Above: The final image from Melinda Bilecki's 2010 fake journal. ©2010 Melinda Bilecki.
Melinda Bilecki's thoughts on International Fake Journal Month 2010 came in the form of a helpful list of points:
It was truly a wonderful experience for me. Here is some of what I learned:
1. A little planning can be a good thing. Normally, I just dive in when I decide to sketch something. In doing my IFJM journal, though, I spent a little time each day deciding what the image was going to be, where I'd place it on the page, and how the text would read. I think this helped me end up with a nicer looking page in the end. And it actually didn't cause me to lose spontaneity as much I thought it might. I just did a quick doodle on a scratch sheet with the text and basic image placement before I started in my journal. If anything, it made the journaling more enjoyable because I felt more certain going in that I'd like what I ended up with.
2. Using color is fun! I've really enjoyed the ink and watercolor wash sketches I've been doing. Color is a new thing for me, and working with it day in and day out taught me a lot. I've learned how watercolor handles in all kinds of situations—with wet paper, dry paper, lots of water, very little water, with a waterbrush, with a regular paint brush, and on and on. This has given me a whole new dimension for getting my world down on paper that I wasn't accessing before. This isn't to say I'll be using color all the time going forward, but it's definitely something I'll incorporate regularly thanks to this experience.
3. Pacing myself is hard. One of the most difficult parts of the whole IFJM process was taking my time with it. Sometimes I was overwhelmed with the desire to finish it, to rush ahead, play the story out, and wrap everything up. Patience is not my strong suit. So…I've had to relax and live with my fake self day after day. It's been good for me, I think. I've had to realize that the project was about the process as much as about the end result—a pretty important lesson.
4. I am all for a daily practice of sketch journaling. It provides a nice organizing principle for the day. I look forward to it until I've done it, and I enjoy having done it afterwards. It helps me think visually. It even helps me feel grounded in some important way I can't quite put my finger on. I'll be thinking more about this going forward, but the bottom line is that this is a practice I plan to continue.
The bottom line is that I would highly recommend participating in International Fake Journal Month to anyone!
I asked Melinda, after receiving her note, whether or not she thought she would continue doing thumbnail sketches on scrap paper before working in her regular journal. She replied.
I don't think I'll always do the thumbnail, but I think it will be one tool among many that I'll use when the situation seems to call for it. I hardly ever planned a page ahead of time before IFJM, but now that I feel comfortable with that process, I find I've been doing it more and more.I also asked Melinda if she had ever tried daily journaling before, and if so, what stopped it. She responded:
Regarding daily journaling, no, I hadn't tried it before. I draw almost every day, and I do have a sketch journal. In the past, though, I only worked in the sketch journal when it seemed like there was something especially interesting to record. IFJM has made me reconsider that approach by helping me see that there is more to be gained from keeping a regular sketch journal than just a record. The process itself is very rewarding! That's probably the most important thing I learned this April!
You will find Melinda Bilecki's 2010 fake journal on her blog under the category IFJM (this link takes you to that category). Scroll down to get to the first entry. The category list starts with the most recent post and that is about how she is moving on to another daily project—a great way to keep momentum going after finishing International Fake Journal Month is to move on to another daily project.
Thank you Melinda for sharing your thoughts on your first-time participation in IFJM. I do think it is helpful for people who are considering whether or not to participate in 2011, to hear the thoughts of other participants. People come to fake journaling from all sorts of different backgrounds. Some already keep daily visual or written journals, others have never journaled before. Wrap-ups by participants give people a better grasp on the wide variety of experiences and results and the impact of those results. Good luck Melinda with your daily practice in May!
Whether you decide to share your wrap up thoughts here or on your own blog, or not at all, please do take a moment to think about your participation in this year's celebration. What did you learn about your practice, your habits, your internal critic, your life's schedule? How does creativity fit into your life's schedule? Do you feel the need for change?