Monday, 21 December 2009

Moleskine Art Journal - Goal for 2010

Towards the end of 2009, I began my first experiment with Art Journaling and I fell in love with it. In the olden days, writing used to be my hobby. But now that I am hell-bent on making writing my profession, I decided I needed a new hobby that I could allow myself to be bad at, while being creative and having fun - so art was a natural selection. And since I am addicted to journals, art journal was again just the next step. I did a few pages this year and restarted drawing/painting. So for 2010, I have decided to take it one step further, and consciously devote more time to it. My goal then is to finish a complete art journal. I will be using a Large Watercolour Moleskine. I have already done 3 pages in it this year, but there are still 68 pages for next year, so that's more than one a week, and with my schedule, that's plenty. I chose Watercolour Moleskine, because its thick pages give me more freedom of medium. I can use watercolours, paste paper/cards, sketch pens and felt tip pens. It's pretty flexible. Getting really excited about it now, and looking forward to it.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Single Moleskine Grievance

I love my moleskines. I truly do. But I have one grievance. None of my fabulous fountain pens work well on any of the moleskines. I have 2 regular Parker Fountain Pens 1 Parker Pen (expensive one, but can’t remember the exact model) 1 Waterman Fountain Pen On watercolour moleskine, the ink is absorbed in the texture of the pages. On that one, it’s understandable and I am not very bothered. On sketchbook, the pages are too smooth for the ink to stay properly. On regular – both plain and ruled moleskine, pages are too thin, so while the fountain pens work, you can see the impression on the back of the page, which sucks because I write on both sides of a page. Oh yeah, I also have a quill with an ink bottle, but haven’t tried that on moleskines. I really enjoy writing with fountain pens, especially in my journals or anything that I am likely to keep. It just looks better, and my hand-writing is nicer with fountain pens too, so I really miss not being able to use them a lot, especially since now I have officially converted to 100% moleskines for every type of journal I need. How about you? Have you been able to use fountain pens with your moleskines?

Photo Book

Yesterday I ordered my first photo book as a Christmas present. After a few mishaps with several online places, I ended up ordering it with Jessop’s (still online order), so I can pick it up from the local branch. I have made scrapbooks with photos before, but creating a photo book was a new experience. While, it doesn’t feel satisfying from a creative point of view, it still looks fabulous, and something fun to flip through, and improvement from old-fashioned photo albums. I am already thinking of what other photo books I should order :-)

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Off Preparing for NaNo

Sorry, haven't blogged regularly lately. But currently, I am focusing on outlining my book for NaNo challenge that begins in November. For those of you who may not know, it's National November Novel Writing Month. Thousands of crazy people, like me, sign up to write 50000 words from November 1 to November 30. The rules are simple You have to start a new project. You can't work on a half completed book, because the idea is to let your creativity flow, and not get bogged down by editing. You can outline, but not writing anything before November. And that's it. I am hoping to complete 80000 which would be a full length of a novel, so let's see how it goes. So blogging might be bit slow until end of November.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Journaling to Unearth Your Memories - Prompt 3

Places We are very much a product of our environment. The place where you grew up, places you visited as a child, places you wished you could go, they all contribute to who you are today. Make a quick list of places you remember as a child. It could be anything: name of your hometown, favourite playground, a park, beach, school, friend's house - anything. Don't think too much. Write by instinct. Once you have this list, then go through each item, and again just by using your instinct do a quick brain storm. Write down words and phrases that immediately come to mind. Once those immediate associations and memories are written down, then you are ready to dig a bit deeper. Now go through each item carefully. Think about what kind of memories that place invokes in you? Happy? Sad? Angry? Frustrated? When were you at that place last? Would you like to visit it again? Do you get to see it as much as you would like? Would you rather not see it at all? Why? Do you miss that place? What do you miss about it? With each of the questions you answer, you should have a better understanding of the importance a particular place holds in your life.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Journaling to Unearth Your Memories - Prompt 2

The things we fear tell us far more about ourselves than we realize. Not all reasons are deep, but many have layers that we hardly ever peel. So today, think about fears. What did you fear as a child? Fear of the dark? A monster under your bed? Or perhaps you feared a grizzly uncle or even an older sibling or one of your parent? Make a list of all the things and/or people you remember being afraid of. Don’t think about it. Just make a quick list of anything that comes to mind, even if the fear was short lived. Keep going until you can’t think of nothing else. Once you have your list, go through each item one by one, and in detail first write what you remember. For example, you remember being afraid of your great aunt Nelly. When was this? Do you know why you were afraid? Did you do something wrong and were trying to hide it, or was it simply the way Nelly was that made you afraid? Or maybe she was drunk, and you were always afraid of her when she was drunk? Write all you remember about feeling that fear. Now try you think of it from an adult perspective. Do you realize now why you were so afraid? Is the reason quite different from what you remember as a child? What does it tell you? Does it tell you that you have changed, or is it simply your perspective that has changed? Now go through the list again, and again in as much detail as possible, write down if you conquered that particular fear, or is it still there? If you did conquer it, how did you do it? If those fears still exist, dig deeper. What exactly are you afraid of? Is there any way you can overcome them? Do you want to overcome them? This prompt could be used on ongoing basis. As you grow and change, so will yours fears. Good luck, facing them.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Journaling to Unearth Your Memories

Even though I seem to have very good memory, I don’t have a lot of vivid memories of my childhood. I have lots of pictures though, so often I get confused wondering if I remember something because I have seen it in a photo, or is it an actual memory. It’s most strange and often frustrating, and as much as I regret not keeping diaries as a child, there is nothing I can do about it now. So I am always on the lookout for ways to dig deeper into my memories. Photos are good, but if you have as vivid imagination as I do, it’s far too easy to make up your own memories. All a photo tells you is where you were, who you were with, and maybe what you were doing. It doesn’t really tell you what was going on at the time. It probably doesn’t tell you how you were feeling, or what you were thinking, so as much as I love photos, they are not completely reliable source of memories. But they can be tools, as can many other things – tools to be used while journaling to dig deeper into your memories. For the next few days, I will post a detailed prompt to help you on your way to uncover your past. I suggest you print them or write them down on an index card and keep them. Use these prompts, and then re-use them again after a few months, without looking at your old entries. It is often surprising how many different things you will learn from the same prompt. So get that journal ready, pick your favourite pen, and let’s start digging. Here is your first prompt: Photos as tools – pick a picture, any picture from your childhood. Either at random, or by looking through and taking one that appeals to you, or makes you wonder what was going on at the time. Place that photo in front of you where you can easily see it, and just start writing in your journal. Write what you see in it. Write what you remember. As you start doing that, more thoughts will come. Some random associations might also come flowing through your pen, but that’s okay. One memory often leads to another. Keep writing until you have said all that came into your head. This is an endless exercise, since you can use every photo you have, and you can also use them more than once to learn if you remember anything different the second or third time around.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Ending Journals

This is my "Everyday Journal" #15, almost near an end. I love ending journals. Because by the time I am at last few pages, I usually have a new journal waiting. This time is a brand new moleskine. I have already talked about my moleskine love in the previous post, so I will spare you that.
Ending journals is practically a ritual, in a sense that I always end my journals reflecting on the journey I have been on during the course of that journal. Between the pages of each journal, a part of my life resides, a part of my very soul even. Not all pages are deep and emotional. Often many are pointless chatter, rants or even just endless list of goals. But each of those pages contain a part of me, and by the time I get to the end, in the last few pages I always pick up things I have learned along the way, or the things I need to focus or reflect on. I don't even need to look back to old entries. My subconscious is automatically picking up on things recorded between those particular dates.
Each ending of a journal is not necessarily closing a chapter in life, but rather opening new doors, finding new directions. And then each new journey takes me forward in some of those new directions.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Moleskine Love

For years, I had seen moleskine notebooks in the shops without being the least bit tempted by them. They were ordinary, black bound notebooks. Nothing special. Definitely not worth the price. Especially when I could get much fancier journals for a better price. That was my first opinion of moleskines. The fact that Hemingway and Picasso used them had no influence over me. They weren't exactly living in the golden age of stationary shopping. So every time I went journal shopping, I ignored those inconspicuous moleskines, and carried on buying different journals. Then in June 2009, I was looking for a perfect travel journal. I considered buying one from Paperblank or Paperchase, which I have used before, but I wanted something different. While researching on the Internet, I came across moleskine websites, and then ended up on moleskine art pages on flickr, and I was lured in. What I found alluring was the fact that there were actually tons of people raving about moleskines, and that there were whole groups and communities about them. Not only that but there were international exhibitions for moleskine art. So there must be something special in those journals. So I ordered a large moleskine sketchbook to try it. Once I started using it, I was hooked. It is impossible to explain to normal people, but the stationary addicts amongst you will understand - writing in those pages is pure pleasure. I have since then used few different moleskines for various purposes, and each one is perfect. I have always enjoyed the act of physically writing, but moleskine takes it to the next level. I no longer look for fancy journals, and I know that once I use up what I have already got, the only new ones I buy will be more different moleskines. What do you think about moleskines?

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Words are the Wings I Fly With

I did this art journal page in my watercolour moleskine, for Theme Thursday Challenge. The theme for this week is "wings." Since I am first and foremost a writer at heart, it is no surprise that a theme about words emerged automatically. Read the letters in the skirt from left to right, and they carry the heart of this page.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Masks of Humanity

The theme for this week's challenge at inchybyinch is "mask" so within that context, I created my own theme within a theme, "Masks of Humanity." The first inchy represents different facades of human nature. We wear each of those masks as necessary, some change them more frequently than the others. The second inchy is of humanity's perspective of itself. As a human race, when we look in the mirror, we see what we want to see rather than the actual truth. I didn't plan to make the masks on this theme. But when I started drawing the first one, and wondered about the colours, black and white emerged. And then the theme appeared in my head, with messages behind by masks.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Twinchie - Circle of Words

Twinchie for Small World of Inchies & Twinchies Challenge. The theme was "Circles"

Autumn Inchies

I made these inchies for a challenge over at InchbyInch. The theme for this week is "leaf"

My Art Journal - First Page

Okay, so it's not a great piece of art, but it is my first try with art journaling so I thought I had better keep it simple. I used the "connect" theme, from Creative Everyday challenge. The theme worked for me. I was trying to figure out how to start the journal so that it would show its purpose. It's also inspiration for the future, especially when at some point in the future, inspiration might be lacking.

Art Journaling for the First Time

I have been trolling the Internet for days, looking at blogs and images about Art Journaling. The idea of it occured to me when I bought my first moleskine few months ago, and saw Moleskine art people have posted on flicker. Finally, I have decided to try it.
I debated whether to start art-journaling in my regular every-day journal, or start a different journal. I've decided to go with a different one for now, so I can focus on learning and experimenting, and see what works for me.
I've discovered plenty of weekly challenges. It's actually amazing to find just how many people do incredible work in their art journals. I have started working on my first page with one of the challenges in mind, but not quite sure yet what direction I am going in. I like the pages of this moleskine. Besides usual good quality of the moleskine, the watercolour pages are textured and thick, so using the glue on the pages doesn't wrinkle the back. I know art journaling is supposed to be all about self-expression without worrying about tidiness. But my self-expression happens to need a tidy look on the page, so I need to put bit more thought into it.
Hopefully, I will post my first page tomorrow.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Journal Writing

Writing in my Journal has now become such a regular thing that I find something missing if I skip a few days. Often, I find myself wishing I had started earlier. But, as a child, I didn't know anyone who kept journals and so didn't even occur to me to keep them.

I started my first proper journal in 2000, gave up, and restarted in 2002. Since then, I have been a regular, and now very loyal journal writer. Currently, I am on my 15th Journal (picture shown), which will probably be finished in a few days, so excited to start a new one. And that doesn't include all the other journals I keep for special reasons, but more about that later.

What it is about rambling on a paper? I certainly don't do it with the intention of sharing, because my journals are completely private. Perhaps, it is the satisfaction of recording things that are important to me as my daily life goes on. Things that seem mundane now, may not be years later. When I look back at my older journals, I wish I had put more details. I also wish I had wrote more happier things. I tended to use my initial journals as more of a moaning place, so now when I look back, it seems all miserly - which obviously wasn't the total picture of my life.

Over the years, I have tried various techniques, adding new things and see how they work. I am still working on my own unique technique. But that's the beauty of a personal journal - your madness doesn't have to have any method. You can do whatever you please, as long as pleases you.

My hunt for journals is worse than shopping for clothes. It has to be right. It has to appeal at that moment. Pages have to be thick enough so I can use a fountain pain. Journal has to be durable enough that pages won't fall apart with constant use. The writing experience must be a pleasure. That is the key for journal writing.

Up until now I have used variety of journals, and bought a different one every time, but since using a moleskine for a travel journal few months ago, I think I am falling in love. Might just become a total moleskine addict, though I am not completely giving up on other journals yet.

And it is a pleasure that I look forward to every day, and hope to continue for years to come.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Keeping a Journal

"When a person dies, a library is burned" - Edmund White
You just read the above quote. Now read it again out loud. Repeat is slowly, with your eyes closed. Do those words create a picture in your mind?
In my mind, they create an extraordinarily vivid picture. In my mind’s eye I see a face; I see human eyes, and as I gaze into them, I get a glimpse inside the mind. A mind full of memories, shelves and shelves stacked with archives of that person’s life; all the joys, sorrows, achievements, regrets - all chaotically piled. From the mind, my gaze slides further down to the heart and there I see more shelves. These shelves are full of love given and received, emotions expressed and stifled, words not spoken, wasted time on hate and anger. Then, even deeper, I get a glimpse of the soul. The rows and rows full of books are endless…there is so much here.
Everything this person has ever experienced in their life, every being they have ever encountered and all the things that have effected this person - it is all listed in this library. All the knowledge that if that person had a chance to sort through it, they would be closer to their true SELF then they could have ever thought possible. Even as I am looking, in the distance I see the flames. They are expanding, eating up the shelves at a steady but fast pace; parchments burn, shelves crumble and books fall in a heap on the floor before they too are consumed by the relentless fire. Within moments all that remains are charred crumbs of what used to be a human being with a unique place in the universe.
Each of us has a unique place in this universe. We may not be important enough to show up on TV or write about in Newspapers, but we are important nonetheless. We have our own purpose to find, our own destiny to fulfil. Journals are a way to record this journey - a unique perspective, a unique story that can only be told by the one person who is living it. A journal has a purpose as unique as the person who is keeping it. It can be a very private place to record all your thoughts and your views; something you may not want to be read by any but your own eyes. Or it can be a legacy you can leave to your descendants; something that may give them a glimpse of their own unique heritage. A journal could be anything you want it to be - a simple notebook, or a creative artistic project. The possibilities are endless.
A journal is not a diary. Christina Baldwin gave these definitions of journals and diaries in her book, “One to One: Self-Understanding through Journal Writing”: “…traditionally, diary connotes a more formal pattern of daily entries, serving primarily to record the writer’s activities, experiences and observations. A diary tends to be outwardly focused.”
“The Word journal is loosely defined as an intermittent record of the inner life, written consistently, but not necessarily on a daily basis. A journal often provides a place for writers to explore the more subterranean aspects of themselves; those things which are the hardest to share with others, and often the hardest to understand even in our own minds.”
My own journal is a combination of diary and a journal. I like to record events and things that happen in my life - outward focus - but I also like to delve deeper into my consciousness to seek the answers that lie hidden. Over the years, my journals have grown with me. I started off, recording daily happenings in monotonous way…then looking back at one of the old journals I thought it looked a bit boring. So I started researching techniques of journal writing, and was amazed to find vast amount of resources available on the Internet. Through my research and experimenting within my own journals, I have come to believe that a journal is a place for complete self-expression. Write, draw, doodle, paste photos….do whatever you want. A journal is your place - your world - seen from your own perspective. It can be as colourful or as grim as you deem it to be.
If you are unsure about how to start your own journal, here are some free resources to get you going: