Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Visual Journaling Ideas

I adore seeing what other people create and all the different styles and so on that people come up with.  And since this blog is called "The idea book" I thought I'd share my most recent visual journal and hopefully impart some ideas.  :)
 This is the 4th Visual Journal that I've done so far in about a year and a half.  (It's normal to have two going at the same time!)  My first one was just a mess of trying things and playing with the media and folding pages and just basically making a happy mess.  This one feels legit, but the other ones were just as legitimate!  If you can't draw, it doesn't matter.  You can get out your crayons and your water colors and you can make shapes and splash on colors and journal with messy, poorly spelled, bad penmenship! 
(This page will undoubtedly get more coloring and doodling and journaling.  The square shapes are those small ink pads that you can get and rather then using them for stamps I used the ink pads AS stamps themselves!  Such a great way to add texture and color and interest. 
 I've felt for a long time just how much I love to draw and color and create and have this hidden terrifying dream of actually writing and illustrating children's stories, but I'm learning that my personality type really REALLY needs to be allowed to make a mess and create and get comfortable with something before I'm expected to produce something worth while.  (Even learning how to make yogurt took me months to build up the courage to DO it!)
My best friends would tell you that I don't jump into the lake. I wade in and stand for many many minutes as I get used to the freezing water a little bit at a time.  I'm terrified to start something new often and have to gear myself up to do it!  But -- I'll get there.  And for me, it's all about "Being" - and taking tiny steps forward.  That's what visual journaling has been helping me with.
 What can you do in any journal?  It's good to get a book that has thicker pages so you can use sharpies without too much bleed through.  Fold pages, draw lines to prepare for journaling, and think outside of the box.  Don't worry about doing any of it in order.  If you dislike a page that you drew on or want to write something that you don't want to be read then you can glue or tape pages together.

It's not a finished product.  It's not for anyone else.  It's a place to be free and do anything.  If the white pages make you unsure, then pull out a medium to start with without plans of how it will look in the end.  I have no idea how these will look later or what I'll use the pages for!  Will this be a rant?  A to do list?  A Bible study?  Favorite quotes?  Nope.. don't know, and it doesn't matter to know.

  I used "liquid chalk" on a bunch of the edges to make a nice frame and drew lines.  You can use stamps or just the ink pads like I did.  You can get out your water color and just make some random colorful brush strokes!  I like experimenting with different types of art supplies just to see what they will do and somehow the pages look better when there's more than one type going on.  Blend colors and have fun getting lots of different things to draw with!
 My mother-in-law (who is an artist!) gave me these four copic marker colors for Christmas.  Like, the NICE "real" artists markers.  I've never used these before!  They worked great for skin color!  I used to draw my hands all the time when I was teenager, but never got to a place where I felt like I could color them well... I just did sketches of my hands and whenever I tried to color them I'd end up ruining the pictures.
Far right is my 4 year old's drawing as she went through my colored pencil box while I drew.  I encourage my girls to help me in my journals and don't want it to be an "off limits" place (though we always want to respect other people's property so asking first is important for everyone)  I want them to know that their art is valuable!  And when they draw a little picture for me it will often get glued into my visual journal right away!  :)
 The markers showed through a bit so I did a second hand since I'm actually right handed it made sense to do my right hand as well.  The above though is in colored pencil.  My oldest thought the one with the markers looked more realistic.
Now if you are like "I can't draw like that!" Please note that it took me 4 journals to start drawing this way again.  My previous ones were just playing and not anything worth sharing, but sharing isn't the point.. the point is to be artistic and we ALL are, because we are made in the image of our Creator God!  So, find your style and what you like and be inspired by other people, but don't feel like you need to do the same stuff. 
Pages folded in and a color wheel, because why not?
 My kids tend to break all their crayons and I've been wanting to get myself a nice box of crayons for a while.  Maybe it would inspire them to care for their crayons better if they saw how I could use them?  It's an idea anyway.. and I keep thinking of when I was a kid and organized my box "just so"..
I wanted a place to know what colored pencils I actually had.  And apparently I have no pink!  PrismaColor colored pencils are my favorites and they are only a few dollars each at craft stores, so, not a hard thing to get here and there at a time.
 And the start of a new year.  I'm pretty terrible at planning well.  Or I thought I was bad at planning, but I actually just don't like it.  I actually hate planning too much.  I like to be spontaneous and mostly plan in a way that allows for that because when I actually plan something ahead of time I move it around anyway.  Still, it's good for me to have calendar pages and keep a bit more track than I did in 2015!  Most months I didn't even do the calendar page till after the month was almost over.  Yeah, that didn't help my planning/not planning style at all.
 Pretty basic this one!  If you misspell something by the way, just write over it.  It's not like you are going to take pictures of your private journal and post it on a public blog.  ;)  right... anyway..
 You could use a ruler if you are into that sort of thing.  I started out using a ruling in 2015 doing the calendar pages for that year, but dropped it as I realized that I don't want to worry about it all being the right size and lined up.  However, it could totally be your thing and the point is to find your OWN way of doing this. 
 March was starting to get a little more interesting.
 Wait, what?  April has turned into a hot air balloon!
 And yes, May is a sort of artistic "mum" type flower.
 Only thing I'll say about the calendar pages on the how-to visual journal end of it is that you'll want to use a medium that you can write over when you go to write appointments or whatever.  These are colored pencil and you can use water color for the background.  Fine sharpies or gel pens should write just fine over these.  If Acrylic is your thing (or Crayons) then you could use that for the lines and numbers, but not on the places you'd want to be able to write on.
June might be my favorite!  Not sure why.. it's just kind of random shapes and I'm not sure what I was doing, but I like all the browns for some reason.

 July... I have a bunch of question marks on my July page from 2015 because I just wasn't sure what happened that month!  At least doing them all up front means that they will be ready for whatever I want to use these for- be it serious planning or writing in after the fact what we ended up doing.  ;)
August is another favorite, just because I like purple so much and love the shades in this.  I used liquid chalk and ink pads on the edges of all of these pages and I think that is really what makes them look so legit compared to my previous visual journals.

 September, going slant-ways...  Because that seemed interesting.
 October was ridiculous because what I was trying to do just was NOT working.  It looked awful, and then I tried to fix it by gluing bits of paper over the original picture.. and that just looked terrible too so I glued the pages together folded part over for that neat journaling area and re-did the calendar page.  It's okay to do that sort of thing.

When my 7 year old doesn't like her drawings I want her to know that artists do NOT like everything they make.  You don't have to love everything you create.  Some you like more then others and certainly you are allowed to scrap the ones that you think are awful, but you never stop being an artist!  That is what I tell her, only it goes on a bit longer and is more pep-talky and sometimes points out that she is just tired and it will all be better in the morning.  ;)
 Kind of boring after the interesting one before it, but I was getting tired so quit that day and finished the last month another time.
 With December, I'm planning to "mark off" the days (in a years time) with blue so it will turn the ornaments that are red to purple.  Which is an awesome idea, but since I don't plan ahead well I probably won't do that in a years time, but it's a nice thought anyway.  ;)
Lastly, my favorite page is by my 7 year old who loves bunnies.  I drew an outline of the bunny to give her a starting point (because she felt like drawing) and told her that she could draw all around it any way she wanted (only that she couldn't turn the page and draw on other pages.)  She put ballet slippers on the bunny!!!  So, so cute!  "Bunny Land" -- some day we'll live in a house and she'll finally get the bunny she has been longing for.

If you aren't ready for a visual journal all your own yet, I'd recommend a coloring book!  Then feel free to color in it and journal around the illustrations as you go.  You'll get into it that way and start to feel the stress roll off!  

I have the one below and adore it!  AND there is room for writing around pictures as well as coloring them.  You can get it here.  I love this authors stuff!

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