At the end of 2017, I decided I was done with my old art journal, and started a new one in the beginning of 2018. Because I felt the desire for change, there were a lot of changes I made to my new art journal that differed greatly from the previous two journals, which were exactly the same in shape, size and materials. After 5 years of working in my art journal the same way, I felt like it’s time to change things up, a reflection my own personal revelations as well. But that, is a story for another day.
First of all, a look at how my journal looks like from the front:
I tend to like colours on the covers of my journal, because it makes me happy to see colours. The cover here is made from a sheet of deli paper that I used as a paint palette, so there are lots of juicy colour on that one small sheet. What’s different about this cover, is that I have decorated it, sketching a girl and then painting it in. My past two journals were completely plain on the outside other than the colours – I wanted to decorate it at the end of the journal so that the cover matched the inside of the journal, but it never materialised because I was too lazy at the end of the journal, and I was so used to the plain covers that it felt weird to finish up the covers, and then put away the journal for storage. So I was pretty surprised myself when I got the urge to pick up a pencil and draw in this girl here. But I’m glad for it, even though she’s a little dirtied during the process of filling up this journal, because it sets a theme for the journal and really gave a sense of ownership.
Another thing that is different for this journal was how I bounded it. I decided to change up the size of the journal because I had gotten too used to the 6″ x 11″ size previously, shrinking it down to half A4 size. This is also a single signature journal, much thinner than my previous two journals which had five signatures, lasting me for two years each. As I am writing this, I am more than halfway past my journal, with only a few pages left to fill up! It’s just such a quick journal.
But, the most important difference about this journal is the papers that I have used to make the pages. Previous journals used a mixture of artist paper – cardstock, drawing/watercolour/scrapbook paper, but this one is made completely out of junque – brochures from mail, paper bags, envelops, old calendars. It’s a radically different base, which I prepped for the journal by painting, gesso-ing and collaging over the words and pictures already on the paper. It’s not a perfect cover, but just enough that it doesn’t overwhelm and take over the page when I go to work over it.
I have to admit, I really wasn’t used to having junque papers as a base in my art journals. It made me hesitant to try the more artistic things that I would experiment in my art journals, like paintings and watercolours, because I was convinced that the paper wouldn’t take these mediums very well. To be honest, I’m still hesitant about using watercolours in this journal, because I don’t think the papers will absorb the paint very well, but, but, I have tried other mediums and techniques that I didn’t use to go for in the past in this new journal – oil pastels, dimensional collage, paint scratching, acrylic paints.
Here’s the most recent page from my journal (and pardon the not very skillful blurring of journaling):
The bright and bold colours really surprised me, because the junque material and gesso allowed the colours to stayed on the surface of the page, rather than soaking into the paper. I did this by dipping watercolour pencils into water, and then drew/coloured in the butterflies and leaves, and I never knew that my cheap watercolour pencils can end up looking this bright! It made me want to use them more and experiment further actually, and I love when my experiments get me inspired.
I’m having fun with this journal, and the new format is still really new and fresh to me, so I think I will keep it at this for a while longer. And there’s something interesting about finishing a journal in a relatively short period of time, an explicable sense of accomplishment, and the way I forced myself to step out of my comfort zone. I don’t think I’m an expert on junque journals, because I can’t really get over the junque aspect of things, but I’m trying to explore, while using up my stash of recyclables that I will never get to finish. Hope this inspires you to try your hand at junque journaling, or at least to try something new!