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 2017
Currently there are no contests planned for 2017. Check the side bar "Contests for 2017" to see if this changes.

Participants who Post Their Journals
A list of 2017 participants who are posting their fake journals this year will appear near the top of the right side bar of this blog around April 5. Lists of participants who posted their pages in 2010 through 2016 appear 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?"


Saturday, March 31, 2012

Want To See What You're Playing For?—The 2012 Contest Prize

Left: A handmade journal from Roz, see description below, is this year's prize. Click on the image to view an enlargement.



I've been trying to streamline the administration end of IFJM. The easiest way to do that was to cut back on the need for participants to email me with jpgs and updates and contact information.

In 2012 participants must do the following to enter the drawing:

1. Post on a public blog, Flickr, or other type website 5 (five) page spreads (or pages if they are working on one side of a page only) from their 2012 fake journal.  Ideally each page spread or page represents one journal entry. Journal entries must be from different days, i.e., all 5 pages spreads cannot be created on one day. Journal keepers who are writing short paragraph entries or doing multiple small entries must post entries from 10 days.

2. Send an email with the subject line, IFJM 2012 Participant, to rozjournalrat@gmail.com. The email must include a direct link to your fake journal blog, or if you are posting on your regular blog you must include a direct link to the first post (or first Flickr post and album). (If I can't find your images I can't list you so please make it easy on me.)

Throughout the month, as entries come in, I will create a list of 2012 participants. This list will sit in the right-hand column of this blog. Readers can use this list to check up on the progress of the various participants.

It is unnecessary to send any jpgs or other links to me. There is no need to contact me whenever you post another entry. All you have to concentrate on is making the best fake journal your days allow.

You are welcome at any time to send me a note about how your project is going, or a note asking questions  about the process. I look forward to hearing from you! With reduced paper work I hope to be able to respond more quickly!

At the end of the month I will use the participants link list as the pool from which to draw the winner.

The winner will be notified and asked to send a postal address where I can send the prize. If the winner doesn't respond within 72 hours of the drawing I will draw an alternate and repeat the process. The drawing will take place on May 4 and because of the notification and response time the drawing results may not be posted until sometime early in May.

ENTRY DEADLINE: You may enter the contest any time in April, even if you only discover this project at the end of the month. My goal is to encourage as many people as possible to try this experience. You must notify me by NOON on April 30 that you have posted your 5 entries. So in calendar time you will have to start your fake journal no later than April 25 to make the five page spread (pages) entry requirement. (See item 1 above.)

The prize is a 76-page, 6.5 x 8.25 inch journal, handmade by me with Gutenberg paper. This is a 180 gs cream paper with flecks and a slight pebbly texture. The paper takes wet or dry media well. In this scan of a gouache painting in a Gutenberg journal you can see the lovely laid texture of the paper. You can see another page from one of my Gutenberg journals here. (The actual page size of the book is slightly smaller than the cover dimensions.) Retail price on the book is $80.00. (In the event of unforeseen destruction I will provide a substitute of equal value.)

This is one of my favorite papers for journaling and I know the winner of this book will have a wonderful time filling it with "real" journal entries. The size is also wonderful for carrying with you every day.

What You Are Really Playing For

Prizes are always great, but in this event what you are really playing for is some self-knowledge and a bit of understanding about your real journaling process. Time spent in your fake journal might seem unrelated to your real journaling process, but freed from your regular constraints, considerations, paper, media, etc., you will find insights into what is or isn't working in your regular journal practice.

Use this time to discover how you like (or don't like) working in a new medium; how a certain commercially available journal works (or doesn't) for you; how a new size of journal changes your perspective; or how stepping aside from yourself for a few minutes a day shuts up your internal critic.

Private Fake Journals

Every year a number of people write to tell me they have kept a private fake journal. For a variety of reasons, all of which I respect and understand (not all of my fake journals are public), they don't participate in the public aspects of IFJM. I value their contribution to the effort and am always interested to hear about such adventures.

Often the most intense and meaningful discoveries are those we make privately while we work unconcerned whether or not our work will be seen by others. If that approach suits your needs I still hope you will participate.

And if your life doesn't allow the fit of one more endeavor at the present time I hope that you'll check back here every so often and click on the list of participants to view what they are up to. Take a moment to give them some encouragement and ponder where they are headed.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Selecting a Journal for 2012 IFJM and Some Pre-IFJM Contest Musing

Left: Some Stonehenge Journals with altered covers stand behind "fresh" wirebound journals. I'll be using the 6 x 12 inch blue journal at the back for my 2012 fake journal. Read below for details. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

Because I make my own journals for my daily use I like to select commercially bound journals for use during International Fake Journal Month. This helps me distance myself from the "character" who is keeping the journal.

This year I started testing a couple types of paper and a couple commercially bound journals, but I wasn't finding anything that I liked. On a whim I took a 7 x 7 inch Stonehenge journal off my shelf and started playing with inks on the last page. I knew that my character would be taking walks so I wanted something portable. I thought that there might be a lot of architecture in the journal because I'd like to sketch more scenes and buildings. Suddenly I realized my character would be at the same place everyday and I would need a larger book than the 7 x 7 inch book. The "end" of the month flashed in my brain. I started to back off of the idea.

My reluctance came from the rather somber nature of the concept. For me IFJM was always about looking into the dark side of things, exploring my somber side. But when I went public on the internet with IFJM in 2009 I found that my projects, while still a bit on the dark side (there always seems to be some death or injury), were in many ways upbeat (at least in certain aspects).

Well the last 18 months I have found a tendency in my regular journal work to become more and more personal. I show less of it to others. I select portions I take to classes for student viewing more carefully. I'm moving into a more private mode, which is a typical cycle for me.

I realized that the IFJM idea I had "settled" upon was not something I could share publicly. I also decided it wasn't an idea I wanted to work on at the present time. I believe that character has a lot to teach me, but not now.

So instead this year I'm going to take a bit more playful approach. Currently I am thinking that there will be a recurring motif about a certain someone in my fake journal: his name is Frank. You'll meet him soon enough if I go that way. I'll include illustrations and a bit of text each day. As usual I'll begin in medias res.

In order to work in this journal I will be creating a backstory from which to work, but I won't be supplying any backstory when I post the images. I am considering holding a contest for readers to suggest a backstory and then printing both of them after IFJM. I'm still thinking about the contests.

You get the idea, there is a lot up in the air about IFJM this year. That's another reason I wanted to be a little bit more playful this year.

I'm focusing this year on making changes to the public face of IFJM so that it runs with less administration time for me. If I'm successful at my attempts it means that next year I can go back to my more somber and challenging ideas because I'll have more time to explore them.

Immediate Changes To the Organization of IFJM
This year, instead of asking everyone to send jpgs for me to post here, or to have people send me links to "x-number" of posts on their own blogs so that they can be eligible for a prize drawing, I will be asking that everyone post his or her own images on a blog or website for which a link can be provided.

As soon as a participant has posted 5 pages and sent me a link I'll go and check out their posts at that time. The link will then be placed in the link list of 2012 participants in the right column of this blog. The introductory material on the blog will direct readers to that list. Whatever shape the contest takes this year, the winner will come from that list.

This will immediately free up more time for me to make and scan my own work. And I won't have to keep track of links and addresses and such.

Watch for additional changes as they are finalized.


In the meantime, I hope you are selecting paper that you will enjoy working on for a month, ditto media!

Take a moment to read past posts about preparing for IFJM by scanning the category cloud.

It is most important to spend a little bit of time thinking about who your character is. He or she will be writing your journal in the first person, a little bit each day (ideally) or a little bit several times a week, during April 2012. You want to be sure that he or she is someone with whom you can live and grow.

To test your idea you might want to write a brief background of your character. This isn't part of your journal because it isn't written in the first person. It's just a little examination of who your character is, what she or he might want. What goals does your character have? What occupation? What quirks? How will you be able to pull off writing and sketching from the perspective of that person? Will you have to do some research? Will you be interviewing someone who has that job? Do you have the time, each day in April, to make progress in your project, in a meaningful and significant way? Which is more important to you—experimenting with a visual style or with the text? How does the project further your current art goals? How can you tweak the project so that it better supports your current art goals or personal goals?

Keep in mind that it is perfectly suitable to keep an IFJM journal with no text at all, and no explanation. Only YOU need to know what is going on and what will be a consistent action (and art action) on the part of your character. You do not need to explain anything to anyone! (I do recommend that at the end of the month you write a background note and paste it into the back of your fake journal so that 10 years from now you can remind yourself what the perspective of your character was—even who she or he was.)

So now it's time to do some serious thought for your project. Don't sweat it, just sit down and think about it, start taking some notes, let it grow. If you find an idea that appeals to you let it sit in your brain for a couple days and ask yourself "when during MY day would I be able to write from this character's perspective?" The answers may surprise you. If after two or three days you find the idea begins to lose its shine, go back to the drawing board for a new concept.

While I know that I'll be working in the thin, blue-covered book shown above, I'm not sure yet that my final idea has fully gelled. I have a couple weeks to let it percolate.

I hope you'll all consider joining me this year with your own fake journal. I look forward to seeing them.