Wednesday, June 06, 2012

The Art of Journaling

Lynne Perrella's Artists' Journals & Sketchbooks was an online impulse buy I made mainly because it's published by Quarry Books. I'm building a nice little collection of Quarry's art titles, and not one of them have yet to disappoint me.

The book arrived today, and after looking through it I was quite impressed. Being a writer and an artist often means I have to choose between the two; Ms. Perrella's book speaks to both sides of my creativity by adressing not only design but content.

The book contains works by over forty different artists as visual and inspirational examples, covering a wide variety of styles, materials and approaches. Every time I turned a page I was surprised by how beautifully visual the ideas were, without having that over-done, overly-complicated look to them. Most of the examples included found objects and recycled items such as cigar boxes, antique photo slides and aspirin tins. One artist even made a journal skirt that could be worn as clothing.

Some years back, when I first began making my own journals, I was very intimidated by the concept. I did take a class in book-making and binding, but I still struggled with certain aspects of it, especially art and design. I wish I'd had this book to start out with, because it doesn't have all those endless rules and weird material lists and complicated techniques. There really aren't any rules in this book. And while there are plenty of ideas for the advanced journal and sketchbook artists, I think Lynne Perrella has something here for anyone who wants to try art journaling. If you've ever been afraid it's too difficult, or you don't believe you have the artistic talent to pull it off, I think you're going to find something in this book that speaks to you and convinces you to give a real try.

As always, you don't have to take my word for it. In comments to this post, name any object you think could be made into an interesting journal or sketchbook by midnight EST on Thurday, June 7, 2012. I'll choose one name at random from everyone who participates, and send the winner an unsigned copy of Artists' Journals & Sketchbooks by Lynne Perrella along with a surprise. This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet, even if you've won something here at PBW in the past.

22 comments:

  1. My husband makes these great wooden boxes that we sell on Etsy. I've been thinking that it would be great to turn one of them into a kind of "journal box." -- maybe decoupage meaningful items on the outside, and use the inside for all those keepsakes that never quite find a home: the shell my daughter found at the nature center and gave to me because she knew I'd like the color, the bead and pipe cleaner bracelet my little one made for me-- things like that. I have a hard time keeping a written journal, but something like that, I could do.

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  2. I'm thinking a quilt would make a good journal. If you started with some fabric appliqued in the shape of the event. If you made the garment, you could use some leftover fabric. Add in an actual picture printed to some printable fabric, you could build the quilt over time.

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  3. When I was in elementary school, my 1st and 2nd grade teacher would make journals out of cereal boxes covered in old wallpaper scraps. We would write in them everyday. It was a GREAT and cheap way to start kids writings... I "blame" her for my love of words as an adult.

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  4. My personal favorite has always been to use a big book like an encyclopedia and paste artwork, poems, pictures on its pages. In the past I just picked up a blank book from a bookstore and decorated the outside, but for the penny pincher (most people these days) using a pre-bound book eliminates the need for cutting and sewing pages together to make your own journal.

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  5. Over the years I have saved many special items. They were unique and meaningful. One is a collection of small children's books that had material pages with beautiful drawings on each page filled with colorful pictures within the story. These would be used as a lovely sketchbook/journal.

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  6. I used to make baskets using yarn and pipe cleaner. I think it would be interesting to make a journal out of the same material.

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  7. Long ago during a summer I was enrolled in a class which I enjoyed greatly. creating was innovative for me. We had a project which I enjoyed. Small pieces of colored glass which we designed into shapes in a scrapbook. this was a delightful time for me. Some depicted names, others pictures of people and objects.

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  8. I love the fruit journals in the latest edition of "Pages". Basically, you cut a fake piece of fruit in half, then make an accordion-fold booklet inside in that shape. I'm not explaining it very well, but it looks like it would be fun to make and the size is small, so there would be less intimidating blank paper to deal with.

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  9. I've been making my own journals for a while and I love to see what other people are doing. I want this book!

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  10. I'm still at that intimidated stage you talked about. My college bound kid has now started journaling and learning to draw so I'm hopefully going to move to the next step. I figure handmade jounals and sketchbooks might be appreciated. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  11. Your post is very inspiring. I am a writer but I used to pain with chalk pastel in the past. I'd like to go back to it. A journal can give way to both art and writing.

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  12. I love that you are open about being intimidated sometimes! I always feel so overwhelmed when I attempt projects like this; between the extensive and sometimes even wierd material lists, not to mention the intricate instructions that don't lend themselves to simplification (read: cutting corners!) I usually give up before I even really begin.

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  13. Atropa4:08 PM

    I once thought of making a journal/photo album for a friend of mine out of CDs. I never did figure out how to hold them together though, other than a ring through the middle - but then where would I put the pictures? Still an idea that bugs me occasionally though.

    I also asked my husband to make me a couple nice pieces of wood that I could burn a design onto, and make a book cover out of. :)

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  14. I've been reading your old posts on art journalling for a while because i've always wanted to try it, but never had any idea how to. I'm also pretty intimidated by how perfect the examples i've seen look.

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  15. Shizuka4:57 PM

    A bedroom wall would make a great space for a journal. Something organic that changes your surroundings as you experience things.

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  16. I'm planning to journal using sticky notes and photography ... it will help incorporate those bits and pieces of life into something I can print on a page, then draw over.

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  17. I wonder if this book would inspire me to do anything with all the lovely journals I buy and admire, and let sit on the shelf, thinking I could never do them justice?
    Teresa

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  18. Very interesting! I would love to make some sort of 3D journal/keepsake box type thing. I have all these random bits of stuff that I like but have no clue what to do with them. Hmmm. :-)

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  19. The local dollar store has (good-sized) packages of rectangle sheets of foam; one of the youth groups my daughter is in has made magnets and invitations and occasionally some pretty oddball things out of it. Ballpoint pen seems to write on it fairly well, and noticing that had me thinking one day that it might make an interesting notebook. (I was actually considering making a calendar/planner out of it - it might hold up better than a paper one, and I could string it together sort of according style, so it could lay out in one long "sheet"... but hadn't decided to try it.)

    Also, I have these little strips of paper with words. There's a story behind them, though. Some good friends of ours are Baha'i, and we went to their Naw Ruz party - basically the Baha'i new year. One of their traditions, at least here locally, is to take eggs that have been blown out, and fill them with words and phrases, wishs and blessings for the coming year, plus glitter and etc for a confetti-like filling. The blessings (at least the ones I'm familiar with) often range from serious - patience, prosperity, health, etc, to the silly or random - popsicles, spring chicks, balloon animals, green. Everyone gathers in a circle, and the eggs are passed around, each person choosing one. Each person, one by one, cracks the egg open onto the head of the person next to them, while saying a blessing for them for the coming year, and releasing the blessing confetti from the egg.

    This year, I gathered those words that were "mine", with the thought of writing it down whenever something that seemed relevant to one of those words made itself known in my life. The blessing cracked on my head? She didn't even know me, we'd just met, though part of that introduction included pointing out my four kids... and sweet though they are, she wished for me that thing all parents need in truckload: patience.

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  20. Anonymous7:34 PM

    This sounds wonderful! I've been wanting to try artist journaling, but I fall into the category of people who are a bit intimidated about the idea. I'd love to put in some snippets of recycled cards and other found objects. Thanks for doing this!

    --Julia

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  21. When I was very young, my mom took me to a park in the early autumn. We collected leaves--they were so huge to me back then! The rich colors were so amazing. We didn't have a lot of money, but she always found a way to make art. We carefully ironed the leaves between wax paper to preserve them--didn't work forever, but it was beautiful to us. It's one of my favorite memories. I'd love to have a journal made of leaves, although how you'd write on them I have no idea.

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