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. 😀
On Friday I posted a “What’s in my bags?” video because for the month of April I’m getting #backtobasics. To be honest, when I was first thinking about all of this back in March all I knew for sure was that I wasn’t really using my journals or planner(s). And if I’m not journalling then there is something seriously wrong. One of the things that has really worked for me in the past is #onebookjuly. I remember the first time I heard Rhomany of Rhomany’s Realm talk about #onebookjuly–getting back to the basics of planning. If the system you’re using for planning isn’t working it doesn’t matter what notebook you use… And since then I’ve been working on my actual planning system.
I’d tell you about how I’m going to work on getting back to the basics in April, #backtobasicsapril. A few years ago, I participated, along with a lot of other journalers and planners, in #onebookjuly with Rhomany’s Realm, Carie Harling, and MissVickybee. Since then I’ve participated every year since. This year I can’t wait for July, and there are so many other things in my life that I need to get back to the basics with I knew I needed to do something. Here is the link to the playlist for #onebookjuly.
I mentioned my dilemma in a previous coffee chat, as well as a different video on my YT channel. Many others said they were feeling the same way. Many asked if we could do #onebookjuly early. I don’t see why we couldn’t, but I need to do more than get back to the basics with my journaling and planning, I need to purge, clean, and organize my supplies, my house, my life…especially with Camp NaNoWriMo starting April 1st.
In the spirit of Rhomany, Carie, and Vicky’s #onebookjuly theme, which is getting back to the basics of planning, we thought we’d call our mission for April #backtobasicsapril. Some of us will be getting back to the basics with their budgets, or with their meal planning, their craft/journal/planner supplies, their homes, their planners, journals, or some of those or maybe all of those, as well as a few other things most likely. I am going to start the purging, cleaning, and organizing of my desk this week because I will (hopefully) be getting my new computer built this coming weekend, but everything else starts on April 1st. 😀 Continue reading
As a lover of all things stationery, and a journal/book/DIY/art/book/writer nerd, I am, I admit, often tempted to start a new journal. Sometimes the temptation arises because I see a shiny new journal on a shelf in a store, or a new journal via someone’s YT video, FB post, IG picture, etc., or simply because I have gotten bored, anxious, or tired of the current journal I am using–or perhaps because I’m frustrated with what I’ve been doing. Maybe it started out great but somewhere along the way what I wanted the pages, and eventually the journal, to look like is not what it looks like.
I’m not alone in this. About once every few months someone asks me if I am ever tempted to start a new journal before I’ve finished my current, or how to do stick with a journal until I’ve used up the whole journal, or am I ever tempted to start a new journal–shiny new journal syndrome (much like the shiny new idea syndrome in regard to writing, which I know way too much about for my own good). Every time I start a new journal before finishing the current journal I regret it for all of about 5 minutes–the shiny new pages are just so pretty, the crisp clean feel of the new journal is overwhelming in its beauty, the newness… and yet–
I can’t help but wonder if all of this angst over my journals and planning system are about the journals/planning or if it’s really about the depression and anxiety that have increased from being sick for over a month. Being sick has definitely taken a toll on me. Now that I’m finally feeling better and more like myself I realize that it’s probably a combination of all of the above. I’m working on things so that I feel more better.
If you would like to see what I’ve been up to you can watch my coffee chat video from Monday where I talk about how I’m not feeling the journal/planner peace. Continue reading
This month marked the actual 2 year journalversary… two years that I’ve been journaling on a steady basis using art and words. I know it might not seem like a big deal to some, but to me it’s been a big deal. Not only has adding art to my journaling increased my creativity, lessened my anxiety and help manage my depression, but it’s also helped me with self-doubt and self-esteem.
I talk about much of this in this video about Fear, Self-Doubt, and Creativity:
Another thing I’ve realized is how far I’ve come with my art. By the way, I am not a professional artist. Nor am I professional writer (yet). But I am an artist. A writer. And I’ve learned that combining art and words in my journal, in my outlining for my novels (using Tarot is visual (artistic) and the Hero’s Journey is structure), has helped me figure out an outlining method that works for me.
When I first started adding more visual elements like drawings, watercolor, pictures, and more to my journal pages I figured out quickly that the paper in my journal made a difference. I joined the Fauxbonichi journal group after watching videos by MissVickyB and Anna Brimbles. They showed a journal called the Miquel Ruis. I got one. Loved the cute red journal and the smooth pages until I tried to watercolor on the paper. Before long, many in the group complained that once their journal was halfway finished the binding started breaking and the journal started falling apart. I know, from personal experience, that when you add elements like stickers, watercolor, die-cuts, real life ephemera or purchased ephemera the journal does become chunky quite quickly.
I prefer an A5 sized journal. The average size of an A5 is 8×5 inches. I didn’t use the Miquel Ruis for very long. I purchased an actual Hobonichi, and a Seven Seas Standard, both of which are made with 52 gsm Tomoe River paper. The Hobonichi has almost-white Tomoe River paper and a sort of pale gray grid, and the Seven Seas Standard has plain Tomoe River paper. I love Tomoe River paper. Absolutely love it. It crinkles slight, has the slight ripple to it, when you add watercolor. And the feel of the paper is delicious. I loved working with the paper from both journals, but soon I realized that because I write a lot, and my handwriting is rather large, that being limited to one page per day in the Hobonichi wasn’t good for me. I could use as many pages as I wanted for each day in the Seven Seas Standard, but I was limited with the Hobonichi.
I heard about the Seven Seas Crossfield, which is 480 pages of 52gsm Tomoe River paper with 5mm “dot” grid–the little dots aren’t dots they’re these really small little pale blue crosses that make up the “dot grid.” I loved it. Really loved it. I started using the Crossfield right around the same time I heard about the bullet journal. I started trying to add elements of the bullet journal to my “fauxbonichi” style journal. I was almost finished with my Crossfield when I looked on Nanamipaper’s website to order another and found that they weren’t available. All sold out. A month or so later a friend informed me that the Crossfield would be available in a few days, I ordered two. Many people who love the Seven Seas journals commented that when the journals become available they sell quickly–usually within 24 hours they’re sold again, especially the Crossfield. I was so glad I ordered two.
One book July was coming around and I was trying really hard to find my way in regard to my journal. I wanted a journal that could house bits of everything. Elements like planning, art, photos, everyday ephemera, facts, quotes, research, collections, and more. An Omni Journal. I used my Crossfield and loved it. I wanted a journal I could house in my Jonelifish A5 trifold with an insert or two behind it for other more specific things. I wanted to be able to chronicle anything and everything from watercolor, common place style journal pages, to-do lists, collections, photos, and diary style journaling instead of keeping things separate. I was still journaling “fauxbonichi style” but I also started adding in other things, thus the term Omni Journal.
Because I add so much to my Omni Journal they fill up quickly. I noticed the Crossfield, which has 480 pages, lasts me about 6 months. I briefly tried using a Bullet Journal separately from my Omni Journal. I tried doing that in the Leuchtturm 1917 and in the Crossfield, but keeping it separate didn’t work for me. I went to Nanamipaper to buy another Crossfield but they were sold out. So I went searching for A5 journals with Tomoe River paper and came across the Taroko Design shop and their Enigma and Mystique. At the time the Taroko shop was sold out of the Enigma, and without too much research, but based on a few reviews I read, I ordered the Mystique.
The Mystique is an A5 sewn binding made of 80gsm Taroko Orchid grid paper. It’s gorgeous, thick, and smooth but not glossy or slick. It takes fountain pen fabulously, and though there is some ghosting there is rarely bleed through. It’s absolutely wonderful paper, but I soon realized that the Mystique was not Tomoe River paper. I became concerned that I was messing up the journal by adding watercolor to it. So I stopped using it as my Omni Journal and got out the second Crossfield and started using at as my Omni Journal. Well…. My journal is almost full and it’s almost the end of the year so I went back to Nanamipaper to order a Crossfield and wouldn’t you know, not in stock. So I went back to the Taroko Design shop on Etsy to see if they had the Enigma in, which actually has 68gsm Tomoe River paper. Yep. In stock. So I ordered one. It came in 8-9 days, which is great considering it was being shipped from overseas to South Carolina, USA. It was packaged well, and I was in awe when I opened it. WOW! The paper in the Enigma is so freaking awesome. It’s thicker than the Tomoe River paper in the Hobonichi, the Crossfield, or the Standard. It’s not as thick as the Mystique, but the Mystique is 80gsm Orchid paper that’s to be expected. The Hobonichi, Crossfield, Standard, Enigma, and Mystique are all great for fountain pen use. And I’ve had no issues using watercolor with any of those, BUT the Tomoe River paper does take the watercolor better.
I’ve started setting up my Enigma for next year, as that’s the journal I’ll be using for my Omni Journal, and the Mystique that is only half used will become my Morning pages journal. I’m good with that, since there is no way I’ll let half of that wonderful 80gsm Orchid paper go to waste. 😀
If you’re interested, the Seven Seas journals can be found at http://nanamipaper.com, and the Taroko Design Shop can be found on Etsy–he also has a FB page, as well as a few listings of his items on Amazon. 😀
I’m going to insert the video I made showing the journals here at the end so you can see what the journals look like. Hope this review helps.