It's Art Journal Conversation time, the third Wednesday of the month! i love that i get to have conversations with some of my favorite "art journalers." i am just as curious as you are about their styles. So let's pull up a chair, grab a cup of coffee or tea, and chat with them about their process, supplies, and their thoughts on what goes onto their pages.
i have known arleigh for years now as she is a fellow Coloradan scrapper. i actually first met her on two peas when i moved to town and then through Emily Pitts. You have heard me mention arleigh quite often on my blog and that's because i utterly adore her. She's witty, talented, and full of wisdom. Cocoa Daisy is one of her clients and i completely love what she designs for Christine. She has great insights and any time i can sit & chat with her, i do. i am blessed to live so close to her so i can soak up some of her creativity. i love her journals and really wanted to share them with you today.
Do you "Art Journal" every day? If so, what time of day works best for you?
No, I don’t. I do it in spurts. But I leave it open and ready in my office/art studio all the time. It waits for me.
I love the little tid-bits you include in your journals. Where do you find all these pieces?
I grab things as I go. The tag from new jeans, a page from a magazine, instructions from Ikea with that little Ikea dude. They don’t all make it into my art journal. Sometimes I lose them or forget why they’re in my purse and throw them away.
I also use my art journal the way someone might make Leftover Hash in the kitchen. Anyone who has scrapbooked with me knows that I hate seeing little scraps thrown away. So I save them up and make stuff with them in my art journal.
My background as a typesetter, going back to the mid-‘80s, gives me a taste for text as essential to design. I feel like text completes the design. If I can’t do it myself with stamping or writing, I will use strips cut from magazines or washi tape with text on it, just to get that bit on there.
Your journals seem to reflect your every day life extremely well. What’s your thought process for adding items into your journal?
I actually have three or four journals going at a time. Sometimes they have different purposes, sometimes they’re just a free-for-all.
Right now, one of them is a little mini booklet. My idea for this one is one thought or quote per page, a little bit of art, and the date.
Another is a brain-dump journal. Sometimes it’s grocery lists, another day it’s meeting notes, and sometimes it’s just doodles. I carry it around in my purse and tuck things into it and let it get beat-up. This is the one that reflects my real life. When it fills up or I get bored of it, I put it on the shelf and get a new book out. Got to remember to put the date and the year on the first page. I’ve filled up books without writing the date, and I feel like Miss Marple trying to solve a mystery when I’m looking back through it later, trying to figure out the dates.
Then I have a book that’s more of what you think of when you say “art journal.” I like to prep a few pages when I’m doing something else like stamping, misting, or painting. I’ve even painted pages with house paint when I had a bit leftover on my brush. The prepped pages are my new “blank page” and I can go back later and collage onto them, or journal, or washi tape, or whatever.
This month, December 2014, I’m doing Julie Fei-Fan Balzer’s #CarveDecember stamp carving challenge, so I’m stamping my hand-carved stamps into my art journal. Maybe that’s all that will go on those pages, or maybe I’ll play with them. No idea.
What kind of things do you write in your journals?
When I write in a journal, I feel depressurized. Even if it’s just a list of what I need to do tomorrow, or a note about something I want to look up later, I feel more relaxed knowing that I don’t have to hold onto it in my head anymore. Sometimes I write about what’s happening to me right now. Sometimes I write more philosophical content.
What's your best advice to someone who is just started Art Journaling?
I think copying someone else’s work is a great way to explore the art form, learn new techniques, and fine tune your own. Just like following someone else’s recipe in the kitchen, then adapting it to your own taste after you’ve tried it a few times. Pinterest is a wonderful tool for exploring other people’s work.
It doesn’t have to be in a journal either. You could do it on the back of envelopes, a bulletin board, or a canvas. Paint, pens, text, scraps of paper, magazine collage, ribbons, staples, whatever.
Don’t worry about what to write. If you can’t think of anything, just a snip of lyric from a song, or a phrase that you like.
And last, do it for yourself. No one ever needs to see it. It’s like dancing alone. You’re just doing it because it feels good to do it. No deadlines, no critics, no rules.
What’s your favorite part of Art Journaling?
As a great artist once said, "No deadlines, no critics, no rules.” Oh wait, that was me, I just said it.
I am a freelance designer and I do art for other people. I have to do what they want, work within their deadline, and also have a lot of my ideas rejected. There are also graphic design rules. Stuff like margins, and kerning, and readability, etc. I like knowing there’s a place I can goof around with no client to please.
What types of Journals do you use? Purchased, homemade, or other? Why do you favor the kind you use?
I like two kinds of journals. If I plan to write in it, I like a fully round spiral, so that I can fold the front cover all the way around. I have a binder-maker so that I can make my own spiral bound journals, which I do occasionally. Cereal boxes make awesome journal covers.
For all other purposes, I just need to make sure it will lay flat. My rule of thumb is to never buy a blank book for more than $8. I don’t know where I got that figure; it’s just random. I like Moleskin style books—the middle staple booklet. But I go through them so quickly, I don’t pay attention to brand names. If I like the cover and the paper heft, and it’s less than $8, I buy it. I have a nice stack of blank books. I give them as gifts too.
I don’t embellish covers much. Sometimes I doodle on the cover or just put one thing on the cover so I can tell front from back. I’m more interested in the pages inside.
Arleigh, which rhymes with “Charlie,” is a freelance graphic artist and fine artist who works from her home in Fort Collins, Colorado. Because she has to “follow orders” as part of her day job, she enjoys having no rules in her personal projects.
Her personality is a combination of wisecracker, know-it-all, and grumpy old lady. Mostly grumpy.
Her favorite font is Kabel Ultra Bold, because it looks like bell bottom pants. Her favorite beverage is coffee, followed closely by red wine. But not together.
What words gave you inspiration?
When's the last time you "danced alone" and to what song?
If you could sit down with arleigh, what question would you ask her?