This is a fairly new practice for me. I felt so intimidated when I started to journal again after 7 years. It was like, somehow I was afraid that I’d open up my journal and it would wind up like that scene in the Harry Potter movie with the monster book hiding under the bed, going RAAWR! Now might be a good time to confess that I actually feel conflicted and vaguely disappointed because nothing like that has happened so far. Maybe it has for you? If that is the case, please be a pal and tell me what kind of notebook you’re using. I want to buy one.
The point of this post was to show what I do in my own visual journal, and maybe spark some ideas for you if you are not already an experienced visual journaler. Like, if you’re one of my knitting or tea or Facebook pals, and your interest has been piqued.
I like to keep it simple. Also, see, no teeth. Rawr.
I have found that it’s easier to write on a page that isn’t clean. So, I’ll usually start by laying in a simple watercolor wash on an empty page… nothing fancy. I don’t plan it.
I’ll mark off sections and give each of those their own color… these work great for lists and small ideas or notes to myself… like, this page combines a to do list, a quote, some doodles, and…. well I haven’t finished filling it in yet, so I can’t tell you.
Sometimes I just doodle. I’ll doodle zentangles (above), or maybe I’ll doodle a pretty picture in the margins and then quickly color over it. I generally sit down and do this to a bunch of pages ahead of where I’m at in the book. This is not great art. I do this while drinking coffee in the morning, or when I can drag myself away from Facebook to go sit for ten minutes at the art table.
Later I’ll go in and embellish those a little further, throw in quotes, make it pretty. I like to do this when I am watching a DVD with the Captain. He likes it too. When I am distracted, I don’t get squirmy during tense moments and start loudly asking questions like, “Why is that man holding a gun?” and “What is happening??” or yelling insulting advice at the tiny people on the screen.
In relationships, we call this a win/win.
These are the things I use the most.
1. Pitt markers by Faber Castell – water resistant goodness. Love them. LOVE THEM. Buy them by the bushel.
2. A pan of watercolor cakes – I like them for washes because the color just lays on the page so nicely. I have the transparent kind too and those are great for filling stuff in. Because I actually do write in my journal, I prefer watercolor to acrylic for most pages.
3. Inktense or other watercolor pencils.
4. A blank book and a drawing pencil. Maybe a ruler, if you’re making grids.
You do not need a lot of stuff. You do not need to be Picasso or Van Gogh. I mean, yes, Picasso, that would be nice. I would also like a winning lottery ticket, but in life we have to make do with what we’ve got and who we are.
Which brings me to the main point. Make your journal YOURS. I have a ton of books and websites bookmarked and every person’s journal looks totally different. Sometimes I look at these glorious creations and feel like I’m somehow doing mine “wrong” because I’m not doing it like that. There is no wrong way to do this. Don’t devalue your own work. It’s mean and you wouldn’t devalue someone else’s, right?
Seriously, do not make me stop this car and come back there. I will.
This week I am focusing my studio time around working on lettering, plus doing the work for my Misty Mawn and Michael de Meng classes. Because omg, epic SQUEEE! Happy birthday, Christmas and New Year all in two shiny, arty ecourses!
How about you? What areas are you playing with and what are you learning right now?
Need more inspiration? This page is absolutely stellar and just chock full of artful journaly goodness. Days full of stuff to look at here, really. I’ve had this page open on my desktop for three days and I’m not done checking it all out.