Thursday, February 10, 2011

my method of bookkeeping

journal-i-capture-the-castle

i read my books with a pen -- that is, unless i check them out from the library, in which case i jot down my favorite quotes on loose scrap papers, which often get lost. for some time, i've wanted to keep them all in one notebook for easy reference, but as i've mentioned before, working in a bound journal gives me massive anxiety. blank books look so delectable on the shelf, but when i buy and bring them home, i try a few pages and then i freak out. they feel forced and wrong, they don't feel very "me", and so i abandon them. that's because the format doesn't reflect my thought process; linear progression is not my thing. i do like harnessing the chaos and putting some order to it, but within that structure, my work needs mobility, an escape hatch, the ability to shift around noncommittally the way mosaic pieces do before the grout arrives.

instead of continuing to beat myself over the head about this i simply decided to define an art journal as the way i need it to be. that is, it must conform to my own demands and illusions. armed with this revelation i took a hardback moleskine (barely touched of course) off the shelf and ripped all the pages out. immediately made me feel better. i inked the pages, thus ridding them of the white plague, which brightened my mood even more. then i took it one (crucial) step further. instead of lettering the words directly on the page (which of course i would want to change the moment it was irreversible), i made paper cutouts of other inked and stamped pages, lettered them just the way i wanted (and tossed the ones that didn't work) and then played with the quote pieces until i was ready to commit them to their spaces. and then i put all of the loose pages back between the binding and snapped the elastic shut. separate, but together.

some might say i should be doing just the opposite, and use a journal to work through my issues instead of encouraging them. even Cassandra herself from I Capture the Castle would frown on my approach ("i should rather like to tear these last pages out of the book. shall I? no-a journal ought not to cheat.") but i've found a combination that works for me, and for once i've made a journal page that might possibly lead into another and create some continuity in my bookkeeping. and for me that's a big step forward.

45 comments:

Janie B said...

I cannot bear to write in books. I don't even underline. And, like you, I have trouble journaling, whether writing or making art. It's intimidating to see all those blank pages. I like your idea.

rachel whetzel said...

Such a BRILLIANT idea!! The very reason I have never even entertained the idea of buying a moleskine. I do NOT like bound books. Unless I bind them when they're finished!

Samantha Kira said...

Do it how it works for you! There's no rule that says a journal has to be a bound book -- I've done journal pages on canvases and bags and scraps of paper. Right now, I'm sewing together a loose stack of pages into a journal -- but they're finished pages being put together.

I never really progress linearly in my journals. I throw paint here and there, go back and forth, work naturally. Linear is for my writing journal, and even then, I go back to doodle here and there.

So go for it! <3

Jen Niles said...

I confess, I am SO jealous of you in that you have a "style" all your own. It's so consistent and beautiful! I have sort of half-styles, like the painted kitties, or the detailed pen & ink that no one ever sees, but there are areas (like TEXT) that I want to get into, but I don't have a "text style" and don't even know how this is done.

Your writing is so beautiful! And I am so frustrated I could spit. (is a text style something I can learn in a class--I never went to art school--or do I just need to keep plugging away at it til something clicks?)

I will keep working at it. Thanks for being a beacon of color and fun and hope as I try to get my artistic self to evolve :-)

Jeannine said...

Tihs is a great process and so important to find out what works for YOU! I love the cutout idea since I get all squicky about lettering directly on my journal pages too.

And now I want to play in my journal AND pull I Capture the Castle off the shelf for a reread. ;)

Pat said...

I thought this post was going to be about accounting. Whew! So glad it wasn't! Do whatever works for you--there are no rules in art.

CRY said...

wow
can you have a class on this
or a book for dummies so I can learn to do this?
I love to read and I also write down so much of all I read that it takes me twice as long to get thru a book.

Erin Butson said...

congratulations figuring out how it works for you! i have yet to complete a journal. I finish acouple pages in a bound journal and get defeated... sounds like I need make my journal work for me. Great ideas.

T.L. Holmes Williams said...

Beautiful pages, and a nifty idea, too!! Ahhhh...to have even a smidgen of your talent (sigh)...

Candied Fabrics said...

I'm with Pat, I thought this would be about taxes or what have you...so much better to hear about your journal conquering! Hooray! And some of the best ideas/work come from dealing with some "problem"...

Phoenix Peacock said...

I am in love with this post.

kelly barton art + design said...

you make me smile.

rachel awes said...

i love your combination,
dear aimee...
& love that it is YOU.
xox

zippitypow said...

I'm totally with you! Who says it has to be done the "right" way? Phooey on that. This is much more beautiful and satisfying!

The Original Drama Mama said...

If it boosts inspiration - go for it!

Is there somewhere on the blog that you explain your process for inking pages? I'd like to put an "un-book" like this together with my 7 year old to journal...

I too love collecting book quotes, I think I need to start one to collect kid quotes!

Kat W said...

I applaud you because I feel its important to find a way that is right for us. "If" you need to face anything you'll do so in your own time and not by frightening yourself silly. And I love the results that occurred by you following your own instincts!

Fab! I shall retweet your link to this post next because I think it makes an important point.

Kat :-)

S.E.Minegar said...

i write in books too, but i use pencil, because i fix my own handwriting! it took me until grad school to figure out it was the best way for me to converse with a text.

but paper journals...especially bound ones, are not for me. journaling on paper is on my list of delusional pleasantries (ie. things i like the idea of but not the practice of).

great gathering of words here!

Bella Sinclair said...

* EVEN BIGGER SMILE *

Man, I love those explosive colors!

Christine said...

:-) I read with a pen too :-) and love it. Can also relate to the akwardness of keeping journals, though I so want to make them. Thanks for sharing your experiences with this. Love what you did

lyric said...

Might I first just say - LOVE your banner.
I think your idea is brilliant! Well done.

iHanna said...

Love your quote page, it is so awesome. I too collect quotes. I think an "art journal" should be a book, there is something special about being able to close it at and put it away, but if the pages needs to be loose - so be it, right? Your way is a great start, I hope you will find lots of joy from playing on those pages!

Lisa - Happy Mama said...

I'm delighted to know I'm not the only one tormented by white, bound, journal pages!

Rock on, Aimee! Thanks for sharing this. Way to honor your own way of doing things!

Yvonne said...

it's all in the 'doing', not the 'how'- that's what I believe!

& this quote: "I knew I had put my foot in it and thought I might as well go a bit further." Oh, I love that!! I need to do more of THAT ;)

cindy said...

i love this and should do the same to the many empty journals i have lined up on my bookcase, or send them to you. i like the idea of keri smith's book - wreck this journal. enjoy your weekend!

Nicole : Three By Sea said...

Too funny. I've come to realize that I don't like bound journals for drawing/writing in either. Instead I've begun doodling/brain dropping on cardstock and then cutting out the bits I like and gluing them in my blank sketchbooks/journals so that I don't lose them, much like blank scrapbooks of yesteryear. It's an incredibly freeing way to work and I find that losing a lot less of my notes/doodles that way.

freebird said...

Glad you found what works for YOU. That's a great thing. A wonderful thing! I think you should put on the inside front cover though, NO RULES TO BIND ME IN THIS BOOK!

●• Thereza said...

exact;y! whatever works for you :)

gm glimmerglass said...

You creative types!
Sheesh!
Always Houdini-ing outta tight spaces, bound books and other bird-cagey situations !

While I don't mind a book with a binding so much, I find that I am completely allergic to any chronological aspect of "journaling".

So I keep a pile of doodle books and journals handy by, choosing the one that suits my whim.
( Hey, it's my party!)

Forgot about - I Capture the Castle - love that book. Thanks!

happeningsonchaosranch said...

OMG!!! That's wonderful! What a great idea to make a journal your own. Now you can buy all of the great blank books that call your name and know that you will be able to do whatever you want to do with them without fear of them just sitting there. And I thank you for the bottom of my heart because I love blank books also and tend to abandon them after a few pages also. Maybe they will become something new now too! Wow! You are just amazing!

Beverley Baird said...

What a lovely way to preserve the quotes! Love it! Mine are all over the place - here and there on paper and in little books and even hightkighted in the books themselves. Definitely a way to honour the book and the quotes!

pluckychickenheart said...

Pure Genius. You are great at thinking outside the box Aimee.

Thank You so much for sharing your ideas. I'm going to go destroy my molekine right now. ( gack )

Sherry Lynn said...

Love your blog..I too am the same way when it comes to books..I actually just checked out 4 cookbooks from the library and I am having a real hard time not writing in them...love your post..

sherry

ni said...

Happy, wonderful, magical Valentine's day! Just to let you know... you bring love in my everyday! xxx

AG Ambroult said...

while I do use a sketchbook, I can definitely relate to the fear of the white plague. it's horrifying. Kudos to you for finding a way to "organize" your quotes without too much organizing.

...and is it too early to try to start spring now?

artistaprilcole@gmail.com said...

Very inspiring...
Art journaling, really should just be a free form, random process! Just do what feels right; :]

Alexandra Hedberg said...

Loved this post, Aimee! I am not a sketchbook person either. Love your way to handle it! I want lose leafs of paper and preferably in shitty quality not to inhibit me. I have bought moleskines just because I like the way they look, but I can not make anything remotely good in them. The only thing I manage to do is to glue my cut outs in a non pretentious sketchbook - but that is after I've made them. It's more like storing in one place.

I think so many aren't really sketchbook people.... but they pretend to be. I know for example two artists/illustrators who just make the sketchbooks up (in photoshop or as a reconstruction/copy of other sketches on loose papers) when asked to show their sketchbooks in interviews on blogs. They've even been printed to keep up the lie that puts all this pressure on us - the non sketchbook people!

Dawn D. Sokol said...

This is why I love you. You realize that there are no rules. You need to do as you feel. Adapt a process and/or format that works for you. Of course, this can take time and some of us get impatient with the exploration. It's the same as finding a style. But you have to be willing to be adventurous and try different things to make it feel right for you!!! :)

gypsy said...

Your unique style shapes the way you journal and I think that is what is so intriguing about art journaling. It is whatever you want it to be! Most of my art journal pages are loose, the rest are pages in hardbacks I'm altering. There is no chrono order, nothing linear about any of it. If your pages are loose, I think it's easier to skip the whole fear-of-white-page stage of the game. Great post, Aimee.

The Dreaming Bear said...

Woo hoo! Awesome process! Good for you!

lori vliegen said...

you're a journal rock star, aimee!! congrats on sticking with what works for you!! love your page of doodle quotes!! xox

Fruenswerk said...

How are things girl...???

Serena said...

Thank you. I have purchased countless blank books only to have them mock me from various corners of my apartment. What was so inspiring in the store was intimidating when it was time to actually DO something. Maybe I need to step outside of my own box.

You rock!

aimee said...

thanks everyone!! sorry i've been so lousy about returning visits -- i've gotten pretty lost in my return to journaling, plus i was out with a sick kiddo last week, but will get back on the wagon this week!

Shannon said...

I love this post, aimee!

emily said...

Thank you! Now I know why those pretty little bound books stay empty, they are hugely intimidating. I started playing in a 50 cent book from a thrift shop. I ripped some pages, folded some, glued some together. And when I have the urge I do my "thing"-not sure it's journalling but it makes me insanely happy to paint on words. No blank pages, it's the most productive I've been in a long time!