Starting a Journal…

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still Achieving, still pursuing;
Learn to labor and to wait.
~ Longfellow
Getting started with journaling is not easy. There you sit, with all those white, blank pages staring at you, and with no ideas whatsoever about what to put on them. What’s the cure for artist’s block?
Just do it.
I think I said that before in a recent post, but it’s really, truly the place to start! If the first few pages are too scary, then open up to somewhere in the middle, and sketch something, even if it’s just your coffee mug and the lines are wiggly because you’ve not consumed enough caffeine yet. Then, the journal is no longer perfect, and you no longer have that for an excuse!
I pulled out on of the Bare Books Plus (my “lifetime supply” is quickly dwindling… I hope that has no actual bearing upon the length of my lifetime… I think I shall order some more very soon!) and thought about what it felt like to start art journaling for the first time and tried to think of some activities that might help ease the stress. Here goes… they will work for any fresh new journal!
Make a cover!
(If don’t have a journal that has a blank cover, make a Title Page!)

As you can see, this is not museum quality artwork. Just a bunch of doodles. I drew very light guidelines for the lettering using a triangle, and then an oval for the border edge. Tasha Tudor, one of my favorite artists, often draws lush borders around her pictures, so I borrowed that idea for the journal cover. “Around the Seasons” brought thoughts of different activities and celebrations around the year, so I sort of went with a monthly theme around the oval. Now I’m filling in with greenery to make the border look full. If you enlarge the picture (can you do that?) you’ll see that none of the sketches are anything really grand. The greenery (which sort of looks like rosemary or short pine) is really just a bunch of little lines coming off a main branch all in the same direction. Really not hard at all to draw! Plans for the cover are to finish filling in, and then color it, coloring book style with watercolor pencils, and then take a very tiny brush and some water and wet the color to brighten it and make it look like watercolor.

Inside the journal, there are 30 pages. (Actual sheets of paper… it’s a good idea to count the actual sheets, because sometimes they count front and back on the “page count.”) There are 12 months, and that meant each month could have two sheets of paper. I skipped the first page in case I wanted a title page eventually, and then wrote the name of each month on every third sheet. That divvied up the journal into bite size pieces, gave me at least one two-page spread per month, and left me with about 5 pages at the end for notes and stuff. In the back pages, I titled one page “Inspiration and Resources,” dedicated another to choosing a journal and tools of the trade, wrote “Page Layout Ideas” on the top of another, and the inside of the very cover and facing page is saved for doodling. Doodling is tomorrow’s post. It’s very important. At least I think so!


On the homefront, last night Hubby dear moved a light in the under-the-stairs laundry room/cubby with the cute little door so he could eventually divide the spot into two rooms and put up the needed shelves. He was a very good sport about it, because if I (vertically challenged at only 5 foot tall) have a hard time getting into that tiny little space, you can imagine that it is even more difficult for a full-grown fellow. We girls handed him things, and brought him light, and offered to clean up the drywall mess so he didn’t have to. Which is what I’m heading off to do as soon as I hit “Publish.”

Have a great Thursday!


2 thoughts on “Starting a Journal…

  1. Hi Kim! Thanks for the motivation. Looks wonderful. That cubby beside the chalkboard….I never knew it was there? It’s wonderful to find more storage space….there’s never enough.

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