used too much of the gesso.  I like it when it’s applied a little thinner btu still enough to be opaque.

I’ve also been trying to create accessories again, this time trying my hand at wire-wrapping. I’ve found a lot of inspiration online and am trying to learn from the various tutorials available on YouTube, while trying to create my own way of getting things done. My first attempt after several yards of wasted wire is below. It’s a work in progress literally but I like the way this came about. I need to watch more videos.

The shop is beginning to get populated again little by little.  Slow traffic but I know I have to keep posting to bring the people in.  Even this little corner of mine isn’t exactly bustling with reader traffic but I’m telling myself it’ll come if I finally come around to devoting enough time to it.  Then I quickly remind myself that I have to accept that there is only so much that I can do.  A day at a time…

Art Journal Every Day: A Day at a time

It has been a while since I have been active in working on my art journal and my altered book.  I like seeing the progress.  It helps me to think that I’m moving forward again and no longer “stuck”.
Art Journal Every Day - trying to get on with the art journaling using my altered book

I can’t believe a whole year had passed with no activity.  I thought I’d never go back to it.  I had tried to start with the Art Journal Every Day (inspired by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer) during the first part of 2013, but it didn’t go beyond the first two or three pages.  (I can’t even find the sketch book I had begun.)  This time around, I’m committing to finishing this project to the last page and hopefully starting a new one before the year ends.

Journaling is my release.  It helps me connect to my thoughts in a way that allows me to go back and reflect after time has passed.  It helps me to memorialize the feelings and thoughts of my day.

I had started this page out as a multi-page layout to spell “HOPE”.  It is one of multi-page layouts in the book and I’ve been doing one day per spread.  The spread, which, like the “H” one comes out as a measly 4×4 approximately.  Another day or two more and I’ll post a more detailed multi-page entry here.  For now, here’s a sneak peek.