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

Sunday, June 21, 2015

JFJ 15 for 30 Challenge - Day 21: Masking

A fun alternative use for stencils and templates is to use them to mask off areas as we use watercolor paint. With this technique we block off certain areas to keep them clean as we paint., and we often use pieces of paper, tape, and stencils along with watercolor paint to create interesting negative spaces on our pages. By laying these objects down on our paper and painting over them, we easily create designs and patterns with the masked areas. Be careful when using tape, some masking tape will tear the paper as you try to peel off of the paper. We like to use painters tape.

For today, find some interesting flat objects, slap down some tape, or cut paper shapes to block of areas as you paint, splatter, and sponge. You can use this technique to add interesting layers to pages you've already started and to begin new pages. Experiment with different cut and torn shapes, and play around with how you apply the paint.

As always, don’t forget to share. #jfj15for30

Saturday, June 20, 2015

JFJ 15 for 30 Challenge - Day 20: Colored Paper

The collage elements we incorporate into the journal don’t have to be precious, personal fodder or random things we find. Colored paper is an effective way to add lines, shapes, and large areas of color to our pages. Many of us have stacks of handmade, textured, and exotic papers in our studios, or bits of construction or scrapbook papers, or delicate, thin, translucent papers.

Use some of these papers in your journal today. Cut out specific shapes and glue them to pages you’ve already started, or cut and glue down larger shapes onto a blank page as a way to get something started. Cut a variety of lines from the paper, and use them to create structure, movement and flow in your work.

As always, share your responses if you’d like. #jfj15for30

Friday, June 19, 2015

JFJ 15 for 30 Challenge - Day 19: Page Cuts

As we have seen with windows and doors, the journal page doesn’t have to stay intact. We can manipulate the pages in a variety of ways. One of those ways is to cut part of the page completely off from the rest. There are endless possibilities for how we can do this - from simple straight lines to complex silhouettes. These cuts add another level of interaction in our journals and add more intrigue and interest.

Grab a hobby knife and a cutting mat, or even a pair of scissors, and get cutting. Cut a page down the middle vertically, or cut out a complex shape down the edge. Create a series of cut pages or cut a single page. What are you going to do with the part you cut off? What if you made a tab, and glued it in some how? Maybe onto another page.

Keep sharing your responses. #jfj15for30

Thursday, June 18, 2015

JFJ 15 for 30 Challenge - Day 18: Shading and Depth

Instead of simply filling or “coloring” in a space, we often use shading and value change to give a space some dimension and depth. Shading around words and shapes allows them to “pop” out from the page, and they can seem to float above the surface. We can also make areas seem like they go into a page, and of course, shading can make our drawings and paintings seem more three-dimensional.

Focus at least fifteen minutes on shading and creating value changes on your pages. Use graphite, colored pencil, or ink. Remember with ink, it’s not about how hard you press, but how much empty space you leave between your marks. Drawing materials can keep you plenty busy, but you may want to try creating value changes with paint as well. Experiment with making things pop out and sink into the page.

Share on those social media sites, and don’t forget that hashtag. #jfj15for30.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

JFJ 15 for 30 Challenge - Day 17: Painting with Markers

We sometimes shy away from certain materials, especially ones that we think as children’s art materials, but there is a lot to explore even with these “kids art” supplies. Water-based markers such as Crayola and Prang, are great for experimenting. We often use these markers with a brush and water to get painterly effects. Since the ink is water-based, it blends and bleeds when we brush water over it. Some of these markers are even labelled as watercolor markers.

For today, break out the “kids” markers, and don’t just color with them. Use them to paint. Color a little bit down and paint water over the ink. Let the ink blend, spread, and bleed. You can easily blend colors together to get effective color transitions, and you can create interesting textures by dripping water onto an area you have colored with marker. Experiment and play and see what happens.

Remember to share some of your results. #jfj15for30

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

JFJ 15 for 30 Challenge - Day 16: Observational Drawing

Observational drawing is just as at home in the visual journal as it is in the traditional sketchbook and can be a great way to capture our surroundings. By closely looking at objects and our environments, we can gain inspiration and we can begin to document where we are. We often find interesting patterns as well as ordinary objects to draw as we take in what surrounds us. We may simplify what we see or we may draw it in all of its complexity.

For today, focus at least 15 minutes on looking closely at actual objects around you and drawing what you see. Try to avoid drawing from photographs, and look around your immediate surroundings. Draw a house plant sitting in the corner, the tv remote control, or your keys. Draw the remains of breakfast or lunch, or draw a chair in the room. You may want to draw with a pen so you’re not tempted to erase and start over multiple times. You may also want to think about drawing blind contour drawings as a way to loosen up. Whatever you draw, closely observe the object or scene and draw what you see. Don’t judge or criticize yourself. Just draw.

Don’t forget to share. #jfj15for30

Monday, June 15, 2015

JFJ 15 for 30 Challenge - Day 15: Spirals, Swirls, and Squiggles

If we want to create a lot of stability and predictability in our work we can use straight lines - primarily vertical and horizontal, but if we want to show a lot of movement and flow in our work, we can use curved lines. We can echo themes of growth and change by using spirals, swirls, and squiggles, and we can create exciting page layouts by dividing the space using these curvy lines.

For today, focus on including curvy lines - spirals, swirls, and squiggles. Bring contrast to pages that have a lot of straight lines and sharp corners. Draw repeated spirals as a way to create a pattern and fill a certain space. Cut squiggly lines from paper to glue them into your work or experiment with how these lines affect the layout of your pages. Explore a variety of ways to bring these curvy lines to you pages to create a sense of motion and excitement.

Remember to share. #jfj15for30

Sunday, June 14, 2015

JFJ 15 for 30 Challenge - Day 14: Personal Fodder

Random fodder from our everyday lives is a great way to document our days, but at times we want to add things that are a bit more meaningful - a bit more personal than the mundane things we pick up along the way. When we add birthday cards, photographs of our loved ones, notes from someone close to us, or postcards from a friend on a trip, we add something of significance, and the journal becomes richer document of our lives.

Find some meaningful and personal ephemera to include in your journal today. Print out a favorite recent photo or two, and glue them onto a page. Find mementos from a trip or something tucked away that you’ve almost forgotten about to add to pages you’ve already begun. Use pictures your kids drew for you or thank you cards. Whatever you choose, make certain that it is personally relevant and significant.

Keep posting those responses to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and personal blogs. It’s inspiring and motivating to see how people have used the day’s challenge. #jfj15for30

Saturday, June 13, 2015

JFJ 15 for 30 Challenge - Day 13: Lists

We are always making lists of one kind or another - to-do lists, grocery lists, bucket lists. What if we included these lists in our journals? We can glue our grocery lists and to-do lists into our pages as a way to record our day. Besides gluing, we can write our lists directly into our journal. We can list things we are grateful for, things we want to accomplish, the people who are close to us. We can create lists of all kinds.

For today, focus on incorporating lists of one kind or another. Glue in those mundane lists, or create other lists directly into the journal. Try brainstorming a list in response to a word or a theme. Try creating a list of possible journal prompts. Keep a list of quotes from something you’re reading. Collage, write, stencil, or paint your lists.

Don’t forget to share! #jfj15for30

Friday, June 12, 2015

JFJ 15 for 30 Challenge - Day 12: Watercolor Textures

Texture brings a lot of visual interest to our pages, and with watercolor paint we can create quick and simple textures by using some experimental techniques. We can use sponges, salt, rubbing alcohol, plastic wrap, bubble wrap, and string. We can use our fingers or a scraper, or we can use an old toothbrush, a cotton swab, or a crumpled paper towel.

For at least 15 minutes experiment with stamping, splattering, scraping, lifting, and dabbing the paint. Try for uneven, jagged, and rough looking textures and feel free to use multiple colors and to layer textures one on top of the other.

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.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

JFJ 15 for 30 Challenge - Day 11: Windows and Doors

Although the journal is a book, we don’t have to follow the regular conventions of a book as we work. We don’t need to start on page one, and we don’t need to finish one page before we move to the next. We can work on any page, at anytime, and in any order, and we don’t have to keep the pages intact. We can transform and manipulate the page in a variety of ways. One of the easiest ways to transform the page and bring some interaction between pages is by cutting windows and doors in the page allowing small sections of the next page to show through.

For today, focus on completely cutting out shapes from pages to create windows or cutting the shape in a way that creates a door or flap that can open and close. Cut the windows and doors at random, or be purposeful about where you cut. Cut rectangles or cut other shapes. Just be careful with what’s on the other side of the pages you're cutting, and use a hobby or craft knife and a self-healing cutting mat to protect the pages underneath. And what will you do with the pieces that you cut out? Perhaps they can be glued in elsewhere.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

JFJ 15 for 30 Challenge - Day 10: Watercolor Pencil

Along with watercolor paint, watercolor pencils are a staple in our journal kit. They offer the control of colored pencil and the look of paint, and there are several basic ways to use them, so for today experiment and play with the watercolor pencil. Think about going back to some of the pages you have already worked and fill spaces, create textures, or develop the layout a bit further.

Not sure exactly how to use them? The most basic way is to color them down onto the paper and brush water over them, but you can also brush watercolor paint over them as well. You can also blend them with a water-based marker. Try dipping the tip into water and then drawing with the pencil, or you can draw into wet areas. Don’t have watercolor pencils, watercolor crayons do the same thing. Water-based markers also blend and bleed when they get wet. Experiment and play.

Share if you like. #jfj15for30

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

JFJ 15 for 30 Challenge - Day 9: Freewriting

Freewriting, also known as stream of consciousness writing, is a creative writing technique that we use to capture our thoughts onto the page. In The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron describes this form of writing as a “brain dump” in order to clear the mind and enhance our creativity. We find this technique invaluable for discovering the deeper motivations and issues within our lives. We often write for 7 minutes employing this brain dumping writing, but we also work to fill a certain space in our journals whether its a full page or a specific section.

For today focus on freewriting using any writing material. You could do two seven minute sessions, or you could write for the full 15 minutes. Not familiar with the freewriting technique? It’s simple. You write for a given time without stopping. You write whatever you're thinking as if your brain was directly connected to your hand. Don’t worry about spelling, punctuation, grammar, or content. Just write. Not sure how to get started? Use a prompt, a theme, or a quote. You might want to set a timer, and just write nonstop until the timer goes off.

If the writing gets too personal, feel free to share only small snippets. #jfj15for30

Monday, June 8, 2015

JFJ 15 for 30 Challenge - Day 8: Stencils and Templates

Stencils have become extremely popular in mixed-media art, and you can buy a plethora of artfully designed stencils from websites and craft stores. But what if we used generic letter and shape stencils or found stencils? What if we made our own simple templates to trace?

For this fifteen minute challenge focus on using generic stencils, not those designed by some of your favorite mixed-media artists. Or find objects that can be used as stencils - plastic mesh or window screen come quickly to mind. You might want to cut your own shape template from card stock or thick plastic film that can traced again and again, but keep it to something that you can cut in a couple of minutes. The challenge is to use it in your journal not to spend the entire time creating the stencil.

Remember to share on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram! Don’t forget that hashtag so that we can see it. #jfj15for30

Sunday, June 7, 2015

JFJ 15 for 30 Challenge - Day 7: Fills

What do we do with our shapes and spaces once we create them? Filling them is just one option. We can simply fill a shape or area with solid color, or we can take things a bit further. We can add some shading to create a sense of depth or three-dimensions. We can use patterns and repeated lines and shapes to create some visual texture. We can even fill our shapes and areas with collage. Filling in these areas is a great way to get our hands moving and doing something in the journal without overthinking what we’re doing.

Take some time today to fill in some areas. Perhaps bring color to words and shapes you have already drawn or stenciled in. Perhaps use metallic markers to create areas of emphasis and surprise. Use patterns or collage to make things a bit more dynamic.

Don’t forget to share! #jfj15for30

Saturday, June 6, 2015

JFJ 15 for 30 Challenge - Day 6: Straight Lines

At times, we want to think about the layout of our pages and create visually interesting spaces that hold our attention. Dividing the space of our pages in various ways is one way to consciously consider the layout and composition of our pages. Straight lines section off areas allowing us to set different purposes for the different areas. Horizontal and vertical lines create a lot of stability on our pages, and diagonal lines create dynamism and movement. We can use these characteristics to our advantage as we explore composition and layout.

Experiment with straight lines for fifteen minutes sectioning off areas, creating grids, and playing around with stable and dynamic layouts. Use a single material or several materials. Work on a single page, or spread your lines across several pages.

Once you've responded, you're encouraged to post some of your results, and don’t forget to mark your posts with #jfj15for30.

Friday, June 5, 2015

JFJ 15 for 30 Challenge - Day 5: Circles

Squares and rectangles add a lot of structure and predictability to our work, but circles add a great contrast to the straight lines and sharp corners. Circles remind us of bubbles and balls, and may have a playful feel to them. Circles also represent wholeness and unity. “Coming full circle” is an expression of completeness and closure.

Add circles to your pages and art today. Don’t worry about making perfect circles, but if you’re uncomfortable with freehand circles, feel free to use a compass or a stencil. Draw, paint, or collage your circles onto your work. Make large circles that go off the edge of your page adding structure to the layout, and make small circles that float in the middle adding areas of focus. Overlap circles to create a nice visual texture. Feel free to start new pages or work, or add to pages in process.

Don’t forget to share! #jfj15for30

Thursday, June 4, 2015

21 SECRETS Flashback Sale

21 SECRETS is having a Flashback Sale on their 2014 Workshops. David and I were fortunate to be part of the Spring 2015 line up, and Dirty Footprints Studio is offering a great bargain on their workshops. Each e-book contains 21 individual visual journal workshops with accompanying video tutorials.

The sales begins tomorrow, June 5 at 5:00 AM and goes on through Monday, June 8 at 11:30 PM. Check it out if you're interested.

JFJ 15 for 30 Challenge - Day 4: Words

Words are an integral part of the journaling process. So, let’s focus on using some words today. We can just start writing about what’s on our minds or how we’re feeling, or we can pick a single word to draw and reflect on. Just don’t overthink it. Start adding words. If you can’t think of your own, add a favorite quote, poem, or song lyric.

For fifteen minutes add some words to you work. Write, draw, or collage the words. Use pen, marker, pencil, or paint. Use your normal handwriting or write in a fancy script. Afraid to write directly on your pages or your art? Write on a separate piece of paper to add in later. Just get some words on the paper.

Don’t forget to share some of your results. If your writing is too personal, snap a photo of a small part of it. We don’t need to read your intimate details if you don’t want. Don’t forget to put that hashtag on it so we can find you! #jfj15for30

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

JFJ 15 for 30 Challenge - Day 3: Random Collage

What would the Journal Fodder Junkies be without the fodder - the ephemera - the collage materials? We collect so much stuff in our day-to-day lives, and much of this stuff sits around the house and the studio waiting to be used. So let’s use it today, but let’s find some things that we can glue straight away into the journal - no cutting, no tearing, no altering. Just spread some glue on the back and stick it in. Glue stick is great if used it effectively. Try not to fuss with messy adhesives like acrylic medium or other glues that take a long time to use or dry. We use UHU glue stick.

For fifteen minutes, glue some stuff into your journal or onto your art. Try to find random and mundane things. If you want to raid your special papers and your collage packs, that’s fine, but what if you glue in postcards, movie tickets, receipts, flyers, labels, and old artwork? These things help document your days and things you have experienced. Remember to really spread a lot of glue on the back of the collage element to make sure that it sticks. Think about adding to pages that you've already started or adding to new pages as a way to get things started. 

Post some of your responses, and use the hashtag #jfj15for30.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

JFJ 15 for 30 Challenge - Day 2: Rectangles and Squares

Rectangles and squares make good additions to journal pages.
We can sometimes get overwhelmed with what to put on our pages, and we may overthink things a bit. It can be helpful to simplify our thinking and use some basic shapes that we can add without much fuss and bother. These shapes get our hands moving and allow us to begin laying out our pages. Rectangles and squares are very stable and predictable shapes, and they can add a lot of structure to our pages.

For fifteen minutes, add rectangles and squares to your pages. Use large and small shapes to create a layout on a page. Repeat squares and rectangles as a way to create borders, patterns, and embellishments. Overlap a bunch of rectangles to create a textured background for layers to come. Use any material - pen, marker, pencil, or paint.

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

Monday, June 1, 2015

JFJ 15 for 30 Challenge - Day 1: Watercolor Paint

Watercolor in my journal. I've started some new pages and added to others.

The blank page can be daunting, so it’s easy to engage the space with some watercolor paint. As we begin this 30 day challenge, getting some color down on the page is a great way to ease ourselves into this journey and to take away the starkness of new pages. But watercolor is also a great way to add a layer to pages that we’ve already started. Just remember to paint over waterproof materials. Inkjet prints and many pens are water-soluble and will bleed and smear as you paint over them, but that might be fun, too.

For fifteen minutes, use just watercolor to paint, sponge, stencil, and stamp. Try basic techniques or try creating textures and patterns. Start new pages or add to pages you've already started. Have fun and don’t think too much.

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