Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Thank You! But Now What?


I want to thank everyone who participated in the JFJ 15 for 30 Challenge. I can't believe the 30 days are over. I am so grateful to everyone who participated and shared their work on their blogs, on Facebook, on Instagram, and on Twitter. It's so humbling to see so many folks actively engaging in the journal, and I am glad that I was able to give people a creative nudge. I think a lot of people were surprised at how much they accomplished, and found that they spent more then 15 minutes each day. And that was one of the major points of the challenge - to build a daily habit of journaling even if it was only 15 minutes a day.

The challenge was a bit of an accomplishment for me as well. First, I was able to sustain the challenge - both the journaling and the posting. No matter how busy or tired I was, I made sure that I completed each challenge in my journal, photographed the results, wrote, and posted each day's challenge the night before. Thank goodness for scheduled posts. That way, the challenge posted at 8:00 AM everyday. But I also accomplished my other goal - to connect to and to inspire other people. There was definitely a sense of community that built up around the challenge, and I checked Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram multiple times each day to see what was being posted. I loved seeing how people took simple ideas and made them their own.


With the end of the challenge, many people are wondering, "Now what?" Well there are three things that can help you sustain your creative courage.

First off, The JFJ challenge has sparked another challenge. Tim Needles, a fellow art educator we met several years ago who participated in the challenge, has launched his own daily challenge for the month of July. You can find Tim's challenge at the blog The Everyday Renaissance. You can also follow Tim on Twitter.


Second of all, David and I will be conducting several workshops this summer.

  • If you're in the Austin area, David will be teaching a two-day workshop the weekend of July 25th, at Jerry's Artarama. 
  • In August, David and I will be conducting workshops in Phoenix at Art Unraveled. We will be teaching three different workshops August 9-11. Check our Events page for more info. 


Finally, I am pleased to announce the launch of the Journal Fodder Junkies official online community.  This community is a place where we can share our online workshops, resources, videos, news, and more. We also want to give people a chance to connect to one another and to share their experiences, their processes, and their journaling with one another in a safe and closed community. You must sign up for membership to enjoy the benefits. Your membership is completely free, but it must be approved. Once you sign up, I'll try to approve your membership within 24 hours if not quicker. Once your membership is approved, you will have access to a number of free tutorials, downloads, and resources. Eventually, we would like to house our paid online workshops there as well. I've been putting together the last bits and pieces over the last few days, and things might be a little rough and sparse for now, but I plan on offering more as time goes on. Please click here to check it out and to sign up. I'd love to get some feedback.

Thank you once again, and please keep the journaling habit moving forward.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

JFJ 15 for 30 Challenge - Day 30: Reflection


We use the journal to reflect on our art, to reflect on our lives, and to reflect on our relationships. The journal helps us figure out what’s important, and it helps us figure out what we want and where we need to be. It is a valuable tool for living and learning.

Spend time today reflecting our your journey. You might want to reflect on specifically what you have done over the last 30 days or you might want to reflect on your life or your art in general. What is going well? What needs work? What is an area of strength? What is an area for growth? If these questions don’t work for you, come up with your own. Write, collage, paint, and/or draw.


Don’t forget to share! #jfj15for30

Monday, June 29, 2015

JFJ 15 for 30 Challenge - Day 29: Connection


Through journaling we connect to ourselves, and we connect to the places we inhabit. Through sharing we connect to others and we build relationships. It is through these connections that we begin to see our place in the world and figure out what is important to us. The journal grounds us in our lives as we discover the ties that bind us.

For today focus on the idea of connection. Explore the connections that you have made to yourself and to others over the last twenty-eight days. Focus on how these connections have brought about clarity, confusion, questions, and answers. In what ways have you connected to yourself, to places, and to others? In what ways have these connections affected your relationship to yourself and to others. Write, paint, collage, and draw. Respond in any way you see fit.


As always, share and strengthen those connections. #jfj15for30

Sunday, June 28, 2015

JFJ 15 for 30 Challenge - Day 28: Drawn Text


As we’ve mentioned before, words are an important part of our journaling practice, and we use words in a variety of ways. Sometimes we want the text to become more graphic in nature, and we could use collaged or stenciled words. But drawn text is a great way to bring a graphic and a personal flair to our words.

For at least 15 minutes today, draw words and text. Perhaps you highlight some of those operative words with drawn text, or perhaps you illustrate your favorite quote. Perhaps you create a specific theme word for your page. Use any stye of lettering you want such as block, bubble, or graffiti letters. Feel free to draw or sketch your letters with pencil before using materials like pen and marker.


Keep sharing those responses. #jfj15for30

Saturday, June 27, 2015

JFJ 15 for 30 Challenge - Day 27: Tearing


Who needs scissors? Tearing and ripping can create interesting lines and textures, and we, at times, tear pages and fodder as we work in our journals. Tearing a series of pages creates a lot of interaction and surprise. Ripping fodder brings in a lot of contrast to the straight and uniform lines and shapes we normally use. We try to be purposeful and careful as tear and deconstruct images, pages, and text. We then are free to reconstruct the images, pages, and text in any number of ways.

For today focus on tearing as a means for working in your journal. Try tearing off parts of pages. You can even tear a series of pages. Try ripping up colored paper, pictures, or old artwork and gluing in the parts and pieces. Think about tearing up some of your writing and randomly gluing in pieces so the meaning becomes obscured. Begin tearing and see where it goes.


Don’t forget to share! #jfj15for30

Friday, June 26, 2015

JFJ 15 for 30 Challenge - Day 26: Translucent Surfaces


Layering is an important part of our journaling practice and using translucent surfaces such as vellum and tracing paper is an easy way to add layers to our pages while allowing lines, words, images, and textures to show through the collaged material. We often write and draw on these translucent surfaces and glue them into our pages to create additional visual interest.

If you have them, experiment with translucent surfaces. You can draw, write, or print on the paper first, and then collage it onto your pages. You can cut and glue to create see-through shapes of colors, or you can use vellum and tracing paper to cover windows and cut-outs in your pages. See what type of layering effects you can create with these semi-see-through surfaces.


Keep sharing your responses. #jfj15for30.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

JFJ 15 for 30 Challenge - Day 25: Self-Portraits


Self-portraits can intimidate some people, but if we rethink the what and the how, we can use ourselves as the imagery in our journals whether drawn, traced, or collaged. We don’t have to stick to realistically rendered drawings, we can use photographs, templates, and image transfers as ways to include ourselves.

Today, focus on using yourself as the subject matter for your journaling. Feel free to draw yourself as you look in a mirror, but if you lack the confidence or initiative to draw yourself, rethink what the self-portrait can be. Print out selfies, trace photographs, and scrounge around for old drawings. Use photocopies to create image transfers or cut yourself out of a photograph and use it as a template to trace. Experiment with different ways to include yourself in your work.


Don’t forget to share some of your results on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media. Use the hashtag #jfj15for30.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

JFJ 15 for 30 Challenge - Day 24: Tracings


Tracing is often seen as “cheating”, and you may have been scolded by someone not to it. But tracing is a viable and valuable technique for including images in the journal. Besides stencils and templates, we often trace ordinary objects such as tools, rolls of tape, and scissors as a way to document our surroundings. We also trace our hands and the hands of friends and family as a way to record our connections with ourselves and with others. It’s a direct way to include people in our journaling process. We can even trace pictures and photographs as a way to include images that we may not want to take time and effort to draw in more conventional ways.

Focus on tracing things for at least 15 minutes today. Since we’ve focused already on stencils and templates, use ordinary objects like pliers, scissors, keys, or kitchen gadgets. Look for something that will give you an interesting and complex shape. You might also want to trace hands - yours and the people around you. If you have tracing paper, you can trace images and photographs. We like to use photos we have taken to keep the imagery as authentic as possible. Then you can glue the tracing into your journal. Look around to see what you have available for tracing, and experiment with using these items in your journal.


Share your responses to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media. Don’t forget the hashtag so we can see what you’re up to. #jfj15for30.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

JFJ 15 for 30 Challenge - Day 23: Painting with String


Watercolor is a great medium for the journal, but the basic techniques can get a bit boring after a while, so we like to spice things up and add a bit of unpredictability and chance into our pages. Using string to apply the paint is a fun and exciting way to bring some surprise and unusual textures into our journal pages. This technique can be very messy so we are careful of our work surfaces and our clothing.

For today use string to apply your paint. Any thick string or yarn will do as long as it is absorbent. Dampen the string first, and then drop it into a heap on a palette or plastic plate. Then apply the paint to the string with a paint brush. Try dropping the paint saturated string on the page, dragging the string, and even stamping with the string. You can even close your journal on the string, leave the ends of the string extending off the edge, and pull the string out of the closed book. Experiment with the string in anyway you want. Can’t think of anything, do a quick Internet search.


Don’t forget to share. #jfj15for30

Monday, June 22, 2015

JFJ 15 for 30 Challenge - Day 22: Operative Words


There are times that we want to bring emphasis to the words that we write. It is then that we turn to operative words. These are words we want to draw attention to, and they succinctly sum up the phrase or sentence. When searching for operative words, we look for a handful of key words in our writing, and we rely on our gut instinct because these are powerful words - meaty words. When we find these words, we embellish them in all manner to draw focus and attention to them. We might even make a list of them so that we can explore them further in the future.

Spend your time today revisiting the writing that you have done in your journal. You might want to go back to that stream of consciousness writing, and look for these key words. Use metallic markers, colored ink, or anything else you have to highlight, embolden, and embellish these words so they stand out from the rest of the writing. Try circling, boxing, and tracing the words as a way to draw the eye to these operative words.


Share on those social media sites if you'd like. #jfj15for30