New Journal's First Page "If Found" Notice
Along with an end of journal self-portrait, I always put an “If Found” notice and silly self-portrait at the beginning of each book (phone number erased for privacy). I started doodling something I was carrying under my arm that turned into a very fat cat (or is it a pig?) And yes, I do wear Pippi braids and bright green shirts sometimes.
Newly bound journal; cover from old tablecloth
Above is my new journal, covered in a piece of cloth cut from an old tablecloth, stacked on top of the last journal, now complete. I temporarily added the silly butterfly sticker as a reminder of what I intended as the front and bottom of the book. And then in my usual Jana way, I accidentally ignored it and started sketching from the opposite direction. And it doesn’t make a bit of difference.
Even though I’ve gotten the binding process down to a 6-hour project per book (when done one at a time; haven’t tried batching them yet), I was looking for a way to save time and be able to sketch without having to bind my own journals. I have yet to find a store-bought journal I like as much as my own, so I wasn’t considering that option.
I came up with the idea of using an aluminum form holder filled with individual sheets that I could later put in an inexpensive art presentation binder in order, as if in a journal. I liked the idea I could keep different types of paper in the holder and set it up to use with my little watercolor kit.
As used, with sketch on left; palette & water container velcroed on right
Clipboard for drawing on left, velcroed spots for palette on right
Interior of section that holds paper
While I like this nifty system, and have used it a few times, it just felt weird not carrying a journal containing a little history of what I’ve been seeing, doing and thinking (I don’t share the “thinking” pages here). So now I’m doing both, always carrying the journal above, and when I want a variety of paper, individual sheets, and/or a convenient surface for sketching and painting, I also bring the lightweight Form Holder. Mine is a small size, but a larger one might be really super as a laptop desk.
Page window template
Above is another nifty tool I had made at my neighborhood Tap Plastics for about $3.00: a little template made of very thin plastic with rounded corners that I trace around with a pencil to pre-draw borders on my journal pages. It helps me to have a window to draw within (which I sometimes ignore or erase if I want to work across the spread). Once I finish a sketch I go over the pencil line with black ink.
I drew the black lines on the template with a wet-erase marker so it can also be used as a viewer to see how and where what I’m looking at “should” fit in the drawing (though I rarely use it for that).
I neither know why, again in typical spatially challenged Jana fashion, I wrote “Top” on the template (why would it matter?), and even more perplexing, why I wrote “Top” at the bottom of the template. But it makes me laugh when I see it so I haven’t wet-erased it.