Aaaahhh.....makes me wanna journal the day away.....but, hey there, buddy, wait a pig-wrestlin' minute....just WHAT kind of journaling are you talkin' about? ART journaling? SMASH BOOK journaling? TEXT journaling? SCRAPBOOKING type journaling? SKETCHBOOK idea journaling? Or some weird kind of interpretive dance in a crop circle, wearing only tin-foil pants? (Well - each to their own!). I mention this as there seems to be a kind of epic debate going on between artists, writers and crafters about HOW to journal and store your memories and ideas and old cinema tickets. I think most people are open to trying something new, but seem to imagine that it has to be an 'either/or' situation, which is just not true! As far as I'm concerned, the more books, the better! So I thought I'd take you through some of my journal collection a bit and hopefully show you some of the benefits that variety brings.
It's fair to say that I hoard books - and journals are no exception. I've picked a cross-section of ones in current use. I don't follow a chronological or linear path, nor do I finish one book before starting another (a side-effect of making my own books I think.) Anyway - here's a group pic:
So in THIS post I'll talk you through some ART journals. OK? First up, this is a re-purposed hardback text-book (well out of date, fact-wise). It's as scruffy as it looks...I'm in the habit of never decorating the covers and spines until I'm done. And that can take a while! This way I don't stress about making a mark or splodge. Art journaling's not about stressing.
I mod-podged pages, four or five in a block so they'd be like working on art-board. Nice. THIS book is where I try and overcome negative emotional issues in a positive way, creating a motivational, inspiring page as a result. Often the image reflects a kind of journey, or an idea of 'moving forward':
This has an acrylic paint layered colour background with cut-paper-shape-collage hills and trees to create a patchwork look. The hills are outlined with wool and this is all made by using off-cuts from my 'bits box', which is generally in overflow mode. I added faux stitching with a white gel pen to add to the patchwork effect. This is a simple-looking page and I like it - colours and shapes all look open and make me feel happy and free.
This page came about when I'd had a looooong spell of arty block. I'd already painted the green wash background and I just picked up the first three pens I saw (black Sharpie, white Sakura gel pen and a Pentel Metallic Brush pen - yummy!) and took things back to basics, choosing to play with shape and patterns and doodling, using my garden as inspiration. I opted for panels as they're fun - less intimidating! Luckily, the selection of pens worked awesomely for me and my mood - especially that gold! Page finished: arty mojo reclaimed! Sorted.
"Only as far as I reach can I grow,
Only as far as I seek can I go,
Only as deep as I look can I see,
Only as much as I dream can I be."
The tree trunks are heavily textured and glazed, which I love, and the dots were done with Sakura's gorgeous Souffle gel pens, which I'd highly recommend.
Just playing around with colour and texture is incredibly cathartic and I would recommend it completely. Don't get hung up on a final image, just faff about and see where it takes you. This was a fun page which had acrylic paints, micro beads, textured moulding paste, Tattered Angels Glazes, ink pads and gilding wax thrown at it, pretty much randomly. It was really, REALLY good fun.
Here's another art journal, pretty much completely for testing how stuff works with other stuff. (Stop me if I'm being technical....ahah....um..)
I surprised myself by liking this one....eventually! The goal? To test my [then new] Sennelier oil pastels (blending. scratching in shapes etc) and then playing with black india ink and the effects of gold gilding wax compared with metallic paints over the top. Mainly.
This is a great paper weight to take layers and collage. This pic is another instance of selecting some random odds and ends from the 'bits box' and challenging myself to create an image which reflected the view out of my window....(why not?)
Stuff used? The standard acrylic paints that I love so much, scrapbook paper off-cuts, ephemera/cut-out images, inktense pencils and gilding wax. Oh - and some paint-dyed kitchen roll....never throw anything away!!
The main thing I feel when I use one of my art journals is a sense of freedom. There are no constraints and no expectations other than the ones I place on myself. Usually, no one sees the pages, so if they go wrong, it's no biggie... I've not wasted valuable products, wrecked a canvas or knackered a masterpiece....no, rather I've worked through blocks and problems, discovered new techniques and increased my confidence with new media. No rules, no judgement, just fun and a feeling of having achieved something.
I've a couple more journals that I want to show you, but as this is a long post aleady I'll leave it here and show you some more pages once we've all taken a breath and had a cuppa and a lie down in a dark room! I hope this has been helpful, or at least informative. Remember- if you want to ask questions about art or my art processes or the STUFF I use to make it (SO technical...) please comment or email me and I'll respond asap. That's it for now - see you in Part 2!! Hugs - Shroo :)x