Welcome to International Fake Journal Month 2013!

What is IFJM?
Please read the page "What Is IFJM" for details.
Learn the difference between Faux, Fake, and Fake Historical Journals.

Contests for 2013
See the right-hand sidebar for links to details on the 2013 Contests OR click here.

Participants who Post Their Journals
A list of 2013 participants who are posting their fake journals this year appears near the top of the right side bar of this blog. Lists of participants who posted their pages in 2010, 2011, and 2012 lower in the same column. Please pay them a visit and check out their fake journals.

View a Couple of Roz's Past Fake Journals
Roz's 2009 fake journal takes place in an alternate Twin Cites, where disease has killed the human and bird populations. (It ends up being an upbeat tale of friendship.) Watch a video flip through of Roz's 2009 fake journal here.

Read an explanation of Roz's insanely complex 2011 fake journal.

Tips on Keeping a Fake Journal
Click on "tips" in the category cloud.

Remember, "Life's so short, why live only one?"


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tips on Getting Under Your Character's Skin

Journal keepers have a bit of an introspective nature. They are examing the world through their own lens, their own preconceived notions, the events of their lives which forged them into the person they are. When we join a fake journal all of the journal character's past is just that, past. But you, as the creator of the fake journal (which is different than being the character who is authoring it) need to access that past information in playful and interesting ways, just as that material would fall within the course of a real journal. Each bit of information will tell you more about your character and help you create a journal from that character's perspective.

Whether it's the first time or 50th time for you keeping a fake journal here are a couple of ways to keep your interest in your character growing and developing in your journal pages.

• Read a book that you would never read, but that your character wants to read. Write about it as your character would, setting aside your own notions. Illustrate something in your character's day which reflects or echoes the thoughts brought up by his reading of that book.

• Ask yourself—"What is your character's favorite magazine, and why?" Listen to what he says to you. Don't close your mind because it isn't a magazine you would read. Go to the library and read through a couple back issues of this magazine, keeping notes about article topics and journalistic slant, and so on. Note the design elements of the magazine. To whom is it supposed to appeal? Is that who your character or is he perversely interested in things that aren't aimed at his socio-economic demographic? If so, why is that? During April purchase a current copy of that magazine. Read a little bit every day or over a couple days and journal as if your character were reading that magazine. What does he find of note, what does he quote from it, what plans does he generate because of it?

• Watch a movie you would normally avoid. The genre, actors, director, writer, or theme might be ones that you avoid. Instead your character loves all or some of these characteristics of the movie. For your day's journaling write your character's response to the movie in his journal. Part of your character's response might be vehement disagreement with a movie critic's column on that movie (or agreement?).

• Go to a restaurant that is not one of your usual haunts. Order from the menu and view the restaurant from  your character's eyes.

• Go to a restaurant that IS one of your usual haunts. Journal about how your character views the menu, the food, the ambiance, etc.

As you can see from the simple examples above, there are things that you can do daily throughout April which will give you increased fodder for your character to journal about. Explore your character's life through the media and experiences he allows for himself.

Everyday as you go through your life, make a mental note how this same experience would be viewed by your character. If you happen to have the chance and you have your fake journal with you, actually stop and journal from your character's perspective right then!

You don't have to struggle to find experiences for your character. There is a whole life of experience that is streaming right next to the life you are currently living.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Location, Location, Location: Where To Set Your Fake Journal

I encourage first time fake journal keepers to make it as simple as possible for themselves—don't worry about changing your handwriting, and if you do, just change your pen; keep your journal in the present time so  you aren't prone to anachronisms; write about something that you already know about.

There is another way that you can keep your fake journal project easier to keep up with—locate your character either in your current city, or in a city that you know very, very well.

Once you establish that location it is simple for you to recount details about locations—all the little details you would write and draw if you were sitting at a café watching the world go by.

Several participants of past IFJM celebrations have written fake travel journals with great success. But it also appealed to them at the time they were writing, to do the extra research on locations so that they would have details to include.

Just as your regular journal seems more substantial and clear when you include details from your location, such as cultural events, weather, street names, descriptions of fashion, and so on, your fake journal can benefit from the same focus.

If you do decide to place your fake journal in some distant location how will you handle sketching buildings and such? Immediately you've placed yourself in the "sketch from photos" activity. Will you be happy not sketching from life for a month in your fake journal? Have you been to that location in the past and do you have your own photos from which to sketch? If you don't have your own photos will you be sketching from copyright free photos?
Something to Consider: Remember when you sketch from photos that someone else took you are actually infringing on their copyright. You might think it's OK because you aren't going to do anything commercial with your sketch, but I encourage you to always assume that you might.  I can't tell you how many non-professional artists have come up to me and asked me about printing and selling cards, or paintings, etc., that they have painted from the photos of others. Time has passed and everyone tells them what a wonderful painting it is and they have decided they should do something with it. To do so legally would require that you track the copyright holder down and get permission and possibly pay a licensing fee.


I always encourage people who are drawing from photos to use their own photos. That way they get to set up the lighting, the composition, the central focal point—all to tell the story they are trying to tell. And just as important, they now can use that painting in whatever way they want.
Let's get creative for a moment. There's another way that you can go to a distant location without using photos of that location that were taken by someone else. Your character might be the type of visual journal artist who only sketches animals, birds, desserts, food items, etc. These are all things that you can draw from life where you actually are, or from your own photos if that's how you would like to proceed.

You can do your location research and read up about the area, and then next to your illustration of your pigeon (who was actually a neighborhood pigeon you just fed and sketched) you can write about the life of the people around you, based on the reading research you did.

Think about location and how you want to handle it before you jump in! A little bit of planning now will make it easier for you throughout the month.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Adopting a New Identity in Your Fake Journal Through Handwriting and Writing Style

Above: Examine the handwriting found on this page spread I completed in my journal at one of the Bell Museum Sketch Nights. On the top and center left you'll see I've written with a Staedtler Pigment Liner. On the bottom right and left you'll see I've written with a Pentel Pocket Brush Pen. I've written all this text, but you can see a difference immediately, based on the tool I'm using. Read the rest of this post for more about changing your writing in your fake journal. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

This week I have received several emails from people asking about whether or not they need to change their handwriting in their fake journal. This is totally a matter of personal choice.

For some people changing their handwriting helps them get into a different mindset and distance themselves from the character keeping their journals. For other people it doesn't even come up, and to switch how they write would be more of an encumbrance than a help.

I suggest that if you would like to change your handwriting you look at the simple options first—instead of printing, write in cursive; if you're right-handed, use your left hand; if you print with caps and lowercase letters, print in all caps; use rubberstamps; or use a lettering stencil.

You might discover, after some thought, that your character has a particular stylistic characteristic. Perhaps he always writes in lowercase like the poet e.e. cummings. Perhaps she writes in all caps because of an emphatic nature. Maybe your character trained as an architect and his handwriting is reminiscent of, or exactly like, the handwriting of other architects. Maybe the slope of your character's handwriting is excessive, or in the opposite direction to your natural slope. You might also have a character who works only with unbroken columns of text, interspersed with paragraph symbols when there is supposed to be a break. The possibilities are endless.

There are grammatical stylistic quirks to rely on as well. If you always write in complete sentences you might find that your character thinks and writes only in phrases. Or he has an interesting way of using punctuation, or leaving punctuation all out! Each of these variants can tell us something about the character who is keeping the journal and allow you to understand him/her better.

Left: Another sketch from the Bell Museum on the same night as the first sketch in this post. Here I worked with a Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Calligraphy pen,  both for the sketching and the writing. If you compare this image with the first image and the handwriting in both, you can see that there are distinct characteristics that start to emerge when you switch the drawing and writing too. Capitalize on that effect in your fake journal. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

Another simple and quick change to your handwriting can be had simply by changing the tools that your character uses. In the two images used to illustrate this post I have provided examples showing how my handwriting and sketching styles change when I change pens.

If you are looking for a simple way to change your handwriting, while avoiding a cumbersome alternative like teaching yourself to work in your non-dominant hand, consider changing tools. 

For my 2009 fake journal I had my character work with a dip pen, which is a tool that is one of my favorites. However, I helped distance myself from the character by having her use a nib that is not my favorite. It is also a nib which isn't fun to write with. I then purposely wrote fast when journaling in that book—knowing that my speed would exacerbate the skips and jumps of the pen, and put additional distance between me and that character. Also, because she had lost all her drawing supplies in transit and was using a borrowed nib, it wasn't a nib she would like or choose and her frustration comes out naturally at various places in the journal, in relation to her work with that tool.

Whichever route you take to distance yourself from your character and his/her handwriting and sketching style, your choices will tell you something ultimately about your own preferences, stylistic tics, and artistic goals (speed, neatness, etc.). You're not out to stump a graphologist. You are simply trying to achieve a little bit of creative distance. Have fun piecing together your character!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Narrowing Your Choices to Increase Your Fake Journal Success

Last week I wrote about expanding your choices in character development in order to increase your chances for success with your fake journal.

Today I want to write about the opposite (so much in fake journaling is about opposites). There are ways you can narrow your choices to increase your chance for success with your fake journal.

Narrowing Your Character Choices
The simplest way to keep your character choices down to a minimum and still have a great fake journal is to actually be an alternate self of yourself. So you will still be the same age, sex, etc., but you will be in a different job, or life situation, or have a different attitude (suddenly goth instead of little pony). You might also find yourself in an alternate world where things don't work the way they work in our world. This might be useful to you because you have questions about social and interpersonal relations which would benefit from such a close fit.

A next step away would be someone who isn't you, but has only one or two key differences. And so it goes down the long chain of choices.

Sometimes by keeping our creations close we can better examine what is close at hand and with only a slightly skewed sense of perspective we can nevertheless develop new insights.

Narrowing Your Media Choices
I have written about this a lot on this blog. If you have never kept a fake journal before or never worked with a project that requires you live inside the head of another character, then the tools and materials you use for this exploration might actually cause you to lose focus or fracture your attention.

If your character is complex and the issues facing that character are complex, perhaps working simply in pen and ink will be sufficient for your progress with that character. Or perhaps colored pencils gives you the little bit of color that you need as an artist to stay with the project. It's a balancing act that you need to consider before you start your project. Do you want to sit down every day and decide what media to use in addition to what your character is thinking and working on? Wouldn't it be easier to simply pick up a tool and let that character work? Which challenge do you prefer? Which challenge will you still welcome on day 28?

In 2009 my fake journal I worked with dip pen and watercolor. These are two items I routinely use, but I don't use dip pen daily and I don't use it out in the field much. If you look at my 2009 fake journal you can actually find a lot about the character that is not that distant from me—she loves birds, she studies and sketches birds, she loves to ride her bike, she doesn't play well with others (when those others are simply being stupid!), she is a fiercely loyal friend. We also both had to deal with the death of a friend.

In reality I am many things that this character is not—first, I don't live in a post-epidemic, post-apochalypic present. In 2009 the sky was still full of birds, Interstate 94 was still in good repair, and rule of law was for the most part in evidence. Also, I'm pretty gregarious and I do play well with others (especially when they aren't being simply stupid).

Electing to limit my media fit my fake journaling needs in a number of ways. As far as my character's situation went it was appropriate that she only have one medium to work in because she begins her journal by acknowledging that all her tools, supplies, and even her journal, have been lost in transit. She can't simply go to the art supply store for replacements; she borrows materials from others.

Sometimes there are contextual reasons a character does something or uses something. Discovering that and honoring that will help you understand the character and create a successful fake journal.

Next limiting my supplies allowed me to play more with her response to her world, not her materials. And it allowed me to play with a commercially bound journal with waterproof pages. (For me IFJM is always a chance to use commercially bound journals because I tend to bind 99 percent of the journals I use. The use of a commercially bound journal for IFJM forces me to deal with what I am given rather than the "ideal conditions" I typically create for myself.)

I also believe that working with one medium only during IFJM allows me to focus on that medium and explore new possibilities with it, at the same time I am focusing more directly on the character.

In my 2010 fake journal I put further limitations on my character: she couldn't talk, she had memory problems, she only had a rudimentary commercially bound notebook, a pencil, scissors, and some colored papers. What she did with those materials was dependent on how she was trying to communicate. She was only like me in that she was a communicator. I don't have the same constraints she had and it was very challenging for me to wear those conditions for the 30 to 60 minutes a day that I thought about and worked in that journal. I believe that the end result was not only new insight into myself, but a new attitude about pencils.

Since I routinely work in color in my regular journals and I kept a regular journal throughout IFJM 2010, the lack of having color media to work with was not difficult. It actually freed up my attention.

I would urge you to look at ways that you can free up your own attention so that you can get at what it is you want to accomplish with your fake journal. Make conscious choices now about how you are going to proceed. If things don't work out the way you had hoped, or you find yourself hitting a creative wall you can always give yourself permission to ease into something else. By making conscious choices now about your character and your materials you are focusing your intention for the project.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Expanding Your Choices to Increase Your Fake Journal Success

As you start thinking seriously about your character for IFJM (because April 1 is fast approaching) I want to encourage you to think about all the options and choices you have which might be fun to explore within the framework of a fake journal.

Consider working with a character who is a complete opposite to yourself. If you are young, create an aged character, and vice versa (actually vice versa for all these choices I'm suggesting). Urban/rural, poor/wealthy, employed/unemployed (and any of the variables within employment as to type and location). You can even change sex but keep in mind that particular characteristic will take some deep thought to come out convincing and consistent.

When you make a decision about all of the components of your character's life and specifics keep in mind that your character has to be literate or at least visually literate in order to keep a journal. And your character has to have enough free time to make the keeping of such a journal a possibility—or he/she has to have such a burning desire to write and draw that even the most daunting of circumstances doesn't stop him/her. (If we are privileged to work one job, to have our basic necessities met, to have some leisure time, we can learn a lot from the perspective of a character who is driven to create despite severe impediments.)

Your fake journal is also a great opportunity for letting your bad girl, girly girl, inner geek guy etc. come out.

Ask yourself what you want to examine in April. Ask what is topmost in your brain as you think of IFJM. Jot down the first things that come to mind. Chances are one of those immediate answers will provide a direction to hold your interest for the thirty days of journaling.

And if your internal critic decides to help you with your choices by telling you to wait, to not participate, or by saying this is all silly, you couldn't possibly journal as a woman working as a grounds keeper at a zoo etc., tell the i.c. to take a break (in what ever verbage you wish to use). Now is the time to get firm with the i.c. This is creative play, he's not needed. He can take a break. Tell it to him kindly, sarcastically, playfully, loudly, it doesn't matter. Just tell him. He'll get the message. Maybe not the first time or the second, but after thirty days he'll know where the new boundary lines are.

May all your choices bring you insights.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Do-Overs in Life? Procrastination? Can Your Fake Journal Help?

If you're still sitting on the fence deciding whether or not to keep a fake journal this April for IFJM let me throw another consideration into the mix.

I'm not a person who dwells on the past and regrets. My dog Emma taught me that approach was pretty silly. Even before her presence in my life I'd worked out a little plan that was quite fun—do-overs in my fake journals. An alternate Roz, in an alternate universe who experiences what this Roz (the one writing now) experienced, and an entirely different outcome results. Sort of like the "Sliding Doors" movie, except without all the sadness and loss.

I'm still not advocating an historical fake journal, one that takes you back in time. You'll need to fudge things so the action takes place in April, 2011 so you can journal about it. And I also wouldn't advocate churning up painful past memories that you dealt with long ago. Let them go (that's part of the joy of living in the present moment). But if something is bothering you now and you think you missed an opportunity, well, go ahead and rewrite it on a daily basis this April. See what unfolds. See what new ideas come up that you can use in your current life in positive ways. All journaling helps us see avenues for improvement in our lives, even fake journaling.

Also in some years I've had decisions to make that I put off, using the excuse of being immersed in daily life. On a few occasions I've written a fake journal about a character who actually deals with those decisions. My life wasn't that way, and didn't turn out the same way as the characters', but it always did help my thought processes begin to move towards a decision in my real life.

My mind just needed a push—and my hand moving across the page provided it.

Either way, when the fake journal is filled and closed I've always found a profound sense of gratitude for the life I do have (without the capability of do-overs), or for the ability to problem solve and move my mind forward.

I can't guarantee that the process will work for you that way, but it might be worth a shot.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Defining Some Terms: Faux, Fake, and what about Fake Historical Journals?

As we ramp up to the start of the 2011 International Fake Journal Month I have had a stream of questions about Fake Historical Journals. People have outlined what they intend and it's clear they aren't making a fake journal at all but a "faux" journal. And then there is the matter of the Fake Historical Journal itself which I've written about at the link provided here.

Here is the scoop as concisely as I can make it.

Fake Journals
A fake journal is a journal that is kept by a character of your creation. It is kept day, by day, as any other journal would be. The entries are dated with the date that it actually is on the date it was written, i.e., today's journal entry would be marked 3/14/2011. What is fake about the journal is the fact that the character is not you, and the character is not writing about your life (exception: alternate universe self—but I don't need to explain that to you do I? Go watch Jet Li in "The One" if you don't understand alternate universes as they relate to the self.)

You must keep a fake journal in first person singular, unless your character is a complete and pompous git.

For example: You are writing today, March 14, 2011. Your character is named Charlie and he writes in his journal (with attractive illustrations which we won't show here):
Correct: I went to see "The One" starring Jet Li today and I found that it was an interesting look at alternate selves in alternate universes. March 14, 2011.
Incorrect: Charlie went to the cinema to see "The One" starring Jet Li today. He thought it was an interesting look at alternate selves in alternate universes. March 14, 2011.

So to recap: a fake journal is a daily (or almost so) journal, with dated entries that relate to the ACTUAL date on which you are creating the entry as your character; the entries are created by a character who is not YOU (see exception above); the entries are written in the first person singular.

Fake Historial Journals
A Fake Historical Journal is also a fake journal, but it falls into a subgroup of fake journals. Like a fake journal it is written by someone who is not you (i.e., a character you are adopting while you write/draw); and it is written in the first person singular. Here's the difference: the entries are dated with the same date as the current date on which your are creating the page, HOWEVER the date's YEAR is changed to the historical YEAR you want to reflect.


For example: This time let's say you are doing your entry on April 15, during this year's International Fake Journal Month (2011). Your character is named Lillian; she lives in NYC; she is living in the year is 1912. She writes in her journal:
Correct: This morning I read in the newspapers the horrific news that the Titanic has sunk. No further details are known for sure at this time. April 15, 1912.

Lillian is writing in the first person singular—"I read." The entry is for the day on which you are writing in the present time, i.e., April 15, 2011. But the entry is labeled April 15, 1912 because that's the year in which your fake historical journal is set.

Problems with Historical Fake Journals
Before I leave the definition of historical fake journals I want to point out the difficulty and problems with them. To write a convincing and satisfying historical fake journal you have to do a lot of research. You need to know the events that did happen, or could have happened, in April of the year that your character is writing about. You need to be well versed in the language of the time (for instance in the 1800s "intercourse" was used to describe more than the sexual act). You need to know about the history of technology so your character isn't turning on an oven without filling it with wood, or using gold coins when paper was the norm, etc. You need to know the manners of the time.

The last is probably the most important. If you have ever read a Henry James novel you will know what I mean. For instance, how does Isabel Archer know that her husband has had an affair with the woman Isabel thinks is her friend (I don't recall the character's name, think Barbara Hershey if all you've ever done is viewed the movie)? She knows because when she enters the room at one point the woman is standing and the man is seated. That's not etiquette, and the little wheels start turning in Isabel's mind. Her thought process works in ways that no contemporary heroine's thought process would work and her observations tell Isabel that these two folks are intimate (in all senses of the word, both modern and historical).

This can be extremely fun, the research, the creation of an historical world where you play with all the social and psychological aspects. But I tend to discourage people from writing an historical fake journal for IFJM because of the time commitment. To make it satisfying you really have to do, as I said, a lot of research.

Also the focus shifts from your own self-discovery (not your character's now but YOURS) as you work through another person in an historical period that is not your own. You've added an additional layer that is like gauze hanging in your face. This can be a useful examination, but it might be more than you can cope with in one month during IFJM.

Faux Journals
A faux journal is not really a journal at all just as faux diamonds aren't real diamonds. A faux journal has none of the aspects of journaling. It is not written daily. It is written by the author as a work of fiction often created in a day's worth of binge writing out of which come entries with dates all over the place, instead of the date that they would have been written had it been an actual journal (real or fake). You might actually get the writing correct, i.e., have the first person singular, but there is nothing else that is journal-like about the faux journal. 

One of the important characteristics about fake journals is that they are written like journals are written, on a daily basis.

If you write a faux journal and do 10 entries on a free Saturday, and label those entries April 1 through April 10, 2011, you haven't created a fake journal. You haven't been journaling. You've simply been creating a fiction written in the journal format.

I have nothing against faux journals (there are some interesting works of fiction created as faux journals), but they don't have a place in International Fake Journal Month because they aren't fake journals. They aren't journals at all.

To derive any benefits from IFJM you actually need to work in a journal, actually journaling, day by day. That's the point. It's from that process that you learn something about yourself, about journaling, and about how your creative mind works.

If you create a faux journal, for instance by working feverishly on those 10 entries on a single Saturday afternoon, you might learn something about your creative process, but it is your creative process for writing fiction, not journaling. And you haven't learned anything about journaling that will be of use to you in your real journal.

More on Faux Journals: Either Contemporary or Historical
Faux Journals are simply works of fiction written in the journal format as mentioned in the Faux Journal section above. They are not journals since they weren't written within the constraints of a journaling practice. They then become simply faux journals. These do not have a place in IFJM. They do no meet the criteria of a fake journal as outlined above under Fake Journals.

The past two months I've had several people write to me excited to write an historical fake journal. However, when they describe what they want to do they explain that one entry will be in June 1861, one entry will be in October 1861, the next in November 1861, and so on.

What those people are intending to execute is an historical work of fiction written in the journal format. This is a faux historical journal. 

I've encouraged anyone who wrote to me about that to continue with his or her plan outside of IFJM. They are obviously interested in a character they have in mind. They are eager to write a fiction around that character. But they don't want to be contained by the structure of a fake journal (historical or otherwise).

I have encouraged people interested in writing a faux historical journal to join with the writers at NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which is held every November from November 1 through 30th. That is an appropriate venue for writing a work of fiction in a "group" setting, within a month—whether historical or not, or in journal format or not.

Why Definitions and Distinctions Matter
Now that I've explained the difference between Fake Historical Journals, Fake Journals, and Faux Journals of all kinds, I hope that you'll consider joining me in April to create your Fake Journal (or Fake Historical Journal if you're comfortable with the extra work and research).

I bother with these definitions and distinctions because I want you to have the best possible experience during IFJM. I want you to come away from the project with the greatest insight possible. I hope that each of you discovers something new about how to work in a journal, how to see with a fresh eye, and ultimately how to let go of the clutter that is hampering your actual journaling habit.

I bother with these definitions and distinctions because I don't want you to jump gleefully into the creation of a fake historical journal and them come up for air screaming, "Why didn't Roz warn me there would be so much detail work, so much research!?"

My goal is not to make your life miserable for a month. My goal is to prepare you to have the best fake journal experience you can have, by pointing out the ins and outs. I've been creating fake journals for decades. I know that some approaches are easier than others (i.e., anything is easier than a fake historical journal). I know that some concepts are overwhelming to accomplish unless you take the month of April off—and which of us can do that?

International Fake Journal Month is about taking a small task you can do everyday, build on everyday, and learn from everyday. It's also about having fun. So if you understand the definitions and distinctions you're going to have a chance for success (however you define it) and a chance for greater fun.

I hope this post helps to that end.

Let's not lose sight of the motto of IFJM: Life's so short, why live only one.
Life, any life real or fake, is lived one day at a time, and journaled about one day at a time.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

How to Enter the 2011 International Fake Journal Month Contest—Part 3: Project Journal Infiltration Phase Two within Your Fake Journal

This year for International Fake Journal Month (IFJM) in addition to the publishing and promoting portions of the contest I've got a side contest running. This third portion of the contest is actually a spin off of the year-long contest now going on at Roz Wound Up—Project Journal Infiltration.

Project Journal Infiltration (PJI) is my quest to be included in as many journals as possible before I die. You can read full details about Project Journal Infiltration at the link.

(Note: The PJI contest actually runs through September 5, 2011 so the title of its post has confused some people. The contest started in 2010.)

In PJI people are asked to sketch me FROM LIFE in their journals and then send me a jpg of that page.

Well, immediately people from all over expressed a desire to participate. But sadly I don't travel that much and not everyone can come to me. Also I wanted everyone to draw from life for the main project.

However, that doesn't mean we can't bend the rules of PJI for IFJM!!!

With the help of my friend, photographer Tom Nelson, I now have several photos of me that I have posted as a page on this blog. 

For your fake journal for this year's International Fake Journal Month you can select one or more of these photos for drawing reference and draw me into your fake journal—well your character who is keeping the journal can do this.

It isn't ideal to draw from photos, but hey, it's a fake journal after all.

There are a couple guidelines you need to which you need to pay attention when participating in Project Journal Infiltration Phase Two—International Fake Journal Month:

1. You do need to create this fake sighting in a fake journal, not your regular journal. (You do not have to be participating in the publishing contest however, so this might be the only page from your fake journal we see. All the guidelines for the fake journaling contest apply to this page or page spread as well.)

2. No nudity or salacious content when Roz is present. Nothing impolite, mean, etc. My taste in art is pretty wide, in styles and subject matter. If you are sending links or images for this portion of the contest that include excessive or gratuitous violence, child abuse, or pornographic elements a sketch of me in that type of situation don't bother you would be disqualified.

3. No putting words into my mouth. You can either observe me in some public area or you can "quote me" as saying something you have read on my blog, Roz Wound Up.

For example, this jumps immediately to mind, you might sketch me and write—I saw this odd woman today talking to a group of people and she actually said, "Bingo, Bango." You might know I say "Bingo Bango" from reading my blog post "Collage and Sketching: A Look inside a Recent Journal—Part Three of Three." (You don't have to provide the reference page.

Or another example, your character is writing:
I went through MCBA today and this woman was teaching. She said, "Well, that’s just WRONG. Journals aren’t about saving paper for some special painting, epiphany, or skill level that you’re going to attain. Journals are for documenting your life and some of that documentation will take the form of text." (Which actually comes from one of my Journaling Superstition Posts.)

Get the idea?

OK, here's an even simpler example, your character goes to a public event and draws all the people in the crowd and Roz is one of the people. How simple is that?

4. A couple tips, I'm 5 ft. 3 inches tall so I'm not going to stick out in a crowd. I have brown eyes. I was last seen hugging someone in 1998 (well not quite, but you get the idea). I am not now, nor have I ever been, a participant in any Xtreme sports such as skateboarding, skiing, etc., though I do enjoy a speedy bicycle ride. Friends will tell you that I hum constantly—tunes of my own composition. I laugh quite a lot. And at interminable length.

Sending Your Entry In
You can create your fake sighting of me at any time throughout April 2011. The entry needs to be dated just like all your other journal entries. You do have to be keeping a fake journal, even if you aren't participating in the publishing contest.

You can either send me a link to your own blog post for the date/post that you post the fake journal entry including Roz or you need to send a jpg to me of the page or page spread on which Roz appears. The jpg needs to be 500 pixels wide and 72 dpi. (DO NOT send larger files, they will go in the trash folder. Each file sent must be smaller than 1.3MB and sent attached to a separate email.) The emails should come to me at rozjournalrat@gmail.com, with "PJI for IFJM  #" in the subject line (the number being which entry you are up to).

You can enter up to 5 times over the course of the month. But each sighting must be on a separate day and so dated. (Multiple sketches of me in different poses on a page or page spread, or within a dated entry, count only as one entry, just like the main PJI contest.) Also the sighting must in some way work with the other activity that is happening in your fake journal.

Include your mailing address in the first entry so I can send your prize if you win.


(And just in case you are worried, I will not use your postal addresses for anything or give them to anyone. I ask for them in your first entry because in past contests I've sometimes had difficulty tracking down the winners. I'd like to simply pop the books in the mail when the drawing is finished!)

By entering you are also granting me permission to post your entry on this blog, or on Roz Wound Up, with an appropriate credit line, so please provide one.

People participating in Project Journal Infiltration for International Fake Journal Month have until May 3 to send me their final image (first or fifth) or a link to their post of it on their own blog. I'm allowing time for people working on April 30 time to scan and send that day's entry).

The drawing for the prize for "PJI for IFJM Contest" will be held on May 3, or as soon as I am able to do so after that.

So now if you don't live in the Twin Cities area and can't bump into me to draw me from life you have an opportunity to join in the fun of Project Journal Infiltration (Phase Two). Go to the album of photo references of me and begin sketching me into your 2011 Fake Journal now. (You can also find this album of photo references by looking in the right hand side column for "PAGES" located below "About Me," the copyright notice, and "subscribe" widgets.

The prize for this contest is book C in the post linked here.

Note: you do not have to live in the U.S. to enter. I will send the prize out overseas.

Friday, March 11, 2011

How to Enter the 2011 International Fake Journal Month Contest—Part 2: Promoting International Fake Journal Month on Your Blog

The instructions for IFJM contests are a bit involved. Therefore, I have broken them into three searchable posts. This part is for people who want to participate in 2011's celebration by promoting the event on their own blog with a sidebar button link. See the prize for the promotion portion of the contest at yesterday's blog post (book B in the image).

To enter this contest you will need follow the following steps:

1. Go to Roz Wound Up and scroll down until you see the International Fake Journal Month Button in the left column: it is a blue dog on a pink background.

2. Click on this image, drag it to your desktop or put it in the folder you store your own blog information in.

3. Keep this bit of code handy, it's the link you'll need:
http://officialinternationalfakejournalblog.blogspot.com/

4. Go to the "design" page of your blog, however that is set up in your blog platform. You will need to upload the IFJM dog button to your blog and then put it in the margin column on your blog—just as you add other buttons. Here's an example of how to do it with Blogger:
Go to your dashboard and find LAYOUT, and then Page Elements. Click on "ADD A GADGET" in the column of your blog outline. A selection of gadgets will come up.
Scroll down to one that reads "PICTURE" and select it. You will be asked to give it a title and caption. DON'T DO THAT AS THEY SHOW UP AND MAKE IT LOOK MESSY. Instead leave those lines blank.

FOR LINK you want to enter the URL for this blog as provided in step 3 above.

Next you need to click the button under Image, that says "From your computer" there is a circle that should have a dot in it when you select it.

Next hit BROWSE button next to that open box under "From your computer" and navigate to the folder on your desktop where you put that IFJM dog button/logo and SELECT that image. Follow any other instructions to upload it. It should take only seconds and you'll be back at this box where you want to be sure "shrink to fit is selected (it's the default and anyway I think my logo is about 220 pixels, don't recall). Then click save.

You will return to the outline of your blog and the new element will be in the column and you can drag it where you want it, click save and you're done.
5. Once you have posted the link button for IFJM on your blog you need to send me an email with a link to YOUR blog, so that I can go and verify that it's there. I'll check when you put up the notice. Write to me at rozjournalrat@gmail.com, with "Contest Promotion IFJM" in the subject line.

6. To be eligible for this contest you'll need to post the button on your blog by April 10 and display it until May 3.

7. You do not need to participate in IFJM and keep a fake journal—this part of the contest is for all those folks who are still sitting on the fence. You like the idea of participating and would love to encourage people to do so, but your circumstances don't allow you to participate this year.

If you follow these instructions and meet these criteria then your name will go into the drawing for journal B in the photo above. The drawing will be held after I have verified listings on May 3.

The prize for this contest is book B in the photo from yesterday's post.
 
Thank you for helping to spread the word about International Fake Journal Month!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

How to Enter the 2011 International Fake Journal Month Contest—Part 1: Publishing Your Fake Journal Pages

Left: The three prize books for the three parts of 2011's celebration of International Fake Journal Month. All books are handmade by me (Roz), with hand-painted decorative paper on the covers. Book A is 3-1/2 x 4-1/8 inches and contains 90 lb. Winsor & Newton HP Watercolor paper. It will go to the winner of the participation (i.e., posting/publishing) portion of this year's contest described in today's post. Book B is 3-1/4 x 4-3/8 inches and contains Gutenberg paper. It will go to the winner of the promotion contest, details of which will be posted tomorrow. Book C is is 3-1/2 x 4-1/8 inches and contains 90 lb. Winsor & Newton HP Watercolor paper. It will go to the winner of Project Journal Infiltration Phase Two in IFJM. Details for that contest will be posted in a couple days. All books have a value of $18.00. In the event of some unforeseen incident and destruction equal value items will be substituted as determined by the contest coordinator, that's me (Roz). Click on the image to view an enlargement.

The instructions for IFJM contests are a bit involved, i.e., I can't resist having multiple parts and ways to participate. Therefore, I have broken the contest into three searchable posts. This part is for people who want to participate in the 2011 International Fake Journal Project and publish their work electronically.

There are two ways to enter the publishing portion of the 2011 contest.

A.
Post your fake journal pages on YOUR OWN BLOG during the month of April. You must post a minimum of 8 (eight) journal pages or spreads (depending on whether your dated entry is the page or the spread, i.e., some spreads may have two dated entries on them and that spread would then count as two entries. (People who try to game the system by putting 8 entries on one page spread, please think again and join in the spirit of the contest—a spread will never count for more than 2 dated entries, even if so labeled.)

Next, you will need to send me a link to your blog EACH TIME you post an fake journal image on your blog. Send me a link to your POST not your blog.

The email should go to rozjournalrat@gmail.com. Subject line: IFJM MY BLOG Post # (and list the number, 1 through 8 as appropriate). You need to provide a link to your blog in the body of your message. Include your postal address with your first entry so that I can mail your prize if you win.

Please don't wait to send me notification until the end of April, as I will be putting up a weekend update with any links provided. In this way, people who arrive at this blog will find your blog and your journal pieces as you are working.

OR YOU CAN DO THE FOLLOWING:

B. Send me at least 8 jpgs (of pages or spreads; entries as defined in item A) from throughout the month of April. They need to be 500 pixels wide and 72 dpi. (DO NOT send larger files, you will go in the trash folder. Each file sent must be smaller than 1.3MB and sent attached to a separate email.) The emails should come to me at rozjournalrat@gmail.com, with "IFJM YOU POST #" in the subject line (the number being which entry you are up to, 1 through 8 of course).

Include your mailing address in the first entry so I can send your prize if you win.

People participating in part B have until May 3 to send me their fifth image (this assumes they might have created that image on April 30 and not had time to scan and send it).

The drawing for the prize for "Contest Post" will be held as soon as I have 1. checked all the links sent me by people following option A, and 2. posted all the images received by May 2 (I don't know how quickly I'll be able to post things if there is a large participation in the contest).

Everyone posting his or her fake journal entries from April 2011 in either of these two ways will become eligible for the drawing for journal A in the photo at the top of this post. (Journal A is copper fabric covered journal.)

(And just in case you are worried, I will not use your postal addresses for anything or give them to anyone. I ask for them in your first entry because in past contests I've sometimes had difficulty tracking down the winners. I'd like to simply pop the books in the mail when the drawing is finished!)

There you have it. Two ways to share your fake journal work with the world and participate in the journal give away.

I hope you'll consider helping me spread the word about International Fake Journal Month by joining Contest Promotion too! (Details for promotion participation appear in tomorrow's.)

Note: you do not have to live in the U.S. to enter. I will send these prizes out overseas.

VERY IMPORTANT SUBJECT MATTER RESTRICTIONS:
Here's the deal: My taste in art is pretty wide, in styles and subject matter. If you are sending links and images for the contest that include excessive or gratuitous violence, child abuse, or pornographic elements I would rule against listing and including them on this blog. I made a distinction in 2009 about nudity that bears repeating: If your character is spending all his time in life-drawing sessions those pages would probably fall within the guidelines (and there are many other instances where nudity would also fall within the parameters of posting), but if your character is involved in X-rated sexual behavior and sketching those events—probably not.

I know someone could make a fabulous fake journal about the latter, and indeed, about some of the other excluded topics—but I think to be valuable, that artist will need to explore those things in private first. Many fake journals are best not published. I feel an obligation to protect the creator who might rush to show work in the context of the month-long project, before considering aspects of exposure and privacy. That breach of the artist's personal boundaries defeats many of the positive effects of fake journaling.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Time to Gear Up for International Fake Journal Month 2011

It's time, if you haven't already begun, to start thinking about this year's fake journal project. You've read my post on International Fake Journal Month, what it is and what a fake journal is.

To broaden your understanding of International Fake Journal Month and the process of keeping a fake Journal I also suggest that you take a moment to read my post "To Prep or Not to Prep…"

In that post I walk you through my process of selecting my 2010 book, my testing of art materials, and how I set parameters for the project's daily activity. This overview will provide a template for your own decisions if you have not worked on a project like this before. There will always be little inconveniences, and sometimes large inconveniences, that pop up. Part of the fun of IFJM is the surprises that you're faced with on the spur of a moment. How you negotiate those surprises will give you new skills to bring back to your regular journal practice.

I harp on this a lot, so this year will be no different. Remember it is important that you consider the time commitment you give to this project. I want you to have a successful 2011 IFJM. I want you to have lots of pages at the end of April, as well as a sense of having reached something inside your journaling process. To do that, to have the best possibility for success I know that you need to keep the daily time commitment small. Thirty minutes is great, sixty minutes is pretty much the end of the world.

Fake journaling is not something that you can do on weekend journaling binges. Fake journaling, just like your regular journaling, is something that is done on a daily basis. Finding time for a fake journal on a daily basis means that you need to look at your life, your current commitments, your family obligations, your work schedule, and then make an honest assessment of how much time each day you can give to this project. Perhaps you'll do a Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule and only produce 12 entries for the month. That's huge. If that fits with your life, go with it. It is better to commit to something that is doable than to overwhelm yourself and bow out before you reach your goal—exhausted and frustrated.

If you haven't selected a journal to house your fake journal yet, I recommend that you read this post: "International Fake Journal Month Is Only 56 Days Away! In that post I walk you through some steps that will help you decide what type of journal you'll be using.

For me, because I make my own journals 99.9 percent of the time, IFJM is my opportunity to try out commercially bound journals. You have to think about things like the type of media you'll be using, and who your character is and the type of art that character will be creating. Does he need smooth paper for writing or rough paper for watercolor washes, etc. Will the art be black and white, full of color, lots of collage (so heavier weight papers for pages will work as better support), etc.

Journal size and page size are also important, both because of the type of media you're using (if you use a fine tipped pen and have an 11 x 15 inch page to fill that's a huge time commitment each day) and portability issues (will you be taking the journal with you or will it be sitting on your desk for the start or end of the day?). If you would like to use a commercially bound journal but don't know many choices, read my "Commercially Bound Journals" page at Roz Wound Up, my regular blog. That page will give you some suggestions and possibilities to which you can begin to apply your character's criteria and tastes.
What am I going to do in 2011? Currently the plan is to use a large 8.25 x 11.75 inch Moleskine, portrait, sketchbook—with those slick, yellowy pages that people always complain about. I'm thinking that I'll use acrylic paints if I can't get gouache and other media to work on the pages. I'm not doing any pre-testing of the pages, I'll just see how it goes as my character dives in. One thing I am convinced of is that this year's character does not pre-cut pages out of her journals to make room for collage on other pages, so I expect that by the end of the month the journal will start to bulge at the fore edge.

The one potential drawback to the Moleskine plan right now is that when I took the wrapping off the journal it had a rather strong chemical smell, and the smell is coming from the paper. This year I have set aside time to work in the larger format and if the pages don't air out in time, I might have to go with a different book.  There's no way I can bend my head over these smelly pages for the working time I've set aside. I have a landscape format watercolor paper Moleskine of the same size that I could use. I am not fond of the landscape format (and I wanted to use those slick pages), but I bought that book 2 years ago and it has aired out.  We'll see.
If you've read this introductory material and have selected your book to work in, take a moment to read "Get Ready, Get Set—Now Throw Out All Your Prep…" This post is a sort of final pep talk for participants last year, and the information still applies.

Whether you are a returning participant or this is your first go at keeping a fake journal, the main thing to remember is that IFJM is really, really fun. You get to leave your internal critic behind and go exploring. You get to explore not only new ideas and new character traits, but also new visual ideas and methods (if that appeals to you).

If you are going to spend 30 to 60 minutes a day for the month of April, you need to spend a little prep time now, reading the above links and becoming aware of the ins and outs of the possibilities of the project. It might be that you discover this project is not for you. It might also happen that you end up starting tomorrow (you can keep a fake journal any time, it's just that April is International Fake Journal Month and it's fun to celebrate then!).

If you do decide that this project if for you, I look forward to hearing from you about how the project is going for you—what are your discoveries and epiphanies? Do you have a sticking point or problem you need feedback on? If you do, chances are someone else does too, so I'll try to answer as many questions as I can relating to the practice of fake journaling.

Tomorrow I'll start posting details on this year's contest–drawing. It's divided into three parts. I'll explain the entry process and announce the prizes in three posts.  And again this year, you'll be able to help spread the word by putting a small linking button on your blog. (I'll have details about that in a couple days.)

My main goal for today was to get you all thinking about picking up a new journal, and letting your character speak.

I hope it's a great 2011 IFJM for you all!