Journal Ephemera

This morning, I woke early-ish and thought I’d spend a little time on my journal.

On page 2 I’ve added one of my silhouette irises backed onto some pearlescent card that i coloured with Chameleon Color Top marker pens. I’ll be adding a quote beside the flower, when I find the perfect quote to go there!

Above the flower you can see a little tag with a semi-circular bottom that has a little pocket in it. The tag will flip up so I can hide some journaling or quote or something pretty and surprising behind it.

On both pages you can see paperclips that have inchies embellishing them. This is a fab way for me to use my inchies in a practical way.

Finally, you can see three mini paintings – two floral, one abstract – that I can use in future pages.

Unusually for me I started by painting the basic shapes of flowers and leaves. Then, I added stems and details using various colours of fineliner pens as well as a white Sakura Gelly Roll pen. I added some sparkly dot details with Sakura Stardust and Uniball Signo glitter gel pens.

For the abstract pattern, I painted arcs on the watercolour paper and when they were dried I added curved lines using a white Sakura Gelly Roll pen and a gold glitter Uniball Signo pen.

I’m not at all sure how I’ll use these, other than the colours of the three cards go really well together so they’ll help me with the colour scheme for another pair of pages further on in the journal, as well as making other ephemera and so on for it.

I do like relatively straight edges, neatly regimented bits and bobs in my journal. I’m not one for lace and frills and frothy additions. It’s not completely clean and simple; I do like old book paper that’s been torn. It’s like I need to control shapes and positions and arrange things ‘just so’, neat and tidy like. That may very well be my way with journal creation, which is in juxtaposition with those I see on youtube.

Being confident with something new, like making my own journal, is something that takes time, perseverance and patience – the patience mostly being with myself until I gain enough confidence.

It’s also the confidence that doing something different to others is perfectly fine.

Yesterday

I was missing in action yesterday. I was unsettled, dissatisfied with anything I tried to do, and needing a lot of sleep it seems. I kept away from the ‘puter and social media. So, no art was done (other than a couple of templates for Entangled Gardens) and no blog post was written (nor any other social media).

One lesson I have learned from my time in counselling/therapy was the importance of knowing when to exercise self-care. I try my best to do this, though sometimes it’s difficult as I know there are expectations and pressures I place on myself.

However, I have learned that if I try to push myself to do things when I’m just not in the right place to do them, I just get more and more frustrated and fed up. If I give myself the time and space to do what I need to do to take care of my emotional and mental health, when I settle down to work, the work flows more easily and I’m more satisfied with what I create.

Although I did draw two templates yesterday, I started three or four others and just threw them as I really wasn’t at all happy with them, and they really were nonredeemable.

Once those two were complete, I felt better about my deadline for the book, a bit more settled in myself. However, any other artistic things I tried I was just frustrated with. So, a complete break away was needed. So, it was crochet while binge watching American Gods on Amazon Prime Video.

I don’t know if I’m feeling any better today as far as art goes, I do know I need breakfast before I consider doing any!

Journal Making – 16 May 2020

The Cover

On waking this morning, I wanted to work on the cover of my journal.

Yesterday evening, I managed to get a coat of gesso on to the cover and painted edge closest to the wire binding with gold. In hindsight, that may not have been the best idea.

I knew I wanted to use my silhouette iris drawing on the cover. Irises are my favourite flowers. Also, my aim for my journal is to use my own art as much as possible.

So, I printed out an arrangement of three irises, tore them out and coloured the paper with Distress Inks.

For the background, I used a piece of Claire Fontaine mixed media paper. I coloured it with Distress Inks – Old Paper, Tea Dye, a touch of Iced Spruce and a dusting of Vintage Photo around the edges and here and there on the main sheet.

This I adhered to the cover. I’d cut it narrower than the cover so that I didn’t have to butt it up against the wire binding. That’s why I wanted a gold border there.

Anyway, I decided to put some old book paper behind the irises. I added some ink to the edges of this paper too. I then glued them in place, along with the flowers.

I drew a border around this page with a copper-coloured Sakura Metallic gelly roll pen. Then, I used a gold glitter Uniball Signo pen to fill the background with tiny spirals.

I wanted to add the definition of ‘journal’ to the front cover. So, I did the typography in Affinity Publisher and printed it. After tearing the meaning out, I used Old Paper and Tea Dye Distress Inks to colour the paper, followed by Vintage Photo to ink the edge.

I then glued this to an old book page, tore that out and edged the paper with ink once again.

Before adhering the page to the cover, edged the paper with Ground Espresso Distress Ink as I didn’t think the edge was dark enough. I also coloured the edge of the journal cover with the same ink to hide the white.

An application of Distress Micro-glaze to seal the page and I could stick it to the cover.

I love the subtle sparkle of the spiral pattern on the cover. The micro-glaze picked up some of the fine glitter. It also makes the cover sheet feel very smooth.

I’m not happy with the gold edge to the journal, but I will, no doubt, find a way to make it look much better. Otherwise, I’m quite happy with the cover. I think it needs something else there, but I’ll work out what that is in the fullness of time.

The first three pages.

Page 1 I’ve shown before, and it’s now complete (apart from me adding journaling to the envelopes and other spaces.)

On page 2, I’ve added an experiment I did with Tombow Dual Brush Pens and a blender pen to draw designs on paper. I have some ATC cards coloured in the same blues/purples as the background of this page, so I’ll be finding a way to display them on the page when I’ve finished them.

Page 3 is a tiered series of simple pockets. I made them by tearing the paper of each page and layering them to create the pockets. The inserts are pieces of Claire Fontaine Mixed media paper that have been coloured in the same colours of Distress Inks as the pockets have been. I used Distress Oxide Inks for the pockets.

I’m not really sure what I’m going to do with the third page, yet. It will come to me, I’m sure!

Adobe Spark

I thought that I’d use Adobe Spark to make a short video rather than posting a montage of photos. I uploaded it to my channel on youtube so I could share it via social media more easily.

Adobe Spark is straightforward to use, and it does have a free option, though I pay about £10 per month for it. It makes creating simple content for social media really easy.

How am I feeling

I’m feeling much better today. The headache and light-headed/dizzy/drowsy feelings were with me for the whole day, including upset tummy and digestive system. I had weird pains in my right eye too. I slept a lot during the day, and just took it easy when I was awake. I wanted to crochet in the evening but found it hard to do even something familiar to me.

My digestive system is still uncomfortable and not quite right today, and I’m now beginning to feel rather tired. Like I’ve already done too much today. So, I’m going to be taking it easy for the rest of the day.

Art Journal – Page 01

©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Yesterday I got lost in finishing the first page in my new A5 journal. I’ve put together three photos that show how the page looks as the tags are folded in and as each is opened out.

Every image, pattern, coloured paper, inchie, panel, envelope and tag have been made by myself. Drawing and colouring my own bits of ephemera and the pattern on the page background tool quite a bit of time, but it’s my own work.

I could’ve chosen to use paper from old books, commercially produced designer series paper or digital downloads. Those would’ve saved a lot of time, for sure. The end result would have been my own way of using them. However, I got a lot of pleasure, contentment, peace and calm from creating my own.

I made a note along the edge of the page showing which Distress Oxide inks I’d used to colour the page so that I could use the same for the other elements. Well, mostly the same Distress Ink colours; I did vary them in other places. However, this resulted in a coherent feel to this page – it feels like everything there belongs there!

I also noted on the background what pens I’d used to add the zentangle-style pattern. I then used Distress Inks and a brush and water to bring out that pattern.

Yes, I realise I could’ve used stamps, embossing ink and embossing powder to do something similar. I didn’t want to. I wanted my own, personal touch to this.

I really like how little pretties are hidden behind the tags and only get fully revealed as they are opened. The same is true for the items tucked in the pockets on the backs of the tags. I will replace the pieces of paper with journaling paper or other things as time goes on.

I may very well add danglies to the tops of the tags, possibly little tabs on their sides to help open them.

I’m quietly pleased with this page. It is very much “Angela” in style and feel. I’m feeling a bit more confident about this now, and I’m sure that I will really develop my own style as I go forward.

I really got a a sense of satisfaction and pleasure from creating every little element for this page. When I had it finished (mostly) I knew I’d worked out just how I want to create art journals going forward.

What I do need to remind myself, however, is that I can add to them when I want to – they’re not a full time project. What I could do is combine journaling with them, especially if I include elements that are specifically for journaling.

I do have some other bits and bobs to try making for the journal – little booklets, decorated paper-clips, tabbed cards to fit in pockets (or tabbed booklets, maybe). I certainly want to add quotes, notes, memories and more. And I think I need to work on my hand lettering to do such things as well.

I do plan to build up a library of digital designs I can use for inchies, twinchies, tea-cards, ATCs, panels, quotes, and more. Also, blank ‘templates’ for them, maybe.

Perhaps I should scan the backgrounds in before I add to them so I can use them in my digital art too. I shall think about that going forward. For this page, I really wasn’t sure if my idea of adding the pattern would work. I was pleased it did, I really am. I’m sure to do similar things with the following pages, and now I know what I do like, I can always replicate the background on this particular page, and the notes of which Distress Oxide Inks I used will help me in doing this for sure.

For the rest of today, however, I will be mostly doing other art rather than working on my art journal. I do have some coloring book projects that need some serious attention for starters.

Art Journal Bits and Bobs

Art Journal Bits and Bobs © Angela Porter |Artwyrd.com

I’ve become a bit obsessed with making art journal bits and bobs over the last couple of days. This morning has been no exception, other than the more I do and watch, the more ideas that come to me.

Inchies

Yesterday, I created some blank, printable, templates for inchies, twinches and tea cards. I printed them out on plain paper so I could draw in them. I also made a list of themes I could tackle for them too.

I spent an hour or two filling in a sheet of inches with various designs. Then, I printed them on plain paper and also vellum for calligraphy. The vellum has a rough texture, interesting colours and subtle patterns in them. I have a laser printer, so wasn’t sure if it would print on the vellum; it did, however the print does come off if I’m a bit rough with it.

Nevertheless, I coloured some of the inches with Distress Inks and then adhered them to some 1″ tiles of thick chipboard card. I edged them with tresure gold wax from Imagination Crafts. Then, I gently applied a thin layer of Ranger’s gloss multi-media medium, to see if it would seal the laser printing; it did! It also brought out the colours of the Distress Inks.

Seed packets/envelopes

These are simple enough to make. There are plenty of tutorials online for them. I made them from ordinary printer paper, then coloured them with Distress Inks.

Next, I added some dot embellishments using a small ball tool with Imagination Crafts’ Starlights metallic paint in rich gold. This is a beautiful, glittery, shiny paint that leaves some dimension when applied this way.

Finally, I adhered the inchies I’d made, along with some vintage book paper, to the envelopes.

I’m not sure if these envelopes are finished. I do want to use them to store either journaling notes in, or little pieces of art or mementos in them.

Tags

I haven’t been at all sure about tags and using them. However, I thought I’d see what I could do with them after yesterday’s mucking about with a tri-fold tag that turned into one single tag.

I wanted to make some templates for cutting the corners at the top of the tags, so I did that, using various widths of paper and slopes to remove the top corners.

I then realised I needed something to store them in, so I made an envelope for them.

The envelope has a more rectangular top flap and a plain front, perfect for embellishments.

Backgrounds

Something occurred to me this morning while watching someone make tags using background paper. I thought that I could use my colouring sheets and entangled designs as my own background paper. So, I thought I’d try to use some.

I found some old designs on my computer and printed a couple of them both as the black line originals and with a grey line.

I made a tag and cut out a piece of one of the designs. I coloured the design with Distress Inks and used them to subtly colour the tag.

I didn’t like the way the neatly cut out background pattern looked when I placed it on the tag. So, I tore the edges. I still wasn’t happy, so I tried tearing it into strips. That looked better, but I still wasn’t happy with it, but I stuck the pieces down.

I used a gold glitter gel pen to add lines and patterns between the torn pieces, which created some pattern and interest.

Finally, I added a distress ink coloured belly band along with a word, “creativity” to the tag. For now, I tucked one of the seed packets behind the belly band.

The background drawing may be just too busy, detailed, and varied to work well. I need to bear this in mind going forward.

Notebook

I am keeping notes of how I make tags, pockets, and other bits and bobs in an A5 dot grid notebook, along with ideas for other things to do or try. It’s turning out to be rather useful as a reference.

Acceptance

I’m struggling with accepting that what I’m creating for my art journal is “good enough”, “attractive enough”, “pretty”. It’s not like others I’ve seen, which is part of my problem.

I seem to like, mostly, neat edges, borders on work, very organised, neat, and carefully, geometrically arranged elements in my designs. I know I want to use my own artwork to create a journal, but I’m not sure it’s going to be successful in any kind of way. I have no idea if I’m on a wild goose chase.

I know I enjoy making these bits and bobs, I just don’t know if the overall end products actually work, so I’m doubting myself. I’m not sure I like what I’m creating. I mean, I really like individual elements such as the inchies and little panels on the envelopes. It’s when I start to actually combine them or put them into a journal that it all seems to go more than a bit skew-iffy.

I’m at that uncomfortable place I often find myself in when I’m creating a mandala or drawing or digital painting; partway through I want to give up as I think that what I’m creating is awful and not working. With the mandalas, drawings and digital art, I’ve learned to work through that point and, mostly, to complete the work. I’ve learned by experience and perseverance that I can produce art I’m happy with.

I’m not at all sure of that with this art journal type stuff. I’m not sure at all if I can find my own creative ‘voice’ with this, or whether I have to accept that as much as I’d like it to be one of my ‘things’ it’s not meant to be and that I can continue to watch and admire others for what they create.

Maybe, I’ll end up making digital elements for journals for others to use in their creations. Maybe, I’ll find that collections of inchies are my thing (along with twinchies and tea cards and other little designs).

For now, I’ll take a bit of a break from it all, and come back to it with fresh eyes and a fresh mind.

Sketchbook / Art Journal

©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I woke at around 4:30am again today and couldn’t get back to sleep. So, I got up, made tea, and did some work on my art journal / sketchbook.

Making Distressed Paper

I spent a good two or three hours making the papers you can see to the left. I used the following:

  • printer and layout paper, cut to A6 in size (UK size)
  • Distress Oxide Inks
  • 5″ x 7 ” Gelli plate
  • small Brayer roller
  • water in a spray bottle
  • heat tool
  • craft mat
  • pieces of cut and dry foam
  • metallic inks and paints

For some of the pieces, I brayered the Distress Oxides onto a Gelli plate and then pulled the print onto a piece of paper. For others, I used the Brayer to apply the ink to the paper. I also used the black side of a piece of cut and dry foam to apply ink to some of the papers.

I sprayed the papers with water to activiate the Distress Oxide, and used the heat tool to dry them. After doing this, I crumpled up a lot of the papers and then used the brayer to flatten them out. Both of these techniques resulted in textured paper. So, I used the cut and dry foam and some Distress Oxide ink to lightly brush the paper to help to accentuate that texture.

Finally I used cut and dry foam to brush metallic paint or ink over the paper to add some shimmer and shine. I used some textured cut and dry foam to add patterns too.

I now have quite a stash of very distressed papers to use in my art journal in the future.

Both the printer paper and the layout paper are much thinner than I would usually use for such a task. The light spritz of water on each, however, created a lovely, bumpy texture. They were also easy to crumple up, adding that kind of leathery texture.

The subtle shine that the gold metallic ink gave is rather lovely, though I do like the bright, shiny gold of some paint I found in my stash.

I can see me using these papers for collage, for making pockets/envelopes and other bits and bobs for a journal, and no doubt for other things I’ve not yet thought of.

Storing my custom papers.

I realised the papers I’ve made over the past couple of weeks have been piling up and I really needed to do something that would let me find them easily. So, the quickest and easiest solution was to use A4 poly-pockets and a ring binder, both of which I had to hand! That certainly has let me have a tidier desk, and I’ll be able to find the papers easily too.

Art journal pages.

I also finished up the two pages shown to the right. I attached inchies, to fill in some gaps.

I used simple paper hinges to attach the ATC cards on page seen in the bottom image. If I ever wish to remove them to swap/share/gift, then I can remove them easily. That simple solution has relieved my anxiety about adhering them permanently into the sketchbook!

I’ve also folded some squared paper, used distress inks to colour the edges and folds, and put them in the vellum pockets I’d made earlier, all ready for me to journal on. Unusually for me, I made use of some washi tape to embellish the pockets.

I’ve also noticed that I’m very ‘regimented’ about how I put things in my art journal. I much prefer carefully cut paper to torn edges most of the time. Everything needs to be arranged ‘just so’ with me. Just as it is with my line-art – precise and neat. I suppose it’s another example of me expressing my personality through my art.

So, Angela, how are you today?

I’m exhausted. I’m practically falling asleep as I type this; that’s what happens when I wake up at stupid o’clock once again. I’m now officially overtired! I may try to get back to sleep soon; I do have work I need to do today!

As far as me being under the weather goes…

Well, I still have a sensitive digestive system and I feel nauseous from time to time. I did wake with a bit of a headache today, but that could just be lack of sleep, as is the tiredness I feel. I have eaten and my tummy doesn’t seem to be objecting as it has done. This all makes me hopeful that I’m almost over this bout illness. I was really quite grumpy about it yesterday, and I’m entirely sure I’m not grumpy today!

Other than that, emotionally I’m doing just fine. The sunshine helps with my mood for sure, as did being able to hear the bird song as the world was slowly waking up this morning.

Making a simple sketchbook or journal pocket.

Making a Simple Pocket © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Yesterday, I said I’d like to make simple pockets for my sketchbook-journal to hold my artwork rather than gluing it to the pages. So, this morning, I started my day looking on YouTube for some ideas and this video by joie de fi was the top of the list.

While I was watching it, I thought I’d make an instruction sheet to go in my sketchbook (or my virtual one I’m making in One Note).

I picked up some quadrille paper and wrote and drew as I watched the method for the first pocket. I worked in ink without pencil sketches and I made quite a few mistakes. A Tipp-Ex mini pocket mouse was my friend.

When I’d finished the instruction sheet, I scanned it in and used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to remove the square grid from the paper, clean up some smudges, and correct minor errors.

Then, I added some colour to help bring out the drawings, but also to help with the instructions.

I’ve yet to make this kind of pocket, but I’m sure I’ll be able to do so quite easily now.

Reflecting on the artwork/illustration

This was a lot of fun for me to do. It’s something I’ve not done much since my days as a science teacher, or a learner in school and university myself. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy creating instruction sheets with my own drawings on them.

Back in those days, I would’ve used a ruler to draw straight lines, pencil for the diagrams, pen for the words, and little or no colour. Here, I free-handed the drawings, wobbly lines and all. The colour also adds life and dimension to the diagrams/drawings/illustrations.

The layout of the instructions may not be the best and easiest to follow through. That’s because I did this as I was watching the first part of the video. I think that for the next one, I need to sketch out the steps and notes first, and then work on organising them more clearly.

Yes, I’m going to do some more instruction sheets like this!

I also really need to do more hand lettering! I’ve lapsed in my writing practice, that’s for sure.

Sketchbook – Journal Pages

Sketchbook – Journal Pages 17 April 2020 © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I’ve been creating a lot of little bits of art that I just don’t know what to do with. They’re often little experiments. Sometimes I mount them as greeting cards, other times they end up in a drawer.

This morning, I woke with an idea to start a sketchbook-come-journal as a place to keep safely and annotate some of these artworks. The annotation is important; it’s lots of notes to myself about the techniques and materials I used to create a specific type of effect, thoughts, ideas for the future, inspirations.

I dug out an A4 Goldline sketchbook to use for this. The white pages just looked uninteresting and stark to me. So, I added some colour using a piece of Cut and Dry foam and Distress Inks followed by a quick spritz of water. A blast from a heat gun, and the pages were ready.

I did prepare a couple more spreads with colour. I realised that if I did this after I’d attached my art to the pages I’d get all kinds of lines and marks that I wouldn’t want. So, I need to make sure I add coloured pages each time I add work to the journal.

I adhered the artwork to the pages using Tombow Mono liquid glue, outlines them with either a metallic or plain black pen, and then set to annotations and notes.

It also gives me a chance to practice my hand-lettering and to use design elements used in bullet journals or planners. I have to say that my handwriting appeared far more than hand-lettering. I used the hand-lettering for headings though.

I also let some of the design elements from the artworks to spill onto the page. I have a problem with leaving white space! This gave me a chance to remember media I have in my stash, such as the Chameleon fineliner pens, which I haven’t used much.

Some dangle designs appeared in one of the drawings, so I redrew them above it. And, of course, metallic gold gel pens add a touch of sparkle.

One thing I ‘discovered’ (maybe rediscovered) is how fab Copic Markers work to add colour and shadow to the Distress backgrounds. White gel pen adds bright highlights.

One thing I wanted to do was add notes about my digital art. I’d like to add prints of my art, but I only have a black and white laser printer. So, I’m going to see if I can have sheets of images printed via the web and posted to me so I can then use them in my journal too.

Part of me knows I could do this via One Note or similar, but there’s something lovely about having a physical record of the art completed and with notes to reflect on or get inspiration from in the future.

I am sure this is something I did in the past, but it’s time to do this again. It’ll be fun to add journal elements to the pages, like envelopes or pouches for notes.

I’ll have to be less of a perfectionist, something I still struggle with. I’m hoping it will help me me to recognise the value of work I’ve done that I may not be happy with, but can learn from and make notes about this, and ideas that arise, for future reference.