Monday, 30 July 2012

The Art Journal Workshop

Remember a few posts back (here), I said I would choose two books/courses/challenges to work my way through? Well the second one I've chosen is The Art Journal Workshop by Traci Bunkers.

I've not had this book for long but it felt like it had the most potential. I was reading about art journalling whilst on holiday and one piece of advice, which another journaller gave, was to follow a course and see where it took you. So I thought, okay, I'll give it a go. I haven't got any outstanding online art journal courses sitting around but I do have a few books. And, well I had to pick one, so this was it.

And, well, this past weekend, I've sat at my craft desk and worked through the first exercise, trying to incorporate all the elements as instructed, whilst also making it my own work and guess what? I think that my finished effort is complete and utter CACK! 

Now this isn't a reflection on the book or its teachings. In fact, Traci recommends you try each of the exercises more than once in order to improve and grow. It's to do with my trying something new and which I'm not yet used to. I thought I'd give everything in the exercises a go because you never know, I may surprise myself and find I like it. Or not, as the case turned out to be.

But I have learnt a great deal about what pens and inks work best (& the look of horror when I saw that the pen I picked up to write with was adding glittery ink to my page!). And I know that at the moment I thoroughly dislike adding my own writing to a page. I'm not going to rule it out altogether (yet) but I think I prefer the visual side of keeping an art journal. I like the idea of adding quotes but not writing out thoughts and feelings. 

So I shall persevere onto the next exercise and hopefully I will see my pages evolve and improve. Part of me wants to run back to the safety of graphic design, scrapbooks, cards and flowers. Of having something pleasant and attractive to photograph and blog. I think art journalling is the hardest creative endeavour I've done. It feels so much more personal than anything else I've pursued. Somehow it feels really important that my pages are authentic and honestly reflecting my style. 

Maybe I should just freakin' lighten up lol.

And thank you for the comments regarding my mug sketches. I'm amazed and delighted that some of you like my first attempt. I'm not convinced. I still prefer the second. But then, when I look at Van Gogh's work, an artist whom I admire, it's his distortion of perspective which I feel (and others clearly do too) gives his work it's distinctive interpretation of his subjects (as well as his unconventional colour choices). And Kory, you have permission to slap me hard if I begin second guessing myself again haha.

Have a great week peeps.



Frank Garcia said...

Oh Paul, I think your sketches are fantastic, defenitely original, I cannot draw for the life of me! You are doing a great job, and its truly inspirational! Love this idea of art journaling I really have to look into that, I think you are doing amazing already!

Bug Hugs! Frank

Sarah said...

I've been art journalling for a long time, mostly "off blog" - and I would give the exact opposite advice that you got from the other person, I'd say forget courses and books that show you exactly "how" to art journal and remember that all it is is a visual diary, and there are no rules and no set approaches and "look and feel"s- what you do in there is entirely up to you

I went through a phase last year of blogging/sharing my journal pages more than usual because I was playing along with an online art-journal-every-day challenge.

But two things happened - 1) I got some nasty comments on one of the AJ forums saying that I wasn't a "proper" Art Journaller (Journalist?) because my page didn't look like everyone else's and shock horror I had used a photograph on one of them (therefore I was "just a scrapbooker"), and 2) I therefore ended up changing my own style to try and "fit in" better with what people wanted to see and suddenly it didn't feel like MY journal any more.

So my advice is do your own thing, don't feel the need to blog every page, enjoy it in its own right. Read the books by all means - I love reading art books of all persuasions too - but just cherry pick the techniques that really resonate with your own style. oh and have fun with it :)

Cath Wilson said...

He, he - the journey begins. I don't think it matters at all what you do and why not add your own thoughts and feelings? I tend to disguise them by writing in French and/or writing around objects or pages, breaking words up when I come to the end - gets it out of my system and does me good, so the finished look becomes secondary... I just like playing with colour and stamps and stuff, he, he. Alphabet stamps are a great help, too and you can get some really cheap ones now. I'm sure you'll find your place - I have a book of experiments and about three others on the go at the same time and yeah, lighten up, lol. (Still not completely managed it...) x

donnalouiserodgers said...

Paul, (like Sarah) I would say once you realise you learn most about yourself, from yourself, you will move from looking to others and just do your thing ( if your style is uptight do uptight art) use the techniques you have mastered,

we all find out what we like by doing (and removing) the KAK, it's just most artists don't show us their kak

all I can tell you is people spot 'my style' a mile away - but ask me what my style is and I haven't got a clue - i just do my thing, if you do your thing then your style will shine through,

now here;s where I differ from Sarah - be brave - -close the books, do what you want with your pages. Go Uptight Guy Go. Show me your most up tightest artwork on a two page spread I dare will rock


Dortesjs said...

your sketches are great,journaling are a fine way to doodle away.. makes everything happen ;O))