Tag Archives: art journaling

Learning from Danny Gregory

In July and August of this year, I took an online course called Sketchbook Skool: Beginnings. I’ve always been enamored of the idea of keeping an art journal, and this course struck me as the perfect introduction. I was right.

Danny Gregory taught the first week. His was the name I primarily recognized, famous for Everyday Matters. He explained how he started art journaling, and probably had the most influence on me of any of the teachers. His technique of drawing the entire outline of an object (or objects) before filling in any of the interior details was not something I’d tried before. I also particularly liked his purpose in drawing: not so much to capture the image, but to connect with the subject of his drawing. His example was of drawing his son’s shoes, and how while he was drawing them he was thinking about his son.

For my first assignment, I drew a stained glass bird that my grandfather made. I’ve blurred out my writing, since this is still a journal, but I did find myself remembering Grandpa as I drew. I don’t always feel that connected to my subject, but drawing does teach me to see things in ways I never did before.

This was my first foray into drawing in ink. I’d always been a pencil kind of gal, but Danny’s reasoning – that it helps build confidence because you can’t go back and erase every little flaw – was sound, and I found it really helped me get more comfortable with finishing my drawings. It’s also easier on the paper to not keep erasing all the time.

Danny also introduced me to the idea of laying down a wash of color on the page before drawing anything. Sure, they’re kind of garish and it tints the rest of the objects on the page, but I find I really love these spreads.

It’s no wonder that Danny’s inspired so many people to start keeping a sketchbook of their lives.

Recovery Time

As you may know, I try to schedule my blog posts in advance. Today it’s particularly important, since at the moment you are reading this I am probably still unconscious. You see, this morning I had surgery to repair the torn tendons and ligaments in my ankle. It’s been a long time coming, but I believe it’s the right decision. I still couldn’t walk very well – much less jog or hike – after three months. I simply wasn’t getting any better. So here’s to making actual progress.

I did a little art journaling (gluebooking?) over the weekend in anticipation of my upcoming convalescence. I know it’ll be a journey.

I’ve been preparing loads of ways to pass the time stuck in the recliner.

But I know there will be plenty of boredom and impatience.

And drugs. Mustn’t forget drugs.

In short, I don’t know how much I’ll be blogging over the next few weeks. But I’ll be thinking fondly of you all. (As much as I’ll be thinking of much of anything, that is.)

Nostalgic Musings – another update

I thought I’d do one big post when I finished the course, but I’ve decided against it for two reasons: first, I’m making such slow progress that it might be June before I ever mention it again, and second, I’m taking a lot more photos/scans than I’d expected. So I’ve decided to talk about the prompts and exercises I’ve completed over the last few weeks.

No, I don't know what day Thursda is. Shut up.

Exercise 2 involved writing about someone special to you. The example was about a dog, so I made mine about my cat, Echo. It’s easier to write mushy things about animals than people, I find. ¬†The “kitty” flap opens twice:

I used a lot of old book pages for this one. I am not the sort of person to wantonly destroy books, but when two old paperbacks started shedding pages by the dozen, I figured it was time for them to be recycled. One was an Isaac Asimov novel (I don’t recall which one just now – maybe The Martian Way) and the other is 1001 Arabian Nights, so they make for interesting backgrounds. The other ephemera I used includes art from an old star chart calendar, printables provided with the e-course and from Creativity Prompt, and a print of some of my own artwork.

The task for this one was to write ten honest and interesting things about yourself. This is not easy for me: I’m not very interesting when I’m honest. First off, yes, that photo is of me. It’s from a photobooth at Centraal Station in Amsterdam. I think I look frightened, but I wasn’t sure what else to do with four identical pictures of my face, so I used one to help fill this spread. Most of the other bits are either more of my own art or assorted clippings from my stash. The facts are not in order, nor are they supposed to be. The sheep at the top of the right side are from an advertisement that regularly appears in one of the optics magazines I receive, and I felt it was fitting, this being a kind of internet survey and all.

This prompt was largely about our childhood loves and how (or if) they’ve transformed as we’ve become adults. The photo is me again, probably around five years old. It’s one of my favorites because I look like a Muppet. (Specifically Prairie Dawn.) The background was from a magazine; between it and my gingham I look like I was raised in rural Kansas. Both the butterfly and the Hollywood Bear fold out:

I was pleased when I found the Hollywood Bear notecard in my stationery box, both because it was small enough to fit below my photo, and because I was such a sticker fanatic as a child and Lisa Frank was a particular favorite.

That’s all for now. I find art journaling to be very therapeutic, but too time-consuming to replace my regular written diary as my primary chronology. I’d hoped to finish this course before the first of the year, but it looks like that’s not going to happen. And that’s fine. There’s no rush.

Nostalgic Musings: Exercise 1

I finished my first exercise for Nostalgic Musings. I don’t intend to post every time I finish one of the assignments, but since this was my very first real attempt at art journaling, I decided I wanted to share my thoughts.

The spread itself was quite straightforward: most of the clipart was provided, and we also received suggestions for what to write. Since art journaling is so dependent on personal style and preference, I was not surprised that this exercise was specifically to learn how Hope Karney Wallace makes her own (totally gorgeous) journals. The later assignments are more open-ended and less step-by-step, easing the student into his or her own way of doing things.

I had to improvise a bit, as the journal I’m using is much smaller than Ms. Wallace’s. The pages themselves came out fairly well:

The woman in the middle is her own page on cardstock, affixed with masking tape. (I’d never thought of masking tape as anything but temporary, but I’ll trust Ms. Wallace on this one.) The text of the journal page is comprised entirely of techniques I’ve never used in my own regular diary: lists of goals/loves/etc. and inspirational quotes. As much as I enjoy making lists, it had never occurred to me to use them to describe my day.

I’m looking forward to seeing what I make throughout the rest of the course. I don’t see myself giving up my regular text diary and switching entirely over to art journaling, but I do believe it will make for a lovely supplement to my regular day-to-day chronology.

Nostalgic Musings: an art journaling e-course

I’ve started my very first art journaling e-course, Nostalgic Musings, hosted by Hope Karney Wallace of Paper Relics. I’ve been admiring her work for weeks and almost signed up for her most recent course, a collaboration with Kari Ramstrom called Winter Stories, which was ten dollars more but also live. (Nostalgic Musings ran last spring but all the materials are available, the private Flickr group is still active, and of course Hope is still around to answer questions.) My husband suggested since this was my first time through to go for the self-paced, less expensive course, which is also a more general art journaling class. Either way, I’m excited. I’ve been wanting to jump into art journaling for a while now – more than just writing in my diary or ¬†gluebooking or doodling in a notebook, but actual art journaling – and I think this will be an excellent way to get my feet wet.

Care to join me?

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