Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Book review - Art Journal Freedom / Dina Wakley

Title: Art Journal Freedom - How to Journal Creatively with Color & Composition
Author: Dina Wakley
Info: 128 p. - 2013
Rating: 8 / 10

I'm a collector of art journal books. I keep buying them and I keep loving them. I mostly buy  and love them for the pretty pictures and new work of sometimes also new to me artists and because in general the tone of these books always inspires me to get back to making stuff.

I no longer always expect the content to be new to me too. A lot of art journaling books pretty much deal with the same things. That's okay in itself, since a lot of people who buy them are new to the genre, but if you're an experienced art journaler and you are looking for new things it gets harder and harder to find something to fulfill your curiosity. So when somebody finally finds a new angle to tackle in an art journaling book I am very pleased indeed.

Dina Wakley managed to do just that in her Art Journal Freedom. Her angle is 'composition' as in the lay out, colours and make up of the pages you do. How do you get interesting effects? What does colour do to your overall image? Do you have one focal image or more? What can black and white do for you? What about empty spaces? The list goes on and on and she seems pretty thorough in her coverage of the subject.

Thorough, but not too theoretical. She keeps it light and easy to follow and gives tons of examples through her own (fabulous) work. She also gives a lot of assignments and (a true art journaler at heart) examples of how to break the 'rules'.

The point of this book seems not to be to show you how to do your compositions (there is no wrong and right way to art journaling after all), but to give you options, broaden your horizons and leave room for new approaches.

I think this book would especially be good for people who are not pleased with the lay out of their pages but don't know why. Some of us are born with a natural aptitude for seeing the most balanced way to position elements of a page or to combine colours, some of us could use a little guidance with that and this book is perfect for them. I think it could also be helpful for those who are stuck on a page or feel they have already ruined it.

Even if you're an experienced art journaler this book may get you to thinking as to why you do things a certain way and if maybe there are alternatives you could try. A challenge for me for instance is the use of white space. I have a tendency to fill everything up to the brim, but I can see from examples of other people's work how beautiful a white space can sometimes be. I could set a challenge to myself and try to do some pages with more white in them.

If you are not interested in composition or colour use, but you do like Dina's style, well then you should still get this book, because it is full of eye candy and some explanation of her process. This is obviously not one of those artists who is stingy in sharing what she knows and does. I like that!

Conclusion: wonderful book! ;-)