Tuesday, October 30, 2007

on the road and missing your journal?

I always carry a little notebook along - write in it where ever you are and then you can collage these pages into your "real" journal later.
Traveling this is a great way to get pages filled with your local sites, then add ephemera from your day - stubs, photos you take, menus, etc.
It all makes for great collage!

Friday, October 26, 2007

words words and more words

If you are doing on art journal, you might not think words are going to be a big part of your work.
But guess what - the words might not even be your own! I love to incorporate newspaper bits, quotes, and other people's words in my collaging.
ALSO - if you do keep an on-line journal, it is great to print out those pages, and put them in, then do some art around that.
It makes a record of your on-line work.
and how about e-mails and chats? I bet there are some of those you would like to save in your blank book, and illustrate with your art.
and don't forget those letter stamps - nice to get some captions and big lettering in there, too.
Collaging around words that are meaningful to you makes for great pages.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


I love to choose pictures that create a mood, then write.
I don't decide what to write first, and look for a photo that supports that - that makes my writing too contrived.
I suggest just grabbing what catches your eye - and playing with the layout first.
and since you don't want it to be scrapbooky - it's a good idea to tear or be rather messy about it - this also loosens up that right creative side of your brain that you want to be accessing in your journaling.
Mostly - be messy and have fun:

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

more on words:

so just let the words do what they do.
let them wander and meander.
let them grow and shrink.
let them play.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

making the words look **nice**

Someone asked me if I try to make the words in my journal look nice.
Here is my answer:
It depends - sometimes the words are so blobby and sloppy and quickly written that I can't even read them - other times I am slow and artsy and careful with the words and I try to make each letter sing.
it really depends on what I need those words to do for me - they are my servants, after all - and they are there to do MY bidding!
(although there is a time that I do just let them do their own thing and I step out of their way - probably that's when I can't even read what I've written!)
all kinds of writing styles are there for your use - explore them all!

and here is one page that I payed attention to the shape and beauty of the lettering:

Saturday, October 20, 2007

and when you add some words?

So here is that last spread with the words written on the images.
Maybe the words add to the pictorial power, maybe not, but I enjoy the interaction of word and image.
and the colors and mood created certainly add to the content:

Friday, October 19, 2007

the page BEFORE the words

So I have been encouraging you to let your words flow from the subconscious, and to do that, asking you to make your images and your collagey pages in your book before you start to write.
I thought I would show you a spread before I added any words.
Here is what it might look like - just some shapes (a digital photo I manipulated) some tissue paper spray mounted in, adding some ink. . . .
and you are ready to write write write.
I do think the mood helps you get someone in your unconscious that you might not otherwise get to. I know I tend to write the boring and uninteresting to-do lists and the gripes of the day if I start with a totally blank page, so let the images work their magic and see how the words unfold after:

Thursday, October 18, 2007

lots and lots of words

Okay dear readers - I know lots of you are here because you are ART journalers, and you are expecting to make pictures in your books.
all well and good.
but for me, my journal is my sounding board - the shoulder I can cry on and the friend who hears me out, the one who always is there to take whatever I have to dump with no advice or judgment.
Really what a good therapist does is just LISTEN.
So I use my journal as that listening entity.
I just let the words flow, and let the unloading of my issues make me feel lighter.
I told you before to start with an inspiring photo.
A great way to start. . . . and then just let the words flow. If you want your page to be attractive - choose your favorite juicy pen, and let the words twist and turn with your mood - but mostly - get it all out and let those images take you into your own subconscious flow.
Just Do It.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

more on mood

I love vintage images. They have a certain mood that just can't be reproduced - they remember a whole era, a time when the world had a totally different viewpoint.
I love to gather these interesting images and just throw them in my image bag. (Remember that?)
Used book sales are a great place to pick up old magazines, and old books can be taken apart and the images used.
Tear out any captivating photos, and put them in your bag - next time you are rummaging around, grab what catches your eye, and work that into a collage on your page.
You get some fun results:

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

moody images

I love the mood images can make on a page.
I like to just randomly choose a sketch or drawing or photo and maybe tear it into more than one piece - make a design by playing with the parts and spray mount it down, add some color, and then words.
You can take an old sketch book with drawings you thought were not interesting, and when you tear them up and add color, VOILA - very cool stuff to collage into your journal.
The layers and layers and whatnot are fun.
and don't forget the way you are accessing that right brain stuff by making images and color . . . .
it's all about MOOD, baby!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Left Brain/Right Brain

So why does adding pictures to our journals open us up so effectively?
Mostly because the visual side of our brains are our right brains - this is the side that is responsible for:

"big picture" oriented
imagination rules
symbols and images
present and future
philosophy & religion
can "get it" (i.e. meaning)
spatial perception
knows object function
fantasy based
presents possibilities
risk taking

SO when you choose some color and make a collage in your journal, you are in the right place to connect to your intuitive creative brain - and when you add words when in this place, you might just be surprized!
Add some color to your pages, add some lines, then write some words - see what happens.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

more on images and mood.

The process that works for me is to let the images create the mood in my journal. I choose images without wondering what about them attracts me. Then I might find paper that goes with the images, tear it all into some bits. Now play around with the layout. When you like what you see, spray mount your collage into your book. Now choose some markers that go with it. I like to use fat ones if I have a loud/large thing I need to say, small ones if my words want to be a bit more quiet.
You can also add some doodles and scribbles and drawings after the words, or during!
When starting this way in your journal with an image, the creative/intuitive side of your brain is accessed, and the words that flow out of you just might be a surprise!

These Mayan figures spoke to me:

Saturday, October 13, 2007

images, color and where it ALL comes from. . . . .

Some images have emotional content for you.
and you might not even know why.
When I saw this little frog, I knew I had to draw him.
Maybe he is sort of a power animal or totem for me - I didn't try to figure it out, I just drew him. Then I scanned and printed in a few sizes to paste in the journal, but it works just fine to just draw something meaningful right into your journal.
Something opens up in your subconscious when you draw something you feel emotional about.
Color, too, adds emotion.
I always add lots of color before I write.
Something deep in there is also unleashed by the color choice. I don't try to figure all this out, I just draw, add color, and write, and see what happens. Planning is what you DON'T want to do.
and I have heard artists say, "Oh - I wish I thought of that!" Guess what - it is ALL copying anyway - sometime, way back without you knowing, you saw something that influenced you.
All artists are very influenced by visual things - that's why we are artists.
So get over it and don't worry about COPYING - that's what all artists are doing all the time whether they admit it or not.
What you want is to access your deep inner self, and copy from there!
If other artists get you there, SO BE IT.
Now go make some pages in your journals!

Friday, October 12, 2007


Where do you get cool pictures for collage?
I collect them as I go through life. It is a good idea to have an old shopping bag as your "FUN paper stash". Here are some places to be on the lookout:
**magazines you love
**stationary stores - they have great art papers
**wrapping paper
**ticket stubs and playbills
**CALENDERS - I buy massive amounts in Feb. when they all go on sale.
**and for me, when I travel, I sometimes think my main motive is to collect all the little odds and ends you get - brochures, postcards, receipts, memorabilia from the trip.
Throw all these into your shopping bag, and when you are ready to collage, dig around and grab whatever bits and pieces catch your eye.
tear into usable sizes.
play around with the layout, arranging and re-arranging, then spray mount it all down.
(more on glue boxes later. . . . )
Mostly - Have Fun!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

sometimes it's about words

I know lots of art journals are just images and colors - but my journal has always been equally about words. I keep a journal for the chance to write out my thoughts, unloading them and spilling them out, relieving my family and friends of having to hear all that crap! or relieving the need to pay a therapist all that money to hear all that crap!
but truthfully, the words are not crap and my journal is the way I respect them.
So these words, weather spilling out randomness, or carefully crafted ideas, are a very important part of the journaling process to me.
So here is a way to make the words themselves cool and pleasing to the eye - which is also important - it sort of honors the words when you let them be beautiful, a way of validating the thoughts I am spilling:
**get some color on the page - I like to use stamping pads held upside down and gently spread because I can write over the ink right away.
**make a border in amazing juicey marker - this makes a frame to hold in the words.
**very lightly draw some bubbly lines - I usually do this diagonally. The words will get smaller and bigger at the edges of these lines.
Then write the words - the bubbly lines will make the letters alternate big and small on the page.
**here's how it looks, before words and after:

and if you look really hard, you will see the orange spiral I stamped on the page before!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


make the colors sing, and the words just might follow:

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

add a picture, add some words

I think a photo opens up something from our right and intuitive hemisphere - I always start with the picture, then add the words.
scribbling with some markers helps loosen your mind as well.
Just tear out something you like, spray mount it down, and add some color.
Let the words wander and meander, in their direction and their content.
the words might surprise you, and besides, it's just fun to play!
and HEY - I just saw that I had restricted the comments, now I fixed it so anyone can post one - so please let me know if you are here and what you think - I'd love some feedback!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Your camera and your journal

I think it is great to integrate self portraits - print and spray mount some photos o your face from your camera - try shooting from strange angles - above or below.
Our journals are our self explorations - so get out your camera and shoot yourself.
OUCH, yes it hurts, but it's good for you!
Even better - use your cell phone camera and e-mail yourself the photo, print it, and tear it out, spray mount it in, and add some colors and words.
print it a few times and make a pattern.
(remember pattern and repetition?)
Cell phone photos have a nice ambiance and blurriness which is quite lovely.
Here is one of mine:

Saturday, October 6, 2007

more repetition and pattern . . . .

Yes- more repetition.
Did I say more repetition?
One fun thing to do is carve a little eraser with something you like - then stamp your journal with this image.
over and over.
Maybe carve the eraser with your power animal.
You will feel connected to this bit of your psyche and it might loosen some of your words to be in the flow better.
and repetition has a way of loosening us up, as well.
Get it yet?

Friday, October 5, 2007

Repetition and pattern

Things always look good when repeated.
So do a little doodle, and then scan it and print a bunch of them, or next time you are out and about, make a bunch of copies at the copy place - you can make the size larger or smaller, and tape a bunch to one page to make numerous copies. Throw those babies into your scrap paper bag.
Now cut or tear out a bunch of the same picture and spray mount them to your journal in a row or in a pattern.
It always is nice visually to make edges and patterns with repeating patterns - try this and see how your pages look so designed.
you know those silly little paisley squiggles? Ever look at one all by its lonesome? It ain't nothin' without the friends - so try some repetition and pattern and see how it makes your pages come to life.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Collage first, then words.

Paper - you should have a bag of scrap paper. In this bag are magazine photos torn from magazines that you like, bits of brightly colored and interesting wrapping and tissue paper you have collected, maybe some newspapers and funky designed art papers and a map or two.
Just grab a few that catch your eye, tear some shapes, and arrange them. Spray mount them down, then write.
See what happens.
The images and shapes might allow your brain to loosen some ideas that were lodged behind the visual thinking areas.
and you can always print out pages from your on-line journal to add to this book - makes a nice record of all your thoughts - public and private!

and don't worry about leaving some space, too, if that works for your eye.
Your eye and brain are going to learn to work as a team.
Now go for it!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

A photo and words

Mostly the hardest thing about journaling is the blank page.
Today - find a photo from an old magazine - anything that catches your eye.
Tear or cut it out, and spray mount in into your journal. Don't even ask yourself WHY you are attracted to that photo.
Now choose some cool colored markers, and start to write.
Let the size and direction of your lettering change with your moods. . . .
Did the photo inspire something hidden?
Did you say something you didn't expect to say?
Sometimes color and mood is teased out when our subconscious has a chance to express itself visually, rather than with words. . . .
and the more you do this, the more it works!
Try It!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

a page from my journal and your FIRST prompt:

An example of what **Juicey** markers can do:


get some markers, really juicey ones. make a spiral, turn your book in a circle as you go. . . . then add some torn tissue paper. . . . and now you are ready for some words - maybe peripheral thoughts in chunks all around the center.

Maybe new ideas blossom from the flower that is the spiral and some outrageous color. . . . see what happens.

Creative Journaling Book hot off the press!

I am very pleased to announce the sale of my Creative Journaling Book as seen at my workshops.

The first pages have all the instruction I give in my Creative Journaling Workshops - everything you need to break wide open your creative egg and make your journaling practice rise to a whole new level!
The next 50 pages are examples from my own journals to give you a visual feast of all kinds of collage and creative ways to make your pages sing. It includes all the information I teach in my workshop, and 80 pages of examples from my own journals to inspire you to get up and get creating.

for a paypal link to buy the $28 book.

and come back here often for journaling tips and samples to get your creative juice flowing.