When I first started adding art to my journals I wasn’t aware that I was actually adding art, so much as I was just adding bits and pieces of things like pictures, ticket stubs, receipts, stickers, and a doodle here or there–that was back in the late 70’s-early 80’s. A few years ago I came across the journal community on YouTube and got lost in all the different types of journals, and the different styles and ways that people journal–one in particular was the Hobonichi. I then found out about the Fauxbonichi. Since then I’ve tried out a number of different styles and types of journals, but the thing that hasn’t changed is my love of adding art and words to a blank page.
Over the past few years I’ve rediscovered my love of art and fallen in love with watercolor. In Cathy Johnson’s book “Artist’s Journal Workshop: creating your life in words and pictures,” she states that an artist’s journal is “a personal journal kept by the creative person…your fingers itch to capture the moment…your curiosity is piqued and you search for your own answers, make notes and sketches as you go. You celebrate a milestone or the everyday occurrence. Your journal can be a place to capture all of that, to capture the moments of your life.” And that is exactly what combining art and words is for me… capturing the bits and pieces of my life on the page, whether I am drawing, watercoloring, adding a picture, a piece of collage, a sticker, text… Whether it is about my trip to the grocery store or a day spent with family or friends or the new recipe I tried or my thoughts and/or feelings.
Lately, I’ve been expressing bits and pieces of my life with sketches or watercolor. and I’ve taken it even further by taking myself out on dates for urban sketching or plein-air sketching. In order to that I’ve had to minimize what I take on excursions. Instead of taking my “journal travel bag,” which includes a lot more. My family and friends, even Mr. Rockstar, looked at me funny when I walked in carrying a large pink satchel bag or my bookbag or leather messenger bag (depending on the mood and/or where I was going) and then broke out my journal “stuff,” which is quite a bit of stuff even in my journal travel bag. But to go urban sketching, or plein-air sketching no way was I going to be able to tote the large bag, the portable chair, and the camera bag. Nope, wasn’t going to happen, especially in the humidity we have here in the South. So I took out everything. Looked at what I had and broke it down into piles: 1. Need 2. Want 3. Unsure. I took away the “want” items and then went back over the “unsure” items. Minimized my “travel art bag” so that it all fit into one bag. And… here is that video (There is a list of the items I have in the bag in the description on YT. Some of the links are Amazon Affiliate links, which don’t affect the amount you pay, but do help me out a little with supplies and things. 😀
Prior to my laptop having gone kaput when a Windows 10 update struck, I wrote in spurts. I could write while watching TV with Mr. Rockstar (as long as the show didn’t have a lot of music), or on an artist date at a coffee shop or at the park, or while in bed, but last year before NaNoWriMo my laptop went kaput and needed to be fixed. Mr. Rockstar’s friend Computer Guy has fixed it (about a month ago now) but I have yet to get it back, and that makes writing hard because if I want to write I have to either write at the desk with my laptop or I have to write by hand, (last night I tried using the old ibook G4 and forget it… it’s got a problem as well).
All I could think of last night was the problem… No laptop yet… this is the third NaNo event I’ve been without my laptop. And my new desktop… the one I just got well one of the USB ports on the top won’t recognize when you plugin a USB and the port for the headphones won’t recognize when you plugin the headphones… SiGh! SO I’m just frustrated. Aggravated. I was ready to say the hell with writing, to hell with it all, I was so grumpy over the lack of mobility, the “I have to sit at this desk, which I am always at, for the most part, or turned around beside the desk because I’m working at the craft table, I believe I reverted back to the terrible three’s and felt the tantrum coming on–I know it’s stress that caused that, I know it is, instead of having an actual tantrum though, I vented. I needed to vent. I had to vent. Part of my creative process is sometimes separating the writing from the art, not always but sometimes. But the book I want to write is about more than just art, or journals, or creativity, it’s about being creative with your journals, about finding time to create, about finding your creative mojo again, about living creatively, about words and art, journals, creativity, and so much more. SO regardless of whether I have my laptop or not, I’ll be writing.
“See Yourself Succeeding: The way you see yourself has a lasting impact on your life. When you consider yourself worthy of achieving your goals…you’ll become who you want to be. You’ll see yourself as confident and capable, and you’ll follow a different path–because you now see yourself walking toward success. We don’t always realize the full impact of our thoughts–how far they reach or how they truly affect us and our goals. See yourself in this brand-new light. Think you can–and you will. Do all you can to become everything you want to be.” ~Barbara J. Hall
As I challenge myself to think outside the box, to get out of my comfort zone, not only with my writing, but my journals, art, DIY projects–well, life in general, I realize that what I’ve been slowly but surely doing is creating a life filled with creative interests that help me maintain some sort of balance in regard to anxiety and depression, and that help me utilize and cope with my ADHD.
But it’s more than just that. My life is a good one. With so much going on in July I’ve got to get things together. Working on a few things this month like #onebookjuly2017, #worldwatercolormonth, and more. I’ll share more with you soon. But for now… here are a few videos where I talk about what is happening this month. And tomorrow I hope to start talking about my book for #campnanowrimo.
the ability to createher artistic creativity(Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary).
Creativity is, according to Creativity at Work, “characterized by the ability to perceive the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns, to make connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena, and to generate solutions. Creativity involves two processes: thinking, then producing.” But when I think of creativity I think of all kinds of things. Things like one moment you’re in the shower and out of nowhere an idea for your next book hits you like a ton of bricks. Or you’re sitting at your desk, dining room table, craft table, or the living room floor coloring with your grandson and you realize he has the right idea… he knows exactly what he’s doing… he’s not second guessing himself, the colors he’s using, whether or not he’s coloring inside or outside of the lines… he’s just doing it. And when he’s done, “Mimi it’s the best…” and I’m not sure if he’s asking me or telling me but he’s right… It’s the best. It’s the best moment. It’s the best picture. He used the best colors. It’s just the best, and so is he. We could all learn a thing or two from children and pets…. I’m embracing my inner five year old. That’s the way to creativity. That’s how I’ve learned to fully embrace my creativity–best lesson I could have learned and I learned it from my almost five year old grandson.
For the past seven months or more I’ve struggled with the idea, with accepting fully the idea and the fact that I am now working in a creative job… that what I do (the art, the journals, writing, Patreon, YT (in a way), blogging (that’s something I’m working at more and more each week)… that being a creative isn’t something I just am, it’s what I do, and that utilizing my creativity in different ways is my job, helping others to be creative is my job. sharing creativity is my job… (I’m sure you get the picture by now). Truth is, I’m doing something I love. I’m creating every single day. Maybe it’s a picture I took, or a picture I drew, maybe it’s a paragraph you wrote. Maybe it’s a video you created. Maybe it’s a piece of music you worked on, or a song you learned. Maybe it’s just that you sat down with your child or grandchild and colored a picture in a coloring book.
Later on, I’m going to do another blog post about creativity. I’ll continue to do them here and there. I’ve talked about comparing yourself to others, self-doubt, procrastination, and a few other things. And each time I do these kinds of posts, via blog or video, it’s usually because I’ve learned something new about myself.
I’d like to make this a bit of a series. Maybe one per month or so.
I had one of those infamous pink diary’s with the lock and key when I was in elementary school. That pink diary became my constant companion when my father died when I was seven years old. I’ve been an avid journal-er since. For more than two years now I’ve been using art and text to document my life in my journals, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized and took to heart, got past the fear, and said, “It’s my journal(s), I can do what I want….” I think the rebel in me knew all along and pushed the boundaries, broke the “rules.” Refused to even acknowledge that there are rules to keeping a journal, to doing things like adding your planning into your journal. And the diarist knew that I could journal about whatever I wanted, and was happy to be writing down the feelings, thoughts, hopes, dreams, plans, and more. But the artist… oh, the artist…the artist in me was filled with fear.
I have followed LittleRavenInk (Courtney Diaz) and Rhomany from Rhomany’s Realm, as well as many others on YT, for a good long while now, and the thing I love about both of them is their individualism, how they have found their voice in their art, on the pages of their journals. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a journal, a sketchbook, a planner, etc., their style is unique. I’ve got a style, I suppose, but it ebbs and flows, it’s not ingrained yet… it’s still underneath the surface, appearing and disappearing as I find my way… As I delve into deeper recesses of my artist.
You see, writing down my thoughts, my feelings, adding bits and bobs of things like quotes, pictures, every day ephemera and/or bought ephemera, and other things isn’t the problem… I can do that and do do that on a regular basis. I often use my journal(s) as an art journal, scrapbook, common place journal, planner, and more. I add bits and pieces of my day on the page in a variety of ways, from drawing and water-coloring, to using markers, to writing diary style, to quotes, adding pictures and receipts, bits from magazines, receipts from stores, etc…, and the thing that has been bugging me about my whole journal journey is that I wanted to do something else… something more. To hone in on the artist part of me. To improve my skill and technique, to experiment with different mediums, but to concentrate mainly on the art. On creating at least one piece of art from my day. Maybe it was the new notebook I received in the mail, or maybe it’s my favorite fountain pen or the current watercolor palette I’m using, or maybe it’s my grandson playing or Mr. Rockstar using the grill, or maybe it’s a selfie I’ve drawn and water-colored. Not necessarily in a “sketchbook,” though I do that from time to time especially when I go somewhere and want to chronicle the moment by drawing the outside of the coffee shop or the lake at Swan Lake or the people at the park, which I have learned is called urban sketching and I enjoy, but more like a real life journal that chronicles everything from the mundane to the special event to travel to just playing around and drawing one of my supplies.
I did some serious soul searching last weekend, and my past Tuesday Talk video was about some of this… about investing in myself and my goals, about delving deep and realizing that I’ve been putting off trying to really “illustrate my life,” out of fear… out of insecurity… out of a lack of self-confidence. And yet the past year has improved my self-confidence, lessened my fear, knocked loose some of those insecurities and I’ve tried things and done things that the artist in me wouldn’t have even thought I could do–things like open my own journaling group, start Patreon, call myself an artist… WHOA! Did I just call myself an artist? Yep, sure did!
I’m not a professional artist, but I’m learning… I’m going back to the basics of drawing and learning to do so in a class offered by Danny Gregory on Sketchbook Skool. I’m experimenting on my own with watercolor until I can take a watercolor class–that is on my To-Do list after I finish the Drawing class. I’m learning on my own and taking classes. I’m journaling every day, drawing and water-coloring every day, and have gotten serious enough about that I purchased a new journal with 68 GSM Tomoe River paper in it from Taroko Design, the journal is called the Enigma and it’s got the most divine paper. I also have a Strathmore Watercolor paper journal/Sketchbook with 140lb paper for when I do happen to go Urban Sketching, or for practice, since painting with watercolor on Tomoe River paper is quite different than on watercolor paper.
Right now I use a Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolor set, but I want to invest in the Daniel Smith Watercolors and create a basic travel set and then add to my collection as I go. I have goals… plans, but first it’s time for me to just start. I can’t wait until I can afford the Daniel Smith watercolors, though I do have a small travel kit that one of my wonderful friends made for me (I use those when I create works of art for people). Instead of waiting around, procrastinating even more, I sat at my DIY craft table and opened up both the A5 and the A6 Enigma and created my first page. I’ve realized that the A6 is going to be my fun, experimental tiny book of sketches, watercolors, etc… I’m going to take it with me every where I go and sketch something… anything–it might be the mailbox or the neighbor’s car or dog or pool or tree, or the coffee shop, or the front of the grocery store, or the people waiting in line at the doctor’s office. And the A5 will be my actual “Illustrated Journal,” also known as an “Artist’s Journal.” Some of those sketches might be of my supplies, of a tree in my own backyard, of Mr. Rockstar, of my grandson Mr. Viktor, of my own car, of myself, of pictures I’ve taken, of people (Friends, Family, etc)… I am going to illustrate something each day.
If any of you have seen the pages of my (Omni) journal or my Hobonichi you know that I often sketch bits and pieces of my day on my journal pages, sometimes it’s cartoon like, sometimes it’s fancy stick figures, sometimes it’s an actual sketch and watercolor… but I also add a lot of text, ephemera, photos, etc to the pages of my (Omni) journal/Hobonichi. I am going to continue to do that, because those are fun… I’m not always serious when I draw those bits and pieces of my life. Don’t get me wrong, there are some serious sketches within the pages of my (Omni Journal) and Hobonichi, but there are far more fun drawings…
I’m going to be chronicling my journal in depth on Patreon, but in bits and pieces here and on YT. I hope you enjoy the process, I know I hope to.
Once I get things together, I’ll make a revised Journal Supply post and video.
What is a planner? 1. A person who makes plans, 2. A list or chart with information that is an aid to planner (example, a day planner). What is a journal? A daily record of news and events of a personal nature; a diary. synonyms: diary, daily record, daybook, log, logbook, chronicle; trademarkdaytimer, “he keeps a journal.” For a long while I’ve called my combination journal and planner an Omni-Journal, since Omni means: acombiningformmeaning“all,” or maybe “all in one place” might be a good phrase. Or I could say “one (note)book to rule them all.” Or maybe “my life all in one place,” might be a more apt description of what my journaling and planning all in one notebook is. Maybe even a “creative bullet journal,” or a PlanJo, or maybe a JoPlan. It doesn’t matter what I call it, it’s actually a hybrid of the Bullet Journal, Hobonichi, Planner, Illustrate or Sketch or Doodle Journal, Common Place Journal, and whatever else.
So what’s the big deal? I mean does it really matter if I use one notebook and combine my journaling and planning? I don’t think it should. I mean there aren’t any steadfast rules for planning, journaling, and/or both together. In today’s Coffee Chat video I address the issue. I hope you’ll watch this… I’m thinking about making a series about using an all in one, along with other things–multiple journals, planners… what some people think of as breaking the “planning” rules.
I remember when I first heard about a Traveler’s Notebook. I felt like Dorothy when she landed in Oz… Once I got on the Yellow Brick Road of TN’s I was hooked. Especially after I received my first Jonelifish, which was the not quite infamous Writer’s Bible (an A5 bifold Jonelifish in my custom color–a combination of reds, purples, and a touch of blues). My first TN was a Buteo Bunker. I got Mr. Rockstar and myself TN’s from BB, his in the standard size, and mine in the Wide/Cahier size. BB’s leather is supple, like “buttah.” And it patina’s beautifully, but I’m a color kind of person, and I’d seen Rhomany’s video from Rhomany’s Realm about her Jonelifishes and that was it!!! The colors!!! The leather!!! The uniqueness (not sure that is a word, or what, but it fits so it’s staying) of Jonel’s work appealed to the creative side of me.
I knew that I needed a TN that could house an actual journal/notebook, not just a few inserts. I knew my TN would end up a chunky monkey. I have big handwriting, I like ample room to write, and A5 is my “go to” size for notebooks/journals. But I had to wonder, later on after having both a Wide and then an A5 if maybe there wasn’t a better size… now I can honestly say that nope… the best size for me is the A5. When I got my Writer’s Bible (A5 bifold), I also got a passport sized trifold and immediately set it up as a wallet. I realize that the trifold might be too much bother–opening it up every time you go to use it–for some. I have a Field Note’s size bifold, and an A7 (I think it is called the Micro), that I could use as a wallet, or if I really wanted I could use the personal size I have as a wallet, but I love my passport, and to me having to open it up means that things aren’t as likely to fall out, it’s safer.
The Yellow Brick Road of TN’s has lead me to this:
Yes… those are my TN’s, I also have a few Leather Journal Covers, like the new to me (deep,dark, gorgeous) red leather Hobonichi cover that my friend Maya sent me, or the new to me purple journal cover from Imperfectly Perfekt that looks like a tarot card on the cover–but I’ll get to those in a different post since this post is about TN’s. What I love most about Jonel’s work is that even if you choose the same color, say a Mermaid or the Dark Unicorn, your’s is going to be unique… each one is made by her, it’s handmade. She dyes them, engraves them, paints them, etc all herself. 😀 And each one is unique. A work of art. I have several different one’s in my custom color and not one of them is EXACTLY like the other. 😀 That makes me feel special. The uniqueness of it draws me, the fact that it comes from an artisan–an artist. I have in my head this dream Jonelifish… a likeness of Michael Whelan’s Gunslinger (Roland) standing in the field of red roses with the Dark Tower in the distance on the inside or outside, I’m not sure of which yet, and then on the other side (inside or outside) Snoopy in front of Van Gogh’s Starry Night… either lying on his dog house staring up at the sky or on his typewriter (most likely staring up at the sky)… And I’ve started a conversation with Jonel about creating that… what I call my “unicorn” Jonelifish… My DREAM TN. It would, of course, be an A5, because that’s my size of preference. But that’s because I prefer to use notebooks like the Leuchtturm 1917, or Nanami Paper’s Seven Seas Crossfield, or Taroko Design’s Enigma, all of which are A5 sized notebooks, and I tend to put more than one of those in my Jonelifish. Right now I am using several of the trifolds: one houses my Spiritual Omni Journal (book of mirrors/spirit) and my Spiritual Bullet Journal, another trifold houses my OMni Journal and my Morning Pages notebook (which is a Lechtturm 1917), and then there is my Writer’s Bible which houses my Writer Bullet journal and a Clairfontaine notebook that I use as a writing journal.
Just because I use mostly Cahier, Standard, or A5 sized TN’s doesn’t mean that your perfect size TN is one of those. So here are some suggestions based on my experience, and what I’ve heard from others who are also lovers of TNs.
Look at some of the notebooks you already own and love–what is the most common size? Measure the notebook if you’re not sure of the size. Once you know what size the notebook is you can look at the chart I’ve provided (this is based on Jonelifish, and I’ve noticed that size is relatively similar in the TN community but not exact, so base it on having a bit of extra room for your inserts or notebooks to sit in the TN comfortably, especially if you have OCD about overhang (which is when your inserts/notebooks edge hangs out of the TN). For example, I use standard A5 sized notebooks– the Leuchtturm 1917 and the Crossfield and Enigma measure about 5 3/4″ by 8 1/4,” which is why I get an A5 TN, especially if I’m getting a bifold. 😀 (I don’t like overhang at all!)
If you aren’t sure, you can always make your own sized inserts based off of different sizes and try the DIY insert for a week or so to see if you like that size. Spend some time in that size so you can see which one you like the best.
You can look through videos on YT about TN’s, there are a ton out there about various sizes, brands, etc… I find that as a visual person, photos and videos are really helpful for me. You could also ask around… in FB groups, etc…
My Dark Unicorn is a standard sized trifold, and it actually holds an A5 notebook plus an insert, so I was using it as my Omni Journal cover… and I really liked how snugly it held it, but if you want to have more notebooks/inserts/or a notebook and some inserts, your best bet would be to get the Cahier size or the A5, but if you’re looking for something smaller she has lots of options. I just know way more about the A5 sized notebooks/journals. You can always join any number of TN groups on FB, and/or the Jonelifish FB group.
One last thing… As a Brand Ambassador for Jonelifish, I can honestly say that I absolutely LOVE Jonel’s work. If you order from her shop at https://jonelifish.com/ and you use my code “Burgess10” you’ll get 10% off your order, as long as it’s not a custom order. If you’re not sure just ask…
**** This post contains some affiliate links. In plain English, this means that I might receive a small commission (this doesn’t cost you anything) if you purchase something through some of the links I’ve provided. You will never see me post a link to a product or service that I haven’t used myself and love!****
What is Writer’s Doubt? At it’s core, self doubt (writer’s doubt) is fear. Fear of being a failure. Of not being good enough, or talented enough. And/or fear of success. Writer’s Doubt is that booming voice or the creeping but quiet voice that insists your writing sucks, that sense of dread or defeat, that feeling of suffocating or drowning… The inner voice of Doom and Gloom that makes you want to quit writing, that makes up excuses for why you’re not writing, why you don’t have time to write. Writer’s Doubt/Self Doubt is a mindset. If you fuel the negative thoughts that come from fear, that lead you down the road of self doubt, then it will become a vicious cycle of negativity. You’ll find yourself comparing your writing to other’s writing. You’ll judge your first draft against someone else’s finished, and I mean edited and published draft. You’ll want to write but the self doubt will re-assert its monstrous self and instead of putting your butt in the chair you’ll find something else, something easier to do. Or maybe you’ll be one of the lucky one’s and you’ll fight the fear, you’ll wage against the self doubt and sit down in that ergonomic chair, at your lovely desk, in front of your computer and you’ll put your hands on the keyboard, touching your fingertips lightly across the keys… you’ll start writing even if you’re afraid that your words will be nonsense, or that people will laugh. You’ll fight the good fight and write no matter how loudly that voice of doom and gloom rages. Today, I am sitting in front of the computer, at my lovely red desk, with my fingers gliding across my ergonomic keyboard, sitting in my non-ergonomic chair that really needs to be replaced, with my feet barely touching the floor writing this blog post to correspond with the video I made about this topic. I haven’t worked on my novel today, but I have done a bit of research and made some notes (keeping my head in my novel, or at least trying to). Later today I will work on the actual novel, and hopefully I will get at least 1000 words written. Am I afraid my novel will suck? Yes, a little. I’m not bored with my novel, but I do know that I need to work on my antagonist a lot more, a whole lot more. Do I expect I’ll encounter writer’s doubt (again) while working on this novel? Yep, I am sure I will feel a bit of doubt, fear, insecurity, but will I let it make me quit? Nope. NO way in hell will I quit. It’s just not in my nature. I’ve been known to take a hiatus or two, even a long one, but after having put my writing off to the side for over a decade or more, and putting my art to the side for even longer, maturity has taught me that giving up on the things you love, that you’re passionate about, those creative pursuits that help give your life meaning, I won’t quit working on my novel even if it takes 10 years to finish it.
Here’s the video… this has a great deal more information in it. 😀
This Camp NaNoWriMo, and we’re just past the two week mark, I’ve been guilty of procrastination. Hello, my name is Burgess Taylor, and I am a procrastinator. The ironic thing is that I’ve been procrastinating with things that I also love to do, as well as things that I don’t really even care to do–things like washing dishes, laundry, cleaning the bathroom. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve also been procrastinating with things like Netflix, Hulu, reading, making videos, and social media (FB, YT, etc). I do and don’t consider spending time with family procrastinating, unless of course I initiate a Netflix marathon for me and Mr. Rockstar, which I have done, and I’ve let him convince me to do–and it was so hard to convince me to put off my writing to watch Wayward Pines on Hulu, or to watch most of the show Prison Break on Netflix. 😀 And yet, I was productive… most of the time when I watch TV I journal, and sometimes I write by hand. But this time, and maybe it’s because I still don’t have my laptop, I have not been writing nearly as much each day, or every day, the way I have during previous Camp’s.
What is procrastination? The action of delaying or postponing something. Why do we procrastinate? Many experts will tell you that we procrastinate to avoid or put off doing something we don’t want to do, but when I was working through Julia Cameron’s self-guided course “The Artist Way” I learned that most of us procrastinate because of fear. Fear of failure or fear of success. There are also chronic procrastinators. Some procrastinate because of the thrill of doing things at the last minute, it’s an adrenaline rush I suppose. And some procrastinate because they are poor decision makers. Whichever type of procrastinator you are, if you’re a creative person, I’m betting that it’s the FEAR that is keeping you from creating–from writing, drawing, etc. For me, it’s the FEAR. Continue reading