Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What are you up to wednesday - part 17

It's wednesday again already. A quick look at what's on my work table today to show you what I'm up to.

What you are looking at are two things really. On the left is a sheet of paper that is going to be my next collage sheet freebie. It's going to be all about words. So I'm drawing/writing words on it that will later be colored in, either with watercolor pencils or with felt tip pens (haven't decided yet). Underneath the photos on the right you will see a copy I made from a page in my notebook on which I have listed tons and tons of words to use in sheets like this.

The photographs are of my cats. The two that died in the past year and that I really miss. The photographs were taken by my friend Monk and I want to use them for some sort of mixed media piece. Well, they each get their own piece actually. I'm using my sketchbook to write down words that I connect with them to generate ideas for how these pieces are going to look. I'm thinking something with fabric on a paper backing of maybe 12x12 inch cardstock. I'm also thinking about transfering the photographs onto fabric, but so far it's not clear yet what I want to do exactly.

I have done the same thing (writing notes and making associations) with my Wuthering Heights artist's book idea and that still remains a little vague too. It's as if I'm in this period where ideas need to simmer a little before I execute them. In the meantime I do journal, sketch and doodle and as said I am making that word sheet to keep my hands busy.

But because all these ideas (I have plenty more) are sort of brewing while little is being produced I feel all over the place and somewhat lost at the same time. This is all part of the process, but let me make perfectly clear it is not my favorite part. I'd rather be working on something than brewing over it. ;-)

Hope you are all having an artsy wednesday and are brewing over some projects of your own!

Monday, July 25, 2011


Well, here it is, my second Remains of the Day Journal, aptly named ROD2 (and yes, I still think it sounds like a robot from Star Wars). I had great fun making this one, just like I did the first one, the only difference being that this time I sort of knew what I was doing, since I had done it all before. ;-)

You've seen some fragments of the journal, but now you get to see it in its completed state. Yay!

Here's the journal seen from the front with the wrap closed. I used two ribbons for the wrap that I sewed together, so one side is blue and the other is pink. I like that double sided effect. I think however that next time I will not sew the ribbon on top of the cover, but will integrate it into the cover, so it doesn't cover it up.

I used three different fabrics for the cover and decorated it with ribbon that had the text 'With Love' on it. There's a little love in all my journals I suppose. ;-)

Standing up and opened you can see how richly ROD2 is filled with pages and pages of goodness.

The journal holds a total of three signatures and has 72 pages. (That is counting both sides.)  My first ROD had only two signatures and about 60 pages. I think I like this better, because the signatures were less thick and there's still more pages in total. A good compromise (if a compromise at all).

The inside cover is decorated as well. The front inside cover has a fabric pocket in it for storing loose items that may or may not go into the journal later.

The back inside cover has no such pocket, but in hindsight I wonder why not? I think I will put a back pocket on my next ROD too. For now this one just has a cute little heart to spice it up. 

As with my first ROD journal the pages are not made from scraps of everyday papers or magazines or whatever, so literally speaking this is NOT a remains of the day journal. This is more of a pretty paper addict journal. Cause that's what I am, totally addicted to beautiful papers (and fabrics and ribbons).
So I used scrapbook papers and all sorts of die cuts and other elements that were store bought. I love these things so much I just have to use them for my journals and it does make for some very nice spreads!
Here are some examples:

Now as you may or may not see I don't pick the papers and elements based on how well they go together. I just go through  my stash and grab a bunch of pages that speak to me. The surprising part of this type or journal is that it always works out. In fact, I think perfectly coordinated pages would be just...well...too perfect. ;-) It really has to be a bit of a mismatch to work.

I'm not posting all the spreads on this blog, but I did take a picture of all of them and created a special set on flickr where you can see the whole book. You can find it here. Hope you take a look.

Also hope you liked looking at this journal that will be my next everyday journal by the time I finish the atlas, which will probably be months from now. In the meantime I will most likely make a third ROD journal, because they are just such fun to make! When ROD2 is filled I will of course show some of it's pages again.

For now I'm wishing you all a very artsy week!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Book review - The art journal workshop - Traci Bunkers

Title: The art journal workshop
Author: Traci Bunkers
Info: 128 p. + dvd. - 2011
Finished: 23 July 2011
Acquired through:
Rating: 7 / 10

This book is exactly what the title says it is (and that's quite unique in my opinion!). It's an art journal workshop with Traci Bunkers in book form. Nothing more, nothing less. This is not a book for people who want to know all the ins and outs of art journaling and mixed media techniques. This is a book for people who want to dive right in and get their hands dirty and find stuff out for themselves!

The book starts with an excellent introduction into art journaling and the materials you can use and yes, some techniques are given too. But very soon we get to the nitty gritty of this book, which consists of loads of assignments and exercises that you would get in an actual art journal workshop. In short: you are urged to get to work. This is a workbook, not a textbook.

The book has a bonus dvd on which Traci shows how she does six of the assignments in the book. This is a wonderful piece of extra information, especially for beginners who may not know how to build a page up.

A small minor point may be that all the work in te book is by Traci and being done by Traci. Her style is beautiful, but very recognizable. She does not have much variety in her style of working. I guess this is true for all workshops: the art or pages produced (especially if done by beginners) will be copies of the style of the teacher. This is no criticism on the book on my part, but I think beginners should be aware that there are many more ways to journal. I say this because I notice how beginners are focused on doing things 'just right', when there is no such thing. Start with this and then broaden your horizon by looking at the work of other journal artist's too and then...go your own way!

All in all, a pretty pleasant book that will inspire you to get going! And for those who are not able to do so in person, it's a wonderful way to take a workshop with Traci, without the travel or the extra costs. ;-)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Drawing Lab July

The beginning of july gave me so little studio time that I didn't want to 'waste' any time on any kind of warm up exercise like the doing Labs from Carla Sonheim's Drawing Lab, but further along the month I sort of started to miss it, so I have picked it up again. And here are some of the results of what I've done so far in july.

The exercises all seem to be about the imagination this time, so no drawings from real life or anything realistic really. I thought this was big fun though! ;-)

Lab 26 was about drawing one eyed monsters. That was all the info you got. You had to draw a one eyed monster. I never thought I could do that, but I guess monsters aren't so tough after all. They just act that way.

Lab 26 - one eyed monsters
I liked the first one so much that I decided to do a second one in full color! Wonder what kind of monster this is? Well it's the one-eyed-one-tailed-one-crowned-four-colored-canary-on-a-swing of course! Duh!

Lab 26 - one eyed monsters
Both monsters were drawn with my favorite markers of the moment. The Pitt Big Brush! Ooh, they are luscious! (Yes, this is shameless advertising, but I'm not affiliated with them, promise). I wish I could afford the whole set!

For Lab 30 you had to make paper dolls. I didn't exactly get around yet to making actual paper dolls. It was really hard for me to just draw a figure that I actually liked enough. Here's the first try:

Lab 30 - paper dolls
It was also hard for me to just fit a figure on the page. I've said this before with the figure drawing lab. I find it difficult to see how things spread on a page and usually end up with the page being too small. (Sure, blame it on the page, it's not like your figures are too big.)

I tried to go for a little more whimsy in the next try. I liked the face on the left figure, but still she seemed too....I don't know...girly. I was going for a little more than that. I was going for a little sexy actually! So I tried the girl on the right and that was already a lot more to my liking.

Lab 30 - paper dolls
 And then it hit me! What I wanted was my version of a sexy Gil Elvgren pin up girl. So I got out the book I have about him and started adapting these sexy ladies with the pouted mouths to my own liking. By the way, if you don't know who I'm talking about, go check out this site.

Lab 30 - paper dolls
 The girl on the left is very roughly done after one of his paintings, but no no no, still not right (and again it does not fit the page). Then the girl on the right happened. It's the same pose and type of lingerie, but more in my own style. I'm still not 100% happy with it (she's still too girly), but I'm slowly moving in the right direction. I have not done any more of these yet, but I think it may be an interesting subject to explore in my sketchbook someday.

Time to move on to another lab! Lab 31 had you do random scribbles and then you had to make something out of them. Oh, this is so much fun! I made a doggie and a bug.

Lab 31 - scribble
I really like the exercises where you sort of have to make something out of nothing. It really gets your imagination going and you get to surprise yourself too. At first I'm always thinking there can not possibly be an image in something like a scribble, but there always is. Cool!

The next lab was sort of a variation on that theme, but instead of scribbles you had to use paint blots! Just random paint blots. And lo and behold, I came up with two quite lovely pages. Well, at least I think so. 

Lab 32 - Paint blots - The dream of the flying elephant
Making these was like drawing dream images. All sort of strange associations started to happen. I get Carla now when she says in the book it's like your very on Rorschach test!

Lab 32 - Paint blots - The kiss
For some reason I had an incredible need to name them both and so I did. I will definitely try this exercise again, because it's one of my favorites so far. I'm not alone in this. My friend Monk has become quite the expert in what she calls 'ugly creatures', which are also done by seeking forms in random painting. Check out her blog, for instance here.

The last lab I've done so far was lab 33. This is all about doodling. I am a great admirer of people who can doodle wonderful pictures and the examples in the book are breathtaking. I found it relaxing to do and enjoyed it a lot, but I'm not too happy with the first result.

Lab 33 - doodling
Because the doodling had to be 'mindless' I listened to one of Ricë's podcasts, the one with Seth Apter. I totally recommend all her podcasts by the way. Check them out here for when you are doodling yourself. It took me a while before I could really get into it though, the doodling I mean. I think I may need to practice it more.

So yesterday I tried a different approach and didn't listen to anything while I made this.

Lab 33 - doodling
I like that one a lot better already. The first one is pattern pattern pattern, but this one actually has some sort of layout and I find that more attractive to look at. Well, there's another thing to practice in my sketchbook: becoming a mindless doodler!

That's all the drawing lab I have to show for now. On another note you might like to know I actually finished ROD2 yesterday and will probably show it to you on monday. For now I wish all of you a wonderful weekend and I sure hope you have some time to be artsy!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What are you up to wednesday - part 16

Can you believe I've been doing these wednesday posts 15 times already? Well, here's part 16 and here's what's on my worktable in the studio right now:

What you are looking at is the small signature/booklet I am working on right now surrounded by many paper clippings. Last week on a whim I sewed two signature journals. They are filled with 16 pages and have a heavy paper cover. They measure about 15x21 cm, which is A5 size. Past weekend I started prepping the pages of one of them with paints and the past two days I have done a lot of collage. The next step will be pen work. I have no idea how it's going to turn out, but I'll let you know when it's done. In the meantime it's fun to work on a little book with no purpose but just enjoying some artsy play (which of course is the best purpose there is).

A more defined project is at work in my sewing room. There I am working on my second Remains of the  Day journal, surprisingly called ROD2. I have all sorts of elements and papers laid out and it turns out that the ironing board functions very well as a side table too!

See those screwdrivers in the back on the windowsill? Those are the ones I attacked my sewing machine with last week. I keep them handy in case the little devil starts acting up again. ;-)

On my sewing table I have my box of paper treasures.


I love those scrapbook papers with die cuts and labels and borders. When I buy them I always take them apart immediately and put the elements in this box. That way they are readily available when I need them. I know myself and if I have to start looking for the right sheet and still cut them up I simply won't use them. I need my stuff ready to go. It's great fun rummaging through this box to pick out elements for my journal pages. I just do this instinctively by the way, I'm not really looking if it all matches. I look more at size and shape than anything else.

The pages of ROD2 are coming along nicely by the way. Here's a close up:

These are the first two signatures all ready to go into the cover. I still need to finish one more and then I can put the book together. Hopefully by next week I will have this journal finished and ready to use. Not that it will get used very soon, since I have to fill up the atlas first and that will still be a while. But it's good to know this baby will be waiting. In fact I may make a third one in the time to come. It's a very satisfying way to make journals.

I hope you are all having an artsy wednesday too and that you are enjoying yourself!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Some journal spreads

I'm quite busy with two projects right now. One is a new ROD journal and the other is a small signature journal that I am filling with collage and penwork. Both however are nowhere near ready and I want to save showing fragments of them for my what are you up to post on wednesday. So...for today I thought I'd show you three spreads from my current everyday journal, the altered atlas.

My journals are like an ongoing lifelong project that will only end if I ever get fed up with it or die (I hope to do neither very soon by the way). I'm reluctant to call them art journals, sometimes they contain art, but mostly they are just illustrated or decorated written journals. Especially spreads like I am showing today.

I am simply using some magazine images and some tape and color and other little embellishments to spice up my writing a little. I love to write, I need to write and I need a lot of it, so I need space on the page. But I also like something that's interesting to look at. So I just add 'stuff'. 

There's no rhyme or reason to the pictures I add or to the texts I have cut out of magazines. I just put stuff together on a whim and what you see has absolutely nothing to do with what I write about. It's all just winging it really. ;-)

But I like my journals, they are like steady companions to me and often a reflection of my daily life. I like to keep the sizes and formats of my journals ever changing, so I never get bored. Variety is the spice of life, but it's also the spice of journaling!

Wishing you an artsy week!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Book review - Real life journals - Gwen Diehn

Title: Real life journals : designing and using handmade books
Author: Gwen Diehn
Info: 180 p. (+ 2 extra booklets). - 2010
Finished: 13 June 2011
Acquired through:
Rating: 8.5 / 10

Wow! Wow! And wow again! This book has me stunned over the amount of information and inspiration it gives. I merely expected a book about how to bind books and that would have been more than enough for me, but Gwen Diehn takes it a lot further to prove again just how thorough a person she is. (Okay, I don't know her personally, but based on her books I would say she is a pretty thorough person).

Not only does she give all sorts of binding techniques. She has deviced a questionnaire that helps you choose the kind of binding that will suit your purpose, she has even added an extra booklet for that. She also added a second booklet that serves as a quick reference for the different binding techniques, so you don't have to drag the entire (quite heavy) book around. She also provides examples of custom made books and shares how the people who used them liked them (this goes pretty deep sometimes). She spends time explaining what are pro's and cons of the binding techniques. She gives ideas, suggestions and examples on how to fill your journal. She even adds a short history of journal keeping. She gives examples of current journalers and why they journal. And then there's a nice gallery of other people's journals at the end.

I found this book to be surprisingly complete, maybe even overcomplete, but I mean that in a good way. If you don't want to know all the ins and outs about making your own journal and extra info on journaling itself, but just want some simple instructions, this book may be a little too much for you to handle, but for the rest of you: get it, now! ;-)

Want to see how Gwen's journals look? Here's her real life journals blog.