Well what can I say. It's been a slow year. But I did participate in IFJM even if it kept it to myself in real time. I had to. Last year was such a good experience and I learned so much about what I want from my journal and why I find it attractive. This year's journal was totally different but again, it was an eye-opening experience. Maybe I'll write about that later, but for now let me just say...
I used a Swathmore watercolor softbound journal 5 1/2 by 8 landscape. Why? Because I had it. I decided early on to use washi tape. Why? Because I've bought a ton to it and use it mostly with my travel journals (for which it's very useful) but I don't travel that much so it mostly sits around staring at me. I used Towbow markers. Somewhat. Again, because they were on hand. And I sketched with pencil, micron pen and some watercolors.
I love that I used the things I had and just went where I was inclined.
About my character I have nothing to say. Like last year, I tried not to give it too much thought. And like last year, the less I thought about it, the more fun I had and the more I was able to relax into it.
I wanted to point out two extra flaps I put into the journal. The first had the small palette that I mostly used when I was away from home. By attaching it with duct tape loosely to the front, I could flip it to the page I was on and reference it while I was working. I've been switching my palettes around a lot recently (and I am already a palette switcher by impulse), so I used this a lot and it was extremely handy.
The second flap was in the back,and I only used one side, although I was glad I had it.
I've gotten several water soluble pencils recently, and I could compare them, and the solubility of the fountain pens I used. I like knowing I had a place I could put reference material without it falling out of the book. And yes yes yes I could have used a page, but I didn't want to so there.
So that's the last of pages. Tomorrow I finish my round up of my feelings about this journal and how it's impacted me already.
1) I enjoyed the freedom I felt, being my character, to draw ANYTHING at anytime. I felt released from my own ideas of what is pretty or composed or relevant. I didn't know I had those feelings, but sketching in this book made me realize I did. This wasn't 'my' journal, and that shift in perspective all of a sudden made me realize how precious I treat my pages. Even my junk journals. I was amazed.
2) I loved the juxtaposition of images and the variety on a page.
3)I was able to just step into the moment and sketch because I needed to get something (anything) on the page for that day and it made me more active in seeing what was around me. I didn't feel burdened. I felt liberated.
4)What I wrote is drivel, but again, I wasn't writing for posterity, I was writing because my person needed to write, to relax, to let go. The process was the goal. That worked SO well. 'Worked' in the sense that I met my goal (to be more loose and relaxed, less in my head) and because it actually did make mrs feel more relaxed and present.
5) There were sketches that I started that I 'knew' were junky and I ended up loving them. I didn't let judgement stop me. Again, I didn't realize it was, but apparently that's all inside my little noggin.
OK, I have one last post of pages, and then I'm done. With this journal. And then on to the next.
Was not able to keep my posting up BUT DID manage to actually do some kind of entry every day. Very proud of myself!
I want to do a post with an overview of my thinking about this year's challenge, but I'll say now that I had a fantastic experience. I was amazed at how the journal developed and how it seemed so natural. I LOVED feeling like I was keeping an actual visual journal with the details of my life without a boring list of "I did… blah blah".
This was definitely a challenge on some days, but I kept thinking about not being too precious about what I chose to sketch and just looking around with open eyes. Being out of town for a bit in the middle also helped shake me up, and forced me to simply.Even writing the text (which is boring and unimaginative) was helpful because it also cleared out my own rambling thoughts. I simply cannot overstate how helpful this exercise was. SInce the end of the month I decided to continue with a similar format in a 'real' journal. That has been it's own challenge. But not for here and not for now. More soon.
I have been struggling since we came back from vacation to catch up on regular life, and had no energy left over for posting. Right now the priority is actually journaling everyday if possible, and inter webbing when I can. As far as I can tell I picked something on on the initial voyage out of town, and it has been over two weeks now and it keeps hanging on. Oh well.
In past years, my emphasis has been more on the materials and exploring a different technique. This year I decided to focus on just really letting down my guard and writing, especially if it was just random thoughts in my head, and sketching bits and pieces as might fly by. Just relaxing into a less judgmental way of journaling.
In many ways, I don't like the term "inner critic" because it doesn't feel like I'm being critical of myself, I'm pretty much ok with my state of ability. But what I have seen as I continue to journal, is that I have there is a lot of background noise in my head about "waste", "interesting","worth" and as much as that, some odd rules that are floating in my head and keep knocking into that are just made up restrictions and have nothing to do with what I want to actually do. Sometimes I don't realize I'm cramping my own style till I see someone else's work that really speaks to me and shakes up my thinking.
In this journal, my character sketches on the edges of her pages a great deal, and just doing that revealed a great deal to me about her, her thinking and her emotional state. I love the little detail of that and how it crystalized some thinking in my own head.
Anyway, I have to scan my next pages. Here's to improved energy.