My new art journal

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!

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Organising stress

I mentioned in a previous post that I have gotten a new shelf for my craft area. Since then, I have been attempting to organise and move things around my craft area so that most of my supplies are localised within the shelf. Just earlier today, I went to Ikea and purchase some boxes that would fit nicely into the various compartments. Because I wanted everything to be perfect, I had procrastinated for a very long time, trying to make up my mind on what would be the best way to store all my supplies.

Unfortunately for me, today’s organising stint had not left me feeling happy at the state of the cupboard right now. Everything has a place to go to, but I felt like it was overcrowding, which to me also meant messy and I’m feeling stressed that things are not as organised as I hope it could be. I’m too tired today to try to think of ways to re-organise my things so I’ll leave them as it is. Until I get that brilliant idea of how to arrange everything in a conducive manner.

I probably sound too much like a perfectionist but really, I can’t work or focus on anything when I get the nagging feeling at the back of my head that tells me I’m not happy with the state of my workspace. At the moment, I am truly regretting getting ahead of myself and organising my stuff with the newly bought boxes because now I can’t even bear being in the room without feeling some sort of frustration, which could only be counter-productive to my art making. Sighs.

I find that the things that annoys me the most are supplies that I have hoarded, and don’t really use normally. Things like my recycled materials, art supplies from days long past (still usable but I don’t like to use them because they don’t give me the results I want),  homemade supplies that I thought I’ll give it a try to see if I would like to use them (not so much, but let’s see if I would use them more now that they are slightly more accessible and neater) and some non-paper ephemera that I thought I saved to do some sort of mixed media work (which didn’t work out because I decided that I don’t like too much dimension and honestly, mixed media isn’t my thing). Gotta work on these aspects, though I suspect that very soon I will start purging these hoarded supplies that are frustrating me the most. At the moment, I’ll revisit some organising videos that I have watched in the past, especially this video and hopefully gain some ideas on how best to store all these stuff.

(Links are not affiliated, I just want to let you know what I have purchased.)

It’s not waste! Saved from packaging

We bought a new shelf for my room and my dad helped to put it together. While I am excited about the new shelf so I can be more productively organised (and also have more space which I can fill up with even more craft supplies) I am equally excited about all the random packaging that came with the shelf!

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Spot the cardboard and the sheer fabric/cotton like thingy. Photo isn’t too clear or focused but I tried my best and my phone camera doesn’t seem to want to do that right.

I can’t wait to put some use to these recycled supplies. Cardboard because it’s always always handy to have cardboard around. Also I watched a video earlier today in which the corrugated sides of the cardboard are used as stamps and I want to try it out for myself to see how it looks. And the fabric like thingy.. well it’s just seems such such a waste to throw away such perfectly good stuff! I might have a small stash of it that I have saved up somewhere but I’ll admit that I’ve actually never used it in a project before. Right now, I can foresee sewing it into some kind of pouch or travel shoe/laundry bags, or attaching it to paper for some texture. Well, one day I’ll find the perfect project for these kind of thing.

What was the last recycled object you saved up? You’ll be surprised what ideas come up when you start to seriously brainstorm on the many ways recycled objects are useful in the craft room.

(Links are not affiliated, I just want to let you know what I have purchased.)