My Art Journal: First Update

I’ve stolen bits and pieces of my day the last week or two to come up with the first section of my art journal. It’s been slow but I am happy to be working at this pace. The point of art journaling, after all, is to be able to do a bit of art here and there to find some personal relaxation.

Again, let me stress, I am a non artist doing my own brand of art. I’m not good at drawing things, but that hasn’t stopped me from putting things together in my own artistic way. And I think art journaling does not have to conform to what others would find awesome– what’s important is that it’s your own personal kind of awesome. And journaling — in any form– should be a conversation with yourself. At least, that is what it is for me.

Why do I journal? I write my thoughts in words and in symbols or entries through pictures and phrases that are meaningful to me. No matter how painful or angry my words or entries may be in a journal written ages ago, I find lessons and reminders in those words when I go back to them. I relish the moments of happiness and triumph or joy when I relive them in those pages. There is a reward to being able to go back to a moment, be it good or bad, to get back in touch with that part of you.

I recently found one of my “What do I really, really, really want?” notebooks which I did at a very confused and bitter time. Things have settled since then. I got to a better place of “happy”. I am wont to dispose of the journal, though, because it’s purpose has been served. The point was to answer the question in as honest a way as possible. And through time, to go through the answers and hopefully find clarity with what you really want to do.

I’ve long since gotten past that tumultuous time of my life. And yes, I got clarity with what I really wanted,  and in the end, that stumped everything else. I might yet end up using those pages as part of a collage in one of the layouts in my current project.

Like I posted previously, because I didn’t get to do a journal in 2019 despite my best efforts, I want to begin this one with a recap of 2019. Those pages lead to my first cut out and multi page section which has the numbers 2020.

These layouts are on upcycled Manila folders so the paper takes watercolor, ink, and glue very well. I don’t use liquid glue but prefer the regular glue stick because it doesn’t saturate the paper with more liquid. The page bindings are reinforced with double sided tape and elements that help hold the pages together like the 2020 spread.

As you will see, it’s not strictly a 5.5 x 7.5 inch page layout. A lot of my layouts have at least one flap folding out. The page sizes are not standard because I worked with what I had at the moment. I even kept the tabs in some cases.

A question was asked in one of the Facebook groups I’m a part of regarding using manila folders for making junk journals. I had just done a quick reveal of the first signature of my book (or set of pages) and shared it.

You’ll find the youtube clip below for reference, and I’m going to work on doing a tutorial or two on the craft blog on how I pulled these pages together. Sooooo happy with the way it’s coming along.. Yes, I do have a channel and I just don’t have the inclination to work on developing it, but it’s one way I’ve learned a lot from fellow crafters from all over. There are just some tutorials best done on video rather than in pictures, don’t you think?

I’ve done much since I shot this video over the weekend.  I’ve been going through my stash of art materials both bought and created through the years, and I am so thrilled with the treasures I’ve found.

I found DIY Washi tape that looks as gorgeous as when I first created it and still sticks as well as it should.  That was one craft experiment that turned out great!  Various printed elements and of course, my paper flower garden.

I’ve looked at homemade washi tape tutorials, and I’m just surprised that there is none using the method that I used.  I am hoping I can do a video on that one of these days and show fellow crafters how I created what you see below.
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My art journal

Creating a journal has always been more than picking one out and writing in it for me. Since I finished my first journal spanning 2012-2015, deciding on my next format made for a lot of stops and starts. But after so many failed attempts, I think I’ve finally found something I am happy with.

From the beginning, I knew I was going to use upcycled paper. Sheets from file dividers, used Manila folders, and I zeroed in on a size. 5.5 x 7×5. I toyed with the idea of sewing signatures together, but then decided on working on sections I could compile together instead.

I had started in a totally different direction before the last year ended, but I had a new idea which saw me totally focused on a different design direction. I am quite excited with the thicker and bigger layouts I’ve come up with. And I know that I can still add the rose petal collage embellishments to the existing pages.

I’ve gathered some old art work and materials I’ve incorporated into the layouts. I have even fished out an older basic watercolor cake palette (which is what you see in my section avatar in this post) and began creating basic page backgrounds. Just like my first art journal, I am trying to add fold outs and cut outs to make the book visually unique, starting with a 4-page spread of “2020”.

I found some magazine cut outs I had originally intended for a totally different kind of journal project and this time, I used them in some spreads for embellishing later on. I’ve even pulled out my stash of handmade paper I’ve acquired through the years to use as part of the layouts.

It’s coming out pretty nicely and I haven’t even started journaling.

I’d still like to begin the book by retracing the last 12 months as mini entries. 2019 was a positive year mostly because my world stayed in a good place. You know how people say things can only get better? They did and they stayed good. Nothing remarkable or ground breaking– but sometimes, “good” is okay. And that’s 12 months worth journaling.

I’m giddy happy thinking about how this project, which I’ve tried to get going so many times before and had fallen flat and hanging, is finally taking off. I can’t wait to paint and spray and paste and write.

Journaling has always been about capturing my thoughts and feelings in words and pictures for me to go back to in some future time. When I am in the process of writing down my entry or creating the layout, that is me lost in myself, trying to express what’s in me or memorializing the feeling or thought of the moment. It’s a way of speaking in my own inner voice. It’s something I didn’t get to do last year, but 2020 will be different.  Having gotten this far in just the first four weeks of the year, I know I will be able to tick this off my list this time around.