Wednesday, October 29, 2008

IF - Repair

It was a busy weekend (more on that in another post), but I finally finished up this weeks topic. When I saw the topic, I immediately thought of a cut or a wound and how the body has the amazing ability to heal itself, and the large "cut" was the first thing that I created. As I worked, my thoughts expanded to include psychological wounds as well. Although the "cut" is pretty gruesome, this two-page spread really is about hope. Even the most serious physical and emotional wounds can heal. Of course there may be scars.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Writing in the Journal

Some people have trouble writing in an "art" journal, but we feel that the writting is a key component of the visual journal. It is this merger of the image and the word that gives the visual journal its power. Many visual journalists use writing and words as the final layer of their pages, but often times, writing can be used as a beginning layer. In this page, Dave began with a stream of consciousness writing in pencil using the prompt "I need..." He then used ink and metallic marker to highlight key words, and then used watersoluble graphite and watercolor pencil on top of the writting. This obscured some of the writing, but it is not importanat that the writing stays legible. It is important that it was written. He finished off this page with a packaging tape transfer of a photocopied photograph that I had taken of him.

The stream of consciousness wrtiting is a great creative writing technique, and it is a good way to "brain dump" all the stuff that floats around in our minds. We use a timed, 7 minute writing that seems to be long enough to get at the heart of an issue, idea, or concern.

Try allowing a spontaneous writing to be the spark for a page.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Product of the Week - JFJ Postcard Set

This week's featured item is a set of ten (10) Journal Fodder Junkies postcards - 5 of mine and 5 of Dave's. Each full-colored card is laser-printed onto 4"x6" photo paper and packaged in a self-sealing poly bag. Each set is $10.00 USD plus shipping and handling. If interested in this and other JFJ merchandise, visit our online shop. We can accept all major credit and debit cards as well as PayPal.

Friday, October 17, 2008

IF - Late

Lately, I've felt that my life has become very hectic and crammed with things that just need to be done. I have even felt that my journal pages have become very layered, complex, and busy. I have even felt somewhat stagnant with both life and journal lately. And so today I wanted to take some time to slow down, simplify, and meditate somewhat. So this spread is simple done with Prismacolor watercolor pencil and colored pencil - specifically indigo blue with a touch of black.

I've been inspired as of late, by the line work of milo aka Michelle White. I've done some experiments in a pocket-sized Moleskine sketchbook, and I used the same type of lines to begin these pages, but with watercolor pencil. I slowly built up layer after layer of indigo blue leaving the white rectangles as places for the eye to rest. And I finished off the spread with colored pencil allowing the rich, vibrant pigment to build up in select areas of the pages. I tried to do something different by using very limited media, color palette, and concept.

It's good to change things up, experiment, and simplify.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Beginning pages in a journal can be extremely daunting. The perfect clean, crisp pages seem to draw out the inner critic, and it can often stifle us into submission. We get so caught up in doing something great and something worthy that the blank page becomes so intimidating and stops us from committing to the page. That is when we can just do something random to take the blankness away. The examples below are just random pages started with one of the simplest media - watercolor.
Each two-page spread was started with some random colors and techniques, and there is no preconceived idea of what these pages will evolve into. You can use any material or technique. Try drawing random lines and shapes to ease into a page. Or collaging random elements to a page. Or using random words. But whatever you do, allow it to be random. You are planting the seeds for pages, and with the right care and nuturing those seeds can grow into rich, beautiful, grown-up pages.
For more ideas check out the "How-to Posts" to the right - especially the ones labeled "Encountering the Blank Page."
So, when you are at a loss, try something random.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Product of the Week

This week's featured product is a small booklet of select pages from both my and Dave's journals. Each 4.75"x6" booklet is laser printed in full color on 32 lb paper with 20 pages of journal pages, and each booklet is hand-assembled, saddle-stapled, and hand-trimmed. Each booklet is $10.00 USD with shipping and handling, and payments are handled through our PayPal shop with domestic and international shipping. Each booklet makes for a nice gift for anyone who admires the journal pages of the Journal Fodder Junkies. Please visit our website and online shop to purchase the booklet and other merchandise.

Friday, October 10, 2008

IF - Strings

This weeks IF journal page started off with blind countour line drawings of a table top vise and an old telephone. Since I draw blind contours with one continuous line, I am always reminded of strings. I love the tangle of lines that result in not looking at the paper as I draw. As I worked on the quality of lines, I began to think of how strings can tangle and bind. And recent events in my life brought to mind how so many people are trapped and tangled in the the mediocre, and how they try to bind and tie down others. These are naysayers - people who can never stand up for your vision and will give you a hundred excuses why it won't work. Instead of giving you wings, they give you rhetoric and excuses hoping to tie you to their mediocrity. As I bulit layers of graphite, ink, and watercolor pencil, a tangled figure came to mind, so I created the figure with acrylic, and tied the acrylic into the background with colored pencil.

Although the figure is bound, it struggles against the tangle of lines, and stretches upward. Despite the naysayers and the unbelievers, we all must dream and struggle against the ties that bind us to mediocrity.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Shout Out

This blog has been up and running for about a year and a half now, and I'm finally figuring out what I want it to really be. I posted a lot when I first started because I had so much to share, but over the months, with the commitments of life and feeling like I didn't have much, I really hadn't posted much. I really want this to be a place that people can come and find some inspiration for journaling as well as for art in general.

So, over the coming months, I am going to try to ramp up my contributions to the blog in a few different ways. First, I want to continue with Illustration Friday. It is a challenge and a push to journal more often, and I know that it has drawn more folks to the blog. Second, I want to do a bit more self promotion and encourage people to stop by the Journal Fodder Junkies website and online shop by posting a "Product of the Week" type thing. And finally, I want to include more posts that are more of journal prompts - ideas, techniques, and concepts to inspire people to work in their journals and try new things.

I am also very appreciative of all of you who have taken time to visit the Journal Fodder Junkies. So, I want to thank all of those people who have stopped by over the last 18 months or so, and a special thank you and shout out goes to all those bloggers and individuals who have linked to this blog or the JFJ website.

A special, special thank you goes out to a friend I have known since college and who has been constant encouragement, and that would be the Turtleboy himself, Go Flying Turtle blogger Steve Loya. Steve encourage me to start blogging, and has also done a great job of helping to promote the JFJ. Stop by his blog, and read the Artist Spotlight he did with me.

Please find a list below of blogs and sites that have linked to the JFJ or included a mention to us. I encourage you to stop by and have a look around. And if I missed your site or blog, please let me know.

Friday, October 3, 2008

IF - Sugary

Well, it's my second week for Illustration Friday, and I must say that this was a tough one. My work tends to be rather conceptual, and some of the IF topics lend themselves to more literal translations. And that is the main reason that I haven't really done any Illustration topics before. But as I sat and thought about the word "sugary", I immediately thought of cookies - it could have been the sugar cookies that I bought yesterday. But cookies always remind of home and my childhood.

My mom was the head baker at a local grocery store in Washington, Pa., and she is a terrific cook and baker. I still consider her chocolate chip cookies to be the best. But as I thought of my mom's baking, I began to really latch onto this idea of "home". So, I opened my journal and began to draw the house shapes in watercolor pencil, and slowly the page took shape. In the end, the page seems to have very little connection to "sugary", but it was all about the mental and emotional connections that I made to come to the final page. Even when I think of the final theme of "comfort", I think how so much comfort food is the sugary, fatty, delicious stuff. So, this page has a bit of a dark side, because I have always struggled with my weight, and my craving for those comfort foods. Also, I came to the idea of "roots" and the notion that sometimes we are stuck in the past unwilling to uproot ourselves. But that's a whole other idea for another post.

So all in all, it was a challenge, but a good challenge.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The GodFodder

Ever since I first saw a few of Joseph Cornell's boxes in the National Gallery of Art in D.C. years ago, I have been enamored with his work. His work has a mysterious magical quality to it. I have gone back again and again to those little boxes tucked away in the East Wing of the gallery. Since they are under Plexiglas, they have a very sacred feel to them - precious artifacts preserved for all time making them all the more mysterious.

I was very fortunate to see two exhibitions of Cornell's work over the last three or four years. The first was at the Art Institute of Chicago. They have several rooms of his work, and it was the first time, I was able to view so many of his pieces in one place. I believe that these are part of the museum's permanent collection. The other was a retrospective that showed at the Smithsonian's American Art Museum in D.C. This exhibition brought together some of Cornell's most famous pieces as well as many of his collages and early works. What really rounded out the retrospective was all the "fodder". When Cornell passed away, he left a basement studio packed with boxes and files of images, objects, and all sorts of random things that he used to create his pieces. Photos of his studio show shelves lined with these boxes. It was a nice glance into his process being able to see his ephemera as well as pieces only partially completed. I was able to go the the retrospective on three different occasions, and I consider myself very lucky.

So, the above page is a little homage to Joseph Cornell with the image of Cornell done as a packaging tape transfer. The page was completed a couple of years ago in Journal #9.