Saturday, October 29, 2011

Almost Nanowrimo-time!

It's getting dark more and more early, tonight the clocks here in the UK 'fall back', shops are filled with Halloween costumes and sweets and you can hear fireworks near enough every night... It must be getting close to Nanowrimo-time!

Now if you haven't got a clue what Nanowrimo is, here's a link to my older blogposts on it, but in very short: Nanowrimo stands for National Novel Writing Month, it starts November 1st, and the challenge is to write a 50 000 word novel in 30 days. That means that you need to write about 1667 words every day to reach this goal.


Normally, I get all excited about Nanowrimo quite early on. End of September, I'm there. I'm thinking of my novel, planning out my story, thinking of my characters, etc. etc.. and this year.. nothing!

I have a very vague idea of what I want to do this year, it will be a ghost story. And that's as far as I got. Bad, isn't it? Especially considering that on Monday night at midnight, I'll start writing!

I did buy myself a notebook that I'll be using for Nanowrimo. I've written a blogpost about my Nanowrimo notebook here, and I'll be doing the same thing again: writing down the daily goals, leaving a column for the number of words written so far, and whether or not I'm ahead or behind.
During the first week I tend to be ahead of myself slightly, because I try and write as much as I can on Day One (start at midnight for a quick writing session, and then again in the morning, and again in the evening before midnight soon adds up!), but as the month goes on, I have days where I don't write anything at all. And I don't really worry about it because this will be my 7th (or 8th? I lost count when I moved to the UK) time and I've always 'won' the challenge.

So I should probably be off now to sort out my characters, places where I want the story to be set, and oh yeah... the story itself!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Urban Sketching from home

The last couple of days I have been drooling over other people's amazing drawings.

I love Liz Steel's travel journals. I love how she draws all her food and drink. It may not be picture perfect, but you can tell what it is with a few simple lines and her use of colour. Amazing stuff.

Her blog lead me to Urban Sketchers, a site run by a group of people who enjoy, as their name suggests, sketching out in urban areas. They go to busy market squares and draw all that's going on there, or find a run down building and draw that. There's a huge list on that site of urban sketchers from all over the world, who are all taking their sketching outside the comfort of their own home.

I've never done any sketches of buildings. I took Art until the 2nd year of high school and we were not allowed out just yet. People who took Art beyond that got to go on cool trips to Bruges and Ghent and draw all day long. (I grew up not all that far from the Belgian border, so those were daytrips. Still annoyed me when my friends got to go on a trip all day long and I was stuck back in school...)

But hey, I've got pictures, right? Lots of them, on my Flickr account. So why not use those?

This is a picture of Fata Morgana, a ride in Dutch fairytale themepark Efteling where I used to work:

and this is the drawing I did last night:

And this is a picture I took of St. Paul's:

and my drawing:

Now I know there's a lot of things wrong with these. I know nothing about perspective, the colours are wrong, the scale is wrong, St. Paul's looks like it's on the wonk far worse than Big Ben is, but I'm doing it.

I've stuck these drawings in my Art Journal because I want to see where I started from. If I keep this up, using pictures already there on my Flickr, I will hopefully get better and better each time. I'll learn how to use lines and what colours to use and if I draw one window this way, the other one should be at least the same size and not a billion times bigger.

And who knows, maybe one day I will be ready to do some proper Urban Sketching. Outside, out in the open where people can watch me...... iiiieeeee....

Monday, October 24, 2011

Introducing Art Journal 10

on Youtube this time.

Now, it was getting a bit too dark inside to film, and I figured I could go outside and film in the garden.. forgetting that there was this canine wanting attention...

See for yourself:

Saturday, October 22, 2011

I'm journaling my life

At the end of my previous Art Journal, I was thinking about 'my style'. What do I like to do in my journals, what kind of pages draw me in when looking at other people's work, that sort of thing.

I had done some pretty pages like this:
which I really enjoyed doing because I adore working in watercolours and pen/ink.
But I also love getting more messy with acrylics and then adding oil pastels and more paint and maybe some gesso and creating pages like this:

I love the texture that creates:

But Art Journaling is about more than getting messy. It's about documenting your life, working through stuff you need to 'think about on paper', (I now write a lot in my Art Journals too and I've added paper especially in my new journal so I can keep that up) even if that means the pages will not come out as pretty as you might like.

I have to admit, when I first saw Connie's recent pages I was worried something horrible had happened to her. But then I looked closer and saw the beauty in what aren't necessarily considered pretty pages. I love them because they are raw. They mean something. They are real and rough, not polished to look all nicey-nice. Working through stuff on paper.

Now I don't claim to have much going on in my life that I've got to be angry or scared about, no deep pain hidden away needing to make its way out. But it's a great feeling to let go of the idea that your pages have to at least be nice to look at if you don't want them to.

Here is what I did the other night, on those gesso-disaster-gone-good backgrounds, in calligraphy markers I had forgotten about (Cult of Stuff anyone?)but loved using and now put somewhere where I can grab them a bit easier for further use:

So does that mean I'll never stick in any more watercolour work? Of course not! I can be a bit schizophrenic when it comes to my Art Journal because hey, it's MY Art Journal, right? If one day I feel like watercolour and ink and being more neat and tidy and the next day I create a huge mess with acrylics and crayons and oil pastels and more acrylics and the day after I only write a few bits in my journal and the day after that I stick in a picture with some DIY tape and a shopping list and a doodle I did when talking on the phone, that's just fine.

I'm journaling my life.

(The 2nd half flip-through video of Art Journal 9 can be found here.)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Oh no gesso - sticky pages

So there I was, gesso'ing away in my new Art Journal, letting the pages air dry before putting some greaseproof paper between them to move to the next spread. I managed a few pages like this a day, so I had my first section in my book ready to go, feeling all proud of myself.


I opened the book the next day and found most of my pre-gesso'd pages sticking together. WT..?? They had been dry before I took the greaseproof paper out, why were they sticking? And, more importantly: how to fix this?

And then Tye said 'But you like that distressed look, don't you?' He's right! I do!
So instead of 'fixing it', I figured out a way to keep it but make it workable.

I inked up the pages, and used a water/white glue mix (thanks to Rhomany's link on her Whimsical Workspace workshop for 'DIY Mod Podge'! But I used more glue than water so it would not be as liquid as it says on that blog.) to seal it.

Now the pages don't stick together, I don't have bits coming off anymore and I love the look! I might not be able to write or paint on it because the surface is so smooth now (and I don't want to add more gesso and end up right where I started) but I'll probably end up sticking stuff on there anyway so it's not a problem.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Meet Art Journal number 10!

I'm just about ready to start a new Art Journal. Number 9 took me a year (!!!) to finish, but then this is the year where I started to do more drawing and watercolouring, so I've been doing lots of art, just not as much in my journal.

So I was on the hunt for a new journal. I still had one that I had bound myself, but seeing as I had just used a similar one for my 'Week in the Life' book (still need to upload those pictures to Flickr..), I didn't feel like using that one. I'm already using a Moleskine for pen and watercolour work, so I don't want to use another one for my Art Journal...

And then I saw Paula aka Journal Artista's blogpost about her magazine journal. How cool! With that idea fresh in mind, I went to the magazine aisle and spotted one I liked, and when I got home, I realised it was the same magazine Paula is using: a Glamour. Not too big, not too small, with enough pages to keep me busy.

Paula in her post said that (Re-)Joyce, who uses a magazine for her daily journal too. Joyce puts lined paper in her journal as well, Paula told us. So of course I had to go and check out Joyce's Ustream to see how she did that. I have been using Number 9 for journaling a lot, so I think that's a great idea!

So the last two evenings I've been sitting here gluing pages together. Three or four, depending on if the next page was one I wanted to keep or not. I'd put a weight on it overnight so it would dry nice and flat (well, ish, because it's still thin magazine paper glued together..) and loving the result.

Last night, I was looking for some sturdy paper to stick to the covers to make them more durable when I decided on using the white duct tape I was going to use for just the spine. It took three layers before you could not longer see the original cover shining through, but that only makes the covers more sturdy so I don't mind.

So here you go, Art Journal number 10, who I'm sure will be as much an 'everything goes' journal as number 9 is:

Can't wait to start working in it! Thanks Paula and Joyce for the inspiration!