Sunday, 10 May 2015

A Colourful Journal Layout Share


*Sigh*......Peace, quiet, relaxation.......HA! No chance this week. I don't know WHAT has been going on outside my flat today but it sounds like a 'Die Hard' movie out there! There've been idiots on motorbikes revving the damn things on and off throughout the day - I have the greatest of respect for bikers, but these aren't bikers...they're morons riding what sounds like amped-up sewing machines on wheels! The police helicopter's been swooping up and down accompanied by police car sirens, apparently  unrelated to idiots on sewing machine bikes, plus some genius decided to demolish a wall with a drill and a sledgehammer (though no Myley Cyrus wrecking balls, thankfully!) It's been VERY noisy! The Colonel is not amused and has forsaken his spot in the garden in favour of curling up and sulking under a blanket ...poor little fluff-bag.

Strangely though it's been quite a good day! With all the hubbub outside there's no relaxation option so I've been cleaning the flat and tidying up - something I've neglected while....a looooong while!  Shelves are dusted, nik-naks and doodads are cleaned and polished and sparkling, I've re-organised SOME of my books and even made small inroads on fixing the armageddon that is the studio. Productive! Maybe next week a sinkhole will open up and a tornado will hit and I'll actually jump-start that vacuum cleaner.... or not!

Today I've decided to share some of the pages of my current journal with you. This one is a wonderful little leather-covered book , 5" x 6,5", from a company called 'Authentic Models'. I've had this for YEARS so I honestly don't know if they make these any more. The paper's GORGEOUS though and takes anything I throw at it.

I've mentioned before that every journal I keep seems to evolve differently and have its own style. It just seems to happen. It would appear that this little journal wants to look like an illustrated storybook, so that's what's happening! I'm going to share some pages so that you can see how I've set it all out. I'm hoping that the layouts might be helpful to prompt some ideas for those of you who want to have some journaling fun. It's very much intuitive rather than planned and the pictures don't always happen at the same time as the writing. (Obviously, because this is my personal journal I've removed most of the written entries 'cos they're all private an' stuff. )  So then, here we go with my intro page (all my journals have their own intro page!) -

A simple way to find illustration space is to leave a little gap at the top or bottom of the page. It's a small space to fill, not scary, and suits any kind of doodling, especially something like zetangling -

You can sort of see that I've turned the book so that on these pages my writing goes in a different direction to just plain old left to right. With other pages I've illustrated across the spine and open spread but kept my writing a little more traditional - it just adds interest both when I'm journaling and when I look back at pages I've finished. This is my St George's Day page, illustrated across the top (I'm on the side of the dragon! This one ATE St George!) -

 ...and this one is an illustration (across the MIDDLE of the page) of the banner my mum made for my last birthday with her -

On other pages I split the open spread into quarters - four blocks. I like to illustrate one or more of the blocks and write in the others - these are from one such page split -

Here are some close-ups - 

They're not uber-detailed, but it's the colour that makes me happy. I doodle in black indian ink with my favourite nib pen, then when I want to wind-down or switch off my brain I'll go back and colour them. I'm using a lot of Cosmic Shimmer watercolour paints so the illustrations are bright and shimmery. These are from another page spread with the same layout -

(The scanner's flashed out the shimmer quite a lot but you kinda get the idea I hope. )

Some pages have panels on the left and right sides of the open spread and space for writing in-between -

This one is a similar idea but I chose a shape that reminded me of stained glass windows -

....not coloured-in yet, but then I think I like them as they are. I dunno..we'll see... The box-borders are wiggly ("organic" in art-speak!) but that's how I prefer them to be. I'm not a big fan of straight lines.  On the 'window' theme, I have a greedy little fox awaiting some blinging-up as well -

(I'm SO not good with text!! NOT my forte!)

The next two pages were inspired by some beautiful photos from Valerie's blog, Bastelmania. She shares the most wonderful images, not only of her own work, but of the wildlife, landscapes and scenery around her. (I did ask her a while ago if it was ok to borrow a couple of her images, don't worry!). I'll re-share her photos and the doodle that resulted from them -

I decided to add some of my favourite poems and verses into this book - something I have always loved to do. On a day when I WANT to journal but have a brain made of peas and cheese I make a page like this to kickstart some THINKIN'! Doesn't always work, but at least I have a pretty page with happy writing!

When you're playing with art in your book there's also nothing wrong with going 'full art journal' and just illustrating a whole page just for the sheer joy of 'arting'. This is the joy of keeping a diary - anything and everything you do is fine!

Equally, there's no need to place everything in a formal panel....just draw what feels right -


Some of mum's favourite flowers
I also have pages with doodles, scribbles and splashes of colour still waiting for me to write on them.

I think what I want to do by showing you these pages is to support the idea that when you keep your own journal anything goes. You don't have to follow a prescribed format or style; you don't have to compare your journal with ANYTHING or ANYONE - it's yours and it's a part of you. It's the same as working with textiles, or beads, or felt, or clay, wire or wood...whatever you create is a part of you: the only difference is that with a journal, no one will see it unless you show them. It's a part of you, created BY you, FOR you. It's special, it's unique and it can look however you like.

I have some more thoughts on journaling (surprise! ahaha) so there'll be more rambing on the way (apologies in advance! Break out the gin and cd of whale-song for recovery!) For now that's it, as the cheesey peas are already taking over my brain. That's what happens after a 'Die Hard'/housework combo day! Back tomorrow, so 'til then, have a big ole bunch of  squooshy hugs from myself and the Colonel (the snoring lump in the blanket). We loves ya! xxxx


  1. wow beautiful, such a variety all bound together in one book. At the moment, I'm just loving your birds :-)

    1. Thank you xxx Yeah - I'm in a bit of a bird phase.... Not that I haven't painted them before...but yeah. Birdies. It looks to continue so watch this space! (well, not this precise know what I mean!) xxxx

  2. Happy Sunday-you had me laughing with the sewing machine bikes-definately sounded like major craziness outside your windows-I am always so thankful of where I live when I read about city life. I am sure the Colonel was not too happy.
    I just love your art-hope you don't get tired of me saying that- but I really enjoy it when you post about your artwork and techniques. Your journals are always so wonderful and amazing. I am getting spoiled with all these wonderful posts-keep them coming hugs

    1. Hello from the Die Hard peninsula! Yep....sewing machines with wheels and kingdom for a sniper rifle!!

      I NEVER get tired of your - or anyone else's - comments!! Silly! Honestly, at least twice a day I tell myself I'm crap and should give it all up. I'm not blessed with self-confidence at all,so when I get good feedback or some advice it really helps me focus and block out the negative voices. You should know you're a little sparkly star, missus. We send you hugs and pollen-free gardens xxxxx

  3. They are just beautiful. The octopus is particularly magnificent, I do love octopuses (octopi, octopani?)
    I love the page with the sonnet as well. Will Power!

    1. I THINK you'll jolly well find that the proper term for them is Foofy Wigglemeisters. I think you'll find. Now you are appropriately informed and may brim with confidence when discussing these wigglesome foofsters.

      'Will Power' - ha! Awesomeness! love it! xxxx

  4. Fabulous journal pages. I don't know which I love the best because I love the ocean and you have so many oceany sketches.

    1. Oh yeah - me so very much too! I love ANYTHING sea-related! Thank you for your loveliness! Hugs from Shroo:)xxx

  5. Wow, wow and wow again, what fabulous journaling. And I am so flattered that you used 2 of my photos as inspiration, thanks, I love what you have made from them!! Sorry about the noise, that's not good! Hugs, Valerie

    1. Thank you so much for your photos! You have so many that I love. Ugh - noise. I can drown out MOST of it round here but the silly bikes make my bones rattle! Grr! *sigh* - I'm sure I'll survive! hee hee xxxxx

  6. These are truly inspiring! I am always in awe of how people can take a photograph and become inspired to make a drawing!! I will say this again - you should be an illustrator! And your lettering is perfection, in my eye!

    Sorry about the din outside your windows - hate that! I am in the direct flight path of Washington-Dulles International Airport. I swear, there are times when I look up in the sky and see the eyes of the passengers starting back at least, they feel like they are that close!!!

  7. I love seeing your work. I was intrigued by the octopus/jellyfish/fishy/mermaid-needing pieces. But then, you knew I would be. I really love the blossoms you drew from your friend's photograph. I'm so sorry about the noise! People can be so thoughtless. I personally love when they drive up next to me with their car windows open (mine are closed) and I can hear their "music," though I use that term lightly, and feel it pounding in my skull. I have a friend I just reunited with and I'm going to share your blog because of the beautiful way you share your process of art journaling. I was trying to explain what an art journal was but you do it magnificently.

  8. Oh the dragon! He looks so pleased with himself too! :D What a gorgeous, gorgeous book. That's what I need to get my head around. That there are NO rules. Being in a busy house I'm kind of woosy that someone might read and take the mickey too. Must get that out of my head.