Over the weekend I discovered two new ways to work in both my journal and my sketchbook: The Sketchbook Challenge, and Stacked Journaling as taught by artist Judi Hurwitt on her blog, Approachable Art.
I found these great sites simply by entering the search terms "how to use a sketchbook." Admittedly that sounds like a really basic search, but I was looking for creative ways to get re-inspired for those times when I sit down to journal and/or sketch and suddenly get a bad case of the blahs.
As soon as I came across The Sketchbook Challenge however, I knew I'd struck gold. Not only was this a place to share and study sketching with an online community of productive artists, the site provides a theme every month for filling up those sketchbooks. No more excuses and I don't know what to draw. . . Right now the August 2012 theme is "Shelter," and so for my first attempt I did a quick sketch with Derwent Inktense pencils of the patio off my new condo's bedroom, a very sheltering place, indeed.
Later that day back on the computer, I discovered the term "stacked journal." As soon as I realized it had nothing to do with turning old journals into furniture or door-stoppers, but instead was a way of writing decoratively into your journal, the idea appealed to me. Basically, the technique is to write a paragraph at one angle, turn your pages to another angle and write over the previous paragraph, and so on until you feel ready to finish. For my first attempt it seemed appropriate to continue using the theme of "shelter," which I added to my drawing of the patio.
Here's a closer look at the journal entry on its own:
The results were extremely pleasing to me, and I know this is something I want to continue using in the future:
- It's a way to turn emotional (and overly-emotional) content into art, with the emphasis on the word "transformation."
- I love line and drawing. Using my handwriting as a line in itself truly expresses my style and direction.
- I can see that it will be an interesting way to match and complement the subject I'm drawing, eventually creating an outline or shape that I can fill in with color or collage.
- It could also be a unique way to deal with "negative space," the area around an object.
- Writing into a gessoed background with a tool such as a paintbrush handle or a twig could create a very special texture for oil pastel, watercolor, and even collage.
- Best of all, it seems an excellent way to write my heart out and then not feel I have to hide or throw away whatever I've put on the page. Instead of wondering "what do I do with this?" it can now be a work of art!
- On top of everything else, it's just so surprisingly enjoyable and attractive at the same time. I'm excited about the way it combines journaling, art journaling, and my sketchbook all under one umbrella. Very efficient, if you ask me.