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?"


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Gearing Up to Participate in International Fake Journal Month 2014

It may seem early to write about IFJM 2014, but recently I have received several emails from people who want to get started now, or who want to be sure to participate in 2014 but aren't sure how to go about it. To help them, and any others in similar circumstances, I've created this post. It will sit at the top of the blog until I begin regular pre-celebration posts sometime around February or early March 2014.

Starting a Fake Journal Immediately

If you want to start keeping a fake journal now, by all means go ahead. A fake journal can be kept at any time of the year. I do suggest that you set a time limitation so that you can intensely focus on your project. A month is a good scheme. Two weeks would be a minimum to achieve a reasonable effect and result. This will also give you a trial run to see how this activity fits in your regular life with your current journaling habit, work and family obligations, etc.

Whenever you start I strongly recommend that you read the posts I've listed below in "Recommended Reading."

Participating in the 2014 IFJM Celebration

All you have to do is start keeping a fake journal in April 2014 (which is the next celebration). Then after you've got 4 or 5 pages posted you can send me a link at rozjournalrat@gmail.com. 

I'll check out the link and add you to the list of the 2014 participants. The list will appear in the side column of the blog. (You can see past years' participants in lists there now.)

The link you send to me should be EITHER

1. A link to the dedicated fake journal blog you set up—some people like to keep their fake journal separate from other blogs/and posts.

OR

2. A link to the FIRST blog post that is about your 2014 fake journal if you post about your fake journal on your regular blog. (You can get a direct link to that post by clicking on the title of that post in your browser. That post will then come up as a single entity and your browser address line will then be dedicate to that post, eg., 
goes to a specific post on my blog, the post about the video flip through. This would be the type of link you would need to send.

goes to the blog in general and shows the latest post. If you send a link like this I will NOT be able to use it, and won't be able to add you to the list. I get a ton of mail about IFJM every year. Emails which require me to go to a site and SEARCH for a first entry or any entry are ignored by me because of time crunch in my life.

OR

3.  If you use Flickr you can send me a DIRECT link to your first posting there. I DO NOT RECOMMEND this because in the past people have had trouble navigating Flickr links and finding the "string" of postings, but you can suit yourself.

I think it works best when someone creates a blog dedicated to fake journaling for their posts so that people going to the provided link can quickly read through the fake journaling posts, starting with the first entry and working their way through the progress. This causes the least amount of reader frustration and ensures that more people will stick with and follow your fake journal and not give up in frustration. 

But if you post on a regular blog where most of your posts for April are fake-journal related and there is only one or two non-fake journal month blog posts people have to sift through, that can also work well. (Be sure to create a category on your regular blog that is for IFJM 2014 so readers can quickly find all related posts.)

Blogspot allows you to have multiple free blogs so it isn't difficult to set up a free blog there dedicated to fake journaling should you wish to do so. There are other free platforms as well.

Note: You can also participate in IFJM 2014 "privately." To do so you simply keep a fake journal without posting anywhere. For many people this is the best option because it allows them to feel the most free from "prying eyes," and allows them to fully inhabit the character who is creating the journal. 
If you participate privately but would like to receive a button you'll need to send me jpgs of 5 page spreads from throughout the month. (You can blacken out or fuzz up any personal details you wish on the jpgs. The purpose of receiving these dated entries is to demonstrate your participation over the month, because only participants can receive buttons. I will not post your entries anywhere. You will not be added to the list of participants because your participation is private.) You will also need to include a check to cover the package and posting costs of sending the button out to you. (If you are local, you can also just show me your fake journal in person at some event we both attend, such as a sketch out. But let me know in advance so I can bring a button.)

Recommended Reading

I typically start posting messages on preparing for fake journal month and choosing a book etc. sometime at the end of February or in March. You can get a jump on things by reading old posts like these which cover vital information:



You can use the category cloud in the side column of this blog to find:


Tips On Fake Journaling (I inadvertently had two categories so you'll have to scan both):

"Creative Play" is a very important topic covered in the categories list.

"Thoughts on the process" is also a critically important part of fake journaling. Doing a self-debriefing  at the end of April is an essential component. So if you read about debriefing in the process section of posts you'll have a heads up of how to creatively think about the process over time.

Some Words of Advice

I strongly recommend that you avoid creating a fake journal that is kept by/created by an animal or inanimate object.

I get a lot of mail about this. It really is a difficult thing to pull off. Think about this. If you are writing a first person (and journals are in first person) journal by an animal how does that animal write or draw in that journal?

The same is true of an inanimate object.

The purpose of IFJM is for the participants to inhabit another character/personality for a month. This allows the participant freedom to explore other art media and modes of expression not typical or usually employed. IFJM gives you a free pass to create in expressive ways you may deny yourself already.

If you set up your conditions so that the journal is by an animal or an inanimate object you are cutting yourself off from the most valuable aspects of the project.

If you are set on exploring life as an animal or inanimate object I recommend that you create a project to do that privately, or through other creative online projects like writing a novel in a month.

I want you to have the best experience possible in IFJM and that means I want you to stretch creatively in thought and through the media you use. Animals and inanimate objects do not lend themselves to first person visual journaling.

I also strongly recommend that you avoid creating a fake HISTORICAL journal. We all lead very busy lives. In order for real benefit to come from fake journaling you need to participate daily (or almost every day) in a concentrated period of time. This allows you to stay in character and focus on what your character is doing, how she lives, how he works creatively, etc. Fake Historical journals require a TON of research for facts, figures, dates, etc. You need to know the customs of the time about which you're writing. You need to know the style of dress, the objects that would be present, the vocabulary that they would use, the speech/writing patterns they would employ, the art materials that person would have access to. 

Social status in historical fake journals will also limit your character's scope of expression. If you're writing about a maid's desire to paint in the 1860s she isn't going to have much access to paper, tools, or media; and she will have no spare time—they literally worked from dawn to a very late bedtime.

People get so caught up in doing research to get things right that they lose out on having time to actually execute their fake journal. Anachronisms invariably creep in, diluting the effect, and creating a jarring disconnect in the mind of the readers if you post publicly. 

If you are intent on writing a fake historical journal I urge you to work on that project through other online programs, again, such as writing a novel in a month. You are essentially attempting to write an historical fiction in the first person, in diary/journal form, so it's a much better fit for one of those projects.

Focus instead on a project that is manageable and doable within the constraints of your own life's obligations. A project which focuses on someone living now. Set up what the character's life is like with a few notes to yourself on his or her occupation, habits, hobbies, skills. From that list let the character evolve and begin to speak with you. You can have them deal with issues that matter to you—these may be artistic as in learning to use a new medium, or personal, as in dealing with juggling time constraints between work and family. Look at these factors not from your perspective, but from the character's perspective given the other constraints of that character's life. In that way you'll begin to get at some issues you find relate to your own creative process—your fear of failure, your internal critic, your aversion to or adherence to risk, your pride, your timidity, etc. Your character can allow you to explore what it's like to be different for an entire month. 

Promoting International Fake Journal Month


Please note that there is no longer a contest/drawing for promotion. That was in 2011. However the post I've linked to will give you detailed instructions on how to add the official IFJM button onto your blog in its margin column. Please note that the image of the blue and white dog on a pink background with a caption "APRIL IS INTERNATIONAL FAKE JOURNAL MONTH" is found, as the instructions state, on my Roz Wound Up blog (in the margin), below the category list and pages list. That button is the only button image to be used for promoting IFJM on your blog.

The 2014 Button and Contests

I design a button each year for the celebration of IFJM. Each button contains the years' tag line. The design of the button is announced in February or March. 

Buttons cost practically nothing for me to have made, but they do cost something to ship. As the participation has grown over the years I'm no longer able to absorb postage costs for sending out buttons. Each year I post a postage cost which is the cost of the package and postage (the button is free). Participants can send a check for that amount and receive a button. (Local participants can receive a button without mailing costs simply by meeting me at the MCBA Visual Journal Collective or any sketch outing that I happen to attend—if you let me know in advance to bring you a button.)

Some years, depending on my own time constraints, I run contests related to IFJM. These are typically drawings, and the rules for getting into the drawing vary. If there is to be a contest in 2014 details will be released in March 2014.


I hope this post helps you gear up for IFJM 2014. I look forward to hearing from you all in April 2014.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Links to Wrap Ups for the 2013 Fake Journals

Apologies for being behind in posting about the wrap ups for April 2013!

I consider the wrap-up portion of the celebration of International Fake Journal Month a crucial part of the entire process. My family has needed my free-time for the past several months as we got Dick's parents' home ready for sale (it sold on July 9th!).

I wrote my own wrap up at the end of April as is my habit. It promptly got buried in 66 years of materials and files from the folks which are now in our space and have to be sorted. I'll post my wrap up as soon as it resurfaces. (That will teach me to not write it in my regular journal—I thought I was being oh, so smart.)

In the meantime the following 2013 participants have written about keeping a fake journal during April of this year. You can go to the link provided and read what each has to say about her experiences.

Be sure to check out the 2013 Participants list in the right hand column of this blog. Those links in that list will take you to the actual postings of their pages.

I'd like to thank everyone who participated this year for making it a fun celebration of fakeness. 



Please take a moment to visit these links and see what the participants have to say. You might gain insights into what to look for in your own experience, or what to plan for in future fake journaling efforts.

Also, if you sent in a link to your wrap up thoughts about your 2013 fake journal and you aren't on the list in this post I apologize again. Your link isn't buried in the files on my desk, but your email is buried in the hundreds of email alerts telling me people were going to visit the folks' house, and that their alarm was being turned off and then on. (The internet provides us with wonderful tools for sitting across town and monitoring another dwelling!)

So if I have overlooked you please take a moment to resend that email containing a link to your wrap up post. I will add you to this list.

In a sort of related note I have to say that much of what I did in my fake journal in 2013 has seeped into my other journaling work this year. I've been drawn to pattern, discovered a passion of pink (I know, I know) and just generally stopped trying to explain anything in my real journal because it has become very evident to me through current life events that many things are not explainable, or if we stop to explain them we might lose the thread to which we hold. Better to hold on to that thread. Better to journal than not journal. 

Thank you all again for your wonderful work through this celebration, for making it truly one of the funnest parts of my year. I will get my wrap up posted when it resurfaces (I have my eye on a particular pile). And I will look forward to what you all come up with for next year. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Transcript of the Text from Roz's 2013 Fake Journal

The following is a transcription of the written text on the pages of my 2013 fake journal. Most of the writing on the pages of my 2013 fake journal is too small to read even in the photos I have and will be posting; definitely too small to read in the video. Some of the text is written large with a brush, some is stamped out. I'll transcribe all that as well as some rubber-stamp  "phrases" that I used mostly for "texture" and visual color.

The author of this fake journal makes little to no effort to make the text and the images in her journal relate to each other. Just when you think there is a connection you realize that the existence on the same page is a complete coincidence. At other times the relationship is obvious. It really doesn't matter because it doesn't matter to the author of the journal. She, unlike me, seems unperturbed that she might pick up a journal in 20 years and not see all the relationships she intended. She works on a page, she notes down what is on her mind, she makes comments, she moves on. And whatever else is going on doesn't matter to her. She doesn't care to explain. 

I found this a fascinating and frustrating headspace to inhabit. I have, since childhood, had a compelling desire to be understood exactly, and by that I mean, I have wanted people in my life to know exactly what I mean or intend when I say or do something; I have wanted them to know exactly where I stand. If it's an explanation of an event I wanted just the facts first, and then my impressions, but always clarity about which is which. If it is instructions I wanted always people to know exactly the what as well as the how of instructions so that they get the entirety of what I'm trying to communicate, so that there isn't confusion; so that the essentials aren't lost.

Humans don't operate that way. The creator of this journal actually understands this and not only doesn't explain to others, she doesn't explain to herself (which I still do). What is it like to let go of that vestige of belief in exact communication, which underlines in my mind the structure of uniqueness? 

Let's just say I've had dental work that's more fun (actually I really have because the dental work I've had done has never been as bad as other folks tell me theirs was).

Despite the fact (fake fact) that the author of this journal is an editor she doesn't edit her stuff, go back and check it over, it just is, right there on the page. When you read the actual journal you'll find writos (which is my name for typos that have been handwritten, I suppose everyone else calls these spelling errors). There may be other errors as well. In the typescript I've written what is actually written and if it's a writo I've indicated this by square brackets and "sic." That's Latin for "thus was it written." Of course I may interject additional typos in my desire to get the typescript out, and I may miss original writos because let's face it my character can only be as good at spelling as I am and frankly since the ubiquitous use of "spellchecker" I'm not the spelling bee star I once was. But you will get the general idea. If you can't understand something because a word is obviously wrong please write and let me know the line that concerns you (and the spread it's on) and I'll try to clarify it.

My character tended to write in all caps, something that I don't do naturally. The typescript will be typed in caps lower case, simply for ease and speed of typing and ease of reading—reading all caps in a typed block of text is a pain. (Writing in all caps is another indication of her complete disregard of any need to communicate with anyone, leaving no indication when a thought begins or ends in either a sentence or paragraph.)

Speaking of page spreads, the spreads have been given number designations to key them to the video flip through of my 2013 fake journal which you can find here. Or you can find the video on YouTube here

As you watch the video you might want to stop and read the text for a given spread.

Originally the "bunny" page at the beginning of the book was the first journal page, i.e., the bunny is on the first page after "front matter pages" and was the first thing that went into the book as I was testing the use of gel medium to glue stuff down (went with PVA instead). As I laid in backgrounds throughout the book it became obvious to me that the earlier pages of "front matter" really should be covered as well. And so when I actually started the journal on a daily basis to create finished pages, I began journaling on the first page after the endsheets.

By then I had discovered, by doing two sessions of mono printing with the Gelli Arts Printing Plate, that pink was really my favorite color, and that I had not only not lost my sense of humor but that my character had a sense of humor that, well frankly reminded me a little bit of me without any smoothed edges.

One more note, I did an "interactive" component to my fake journal this year. I asked readers to send me scraps of stuff to include. My original intention was that I would draw an envelope each day and use what was in the envelope that day in my entry, building my entry around or over that bit of flat stuff sent by someone else. I just thought it would be an added bit of fun. However, early on I realized that this character built pages differently than I had anticipated. She worked ahead on backgrounds and texture through the entire book, almost before she ever got to start the first page and work on it as a journal page. So to accommodate that I quickly sent out a heads up and let people know their time for sending things would be over sooner than I thought. And then I opened all the letters I'd received and started using bits and pieces for the backgrounds and texture, every time my character worked in the book. (It was kind of a win-win situation as everyone who sent in something ended up getting a button—which was the thank you for sending something in if your envelope had been selected.) On some of the transcript pages I may note down what is collaborative from someone else, i.e., the stuff they sent it. Some of the stuff can no longer be seen, or I might miss it, it's so buried. I won't remember who sent what, because I didn't note such things down. (Some pages have no sent materials, other spreads have several.) But I do want to say this—it was amazing what people sent in because those items usually melded perfectly with the color schemes that I was creating before I opened the envelopes. Proof once again (though I didn't need any) that there is a wonderful serendipity to creative ventures. And I'm grateful so many people wanted to play along. (These added items will be noted in curly brackets {}.)

And so we begin the transcript.


Title Page: 3.31.13 to 4.18.13 
{lace sent in, used as stencil.}

Spread 1; 3.31.13
I was a finalist in Dancing with the Stars. [italics omitted]
That's just to see if you're awake.

Spread 2; 3.31.13
You have to go into uglyland in order to find the boundaries. There are perceived and actual, both requiring unique responses and actions which upon completion may seem the same but which yield different results.

Spread 3; 4.1.13
Disillusionment vs. enlightenment—is there no middle ground? In literature this is the province of the private detective—not noir, but "cosy" straddles this experiential plane.

They neither look for, nor expect the shortcomings of others, but are unsurprized [sic] and unflappable at their exposure.

Miss Marple, spinsterish but not miss-ish, wise yet not judgmental stands in her parlor as a paragon of observation and living in the present moment, in a world where bodies drop like flies.

How does the current younger generation (20 somethings) interpret this model—with detectives doing everything from baking cupcakes to decorating houses to providing summaries of character flaws based on handwriting analysis. The hooks become distracting noise from the hyper reality which needs, for satisfaction to be every person who sits and observes yet is fully engaged with a career, a myth of doing it all. Has the internet and short attention span caused bells and whistles to be more appealing than the substance?

Spread 4; 4.1.13
No Religious Significance
History is full of movements espousing change of behavior reflecting the lack in society of that time. Transcendence [sic; Transcendentalism] a case in pt. Embraced by women encumbered and men well-meaning—but based on freedoms they already exercise in part. They want more of course, but there is an essential selfishness and a certain naiveté that they can have what they want all the while its exercise is dependent on the culture they move away from. So change becomes dependent upon the suspension of cynicism, or perhaps an adherence to it from self interest cloaked in social consciousness. 

And a whole lot of bloodletting.

How to improve one's self—or actualize and take everyone along for the same ride?

Spread 5; 4.1.13
Visitor sticker collaged to page
On Buying Undergarments for an Ailing Elderly Male Relative…

Why do older me get such a pass? On the attractiveness scale of society…

Old actors not revamping their carreers [sic] seem willing and out of place, misscast [sic] against inappropriate heroines. It even looks silly. Yet when I was younger I bought into this aiming upwards in age for suitable romantic partners.

I've only ever met one cougar. She was oblivious to her own physical limitations and departures from the conventional notions of beauty. And she was voracious in her appreciation of the conventional beauty of young men. Men who in turn seemed to genuinely appreciate and find attractive her joy and unabashed hedonism. Does this tell us anything about the general or only about the specific? Does it speak to the self acceptance of males—since no one talks of the saggy asses inevitable on old white men.

Spread 6; 4.02.13
Letting things slip

Spread 7; 4.02.13
Emergency Visitor Pass collaged onto page. Stamping: Beige Tan Rust
Stop staring
Brown [with arrow to bird feathers]
White and Brown [with arrow to bird feathers]

Spread 8; 4.02.13
Stamping: Proofs for Indexing; Emergency Request EGO
Hank's writing is more than serviceable. But his real talent lies in his plastic face!

Spread 9; 4.03.13
{Left edge of page painted tissue sent in; top right postage stamp from Jersey.}
The dogs in this dog-park sketch are labeled clockwise beginning with the large dog at the top left: Portia—AKA Fluff, Rosemare, Bob, Magnum, Bob's tail, Mr. Jinx, Sarge, Chloë, Axel. (Also on Fluff's paw, an arrow and the words, Princess Paws.) 

[Note: these are real dogs, but made up names. I think this is one of my favorite pages in the entire journal.]

Spread 10; 4.03.13
Barely readable red on red stamping: Chuck chatting quietly

Yesterday on the Radio: Muhammad Yunus, banker, Nobel Peace Prize, Microcredit and Microfinance guy said something like Yes Making money makes you happy but making other people happy (or successful?) makes you SUPER happy. 

Can't find the talk—need to hear it all.

Spread 11; 4.03.13
Stamped phrase: Duplicate Set
Under dog portrait: Ned 2.0 is 6 today.

Spread 12; 4.04.13
Horror

I realizd [sic] I've lost my ability to unfailingly recognize people out of context.

Spread 13; 4.04.13
Stamped phrase: Duplicate revised Proofs
{Hardworking card sent in.}
I have found as I age an ability to read vast quantities of bad writing because I love a character within a work. I'm not exactly sure how I could let this happen—but then in literature as in life some people are more interesting than their surroundings.

How is this investment made?

Spread 14; 4.04.13
Ebert dead at 70

Spread 15; 4.05.13
Go to bed you've had a long day.

So have you!

I've ceased to define days in the conventional ways.

Spread 16; 4.05.13
{watercolor paper strip, running vertically on recto page sent in}
Stamped phrase: Tested DotR1106; preliminary
TWIST

Spread 17; 4.05.13
{Keep Track note paper with fox imprint and window punched out to show decorative paper, was sent in and altered with mono printing.}

You're too sick to be of any help. If we were in a life boat you know I would cut you loose at this point for the good of the healthy?

He laughed deeply.

You know I would—I repeated

I know. You're a cold bitch—he said still laughing.

But he also knew.

And I would.

Spread 18; 4.06.13
I'm still not sure how I feel about being back

Spread 19; 4.06.13
[Note: this page on the right has been trimmed to reveal a bit of the next spread.]

• Why are you doing that?

* Because it's fun. Because I ran off the edge of the paper…I've invented a whole new style. I call it PIECEMEAL.

Spread 20; 4.06.13
Visitor sticker collaged to page
Stamped phrase: Master Page Proofs; on hold

It wasn't really a question

Spread 21; 4.07.13
Nuns or Clowns?
definitely 
Clowns

Spread 22; 4.07.13
Firefighters' Hall and Museum
[Note: this is a reference to the fact that my character went, largely unobserved, to the MetroSketchers outing on this day at this location, where she picked up a Dum-Dum sucker.]

Spread 23; 4.07.13
Altered piece of text reads: Looked into her wide bright mirror with alarm, and a cold sensation crept about the back of her neck. She remembered.

{postage stamps were sent in}

Spread 24; 4.08.13
{items sent in: orange textured paper on left edge of spread; bottom left scrap with Interval Degrees of Centigrade text, white textured scrap on right page.}
Stamped phrase on right page: Image of Leadership.

The concept of Heaven has never appealed to me. It seems too much like being on a cruise ship, shut up with people you didn't choose and don't like. A fellowship unvaried and unending.

Spread 25; 4.08.13
{items sent in: grocery list top left, watercolor strip vertical on recto page.}
Stamped phrases on left page: Special Literature; on right page: Going; Adhesives list, chain of numbers. 

Fortune cookie fortune adhered to left page: A friend asks only for your time and not money.

Spread 26; 4.08.13
Reruns of "I Spy" teach us it probably is dangerous to tour Roman ruins with pretty girls we just met if we have a past that can ambush us. And Don't we all have a past…?

Last night's rain storm was too loud on the new roof—now I have new sounds to get used to. Gone is the comforting patter—now there is almost a metallic ring as each drop falls. Got up finally to watch TV since sleeping was impossible until early morning. More adjustments.

Loiter

Spread 27; 4.09.13
{items sent in: map on bottom left over which I've sketched and painted pears.}

Fortune cookie fortune adhered to left page: Whoever wants to reach a distant goal must take small steps.

Can we go forward to something new? Can we go back to something old with new knowledge which transforms the old into a new "entity"? Is change forward simply a morphing or a progression of superficials to give a sense of advancement? How does chaos propell [sic] us to change? Does it? Or does Chaos cause us to latch onto what was once comfortable but is now so buried it seems new?

Is life a continuum ora teeter totter? Is man on a treadmill or on a long road of cul de sacs?

Do our brains create false epiphanies to keep us in check? Is the visual more powerful than the verbal or is man only able to communicate with definable words?

Goya's paintings of war speak to all Ages. The symbolism of the 1400s is lost in obscurity as ours will be after the internet collapses.

How can we make a sitcom that encompasses all this without the trappings of angst?

Spread 28; 4.09.13
Inevitability of outcome

Spread 29; 4.09.13
I don't land on my feet anymore

Spread 30; 4.10.13
Stamped phrase on left page: Universal; on right page: Shop Drawing File

Friends with interesting noses.

Spread 31; 4.10.13
Snow Storm coming
Still no spring

Spread 32; 4.10.13
Dogs are often more interesting than their people

Spread 33; 4.11.13
It's always more, more, more. 

There is never enough.

Always another emergency.

Spread 34; 4.11.13

Speechless

Collaged and stamped phrases: Heavy-Duty; Second Request
Painted tag on clothing: Fits most 18" dolls

Spread 35; 4.11.13
Collaged and stamped phrases: Moustaces [left]; glasses [right]; Economical [left].

I know that everyone processes stress differently. I haven't mastered my irritation when they do it poorly…on my scale of course. I haven't quite accepted this as a character flaw—or even lack of grace, I'm too busy funtioning [sic—functioning]—while they are all busy…

Focus on happy faces—my way of coping

Spread 36; 4.12.13
Cross Section

Spread 37; 4.12.13
Blurred vision

Spread 38; 4.12.13
Collaged: Spring (with no-symbol stamped over it); Easy Setup!; Fortune—The Greatest perceptions is continual awareness.

An unqualified aversion to being used.

Jonathan Winters dead at 87
—yesterday—just heard today

Spread 39; 4.13.13
Are the people we love transparent because we love them?

Or are they transparent because we don't love them enough?

Spread 40; 4.13.13
Collaged: squirrels on postage stamps; "Please Hold both Handles" from brown bag.
Stamped phrase on right: Tan Rust Beige

The opinions of any veteran of any war are more important and valid to me than the opinions of any embedded journals. It doesn't matter if the soldier fought in the War of Independence, Civil, Spanish, WW (I or II), Korean, Vietnam, Iraq, smaller squirmishes [sic: skirmishes], or for that matter any side on any conflict…

Having bullets shot at your ass trumps any experience however horrifying and dangerous incurred while surrounded by men who are escorting you—even while fighting.

Spread 41; 4.13.13
{Collaged fern paper sent in}
How much do older actors, not doing many gigs, have to get for voice-over ads?

Why do younger actors—Spader, Downey Jr., Do it?

What is the rate? How does it hurt their brand?

Spread 42; 4.14.13
I merely suggested his choice of dog breed would mean bringing someone cuter than he is into the house. The search continues.

Spread 43; 4.14.13
Stamped phrase bottom left: Void Revised. Arrows stamped throughout spread.

Finches

Spread 44; 4.14.13
A great expanse

Fortune collaged: The smart thing to do is to start trusting your intuition.

Spread 45; 4.15.13
{Collaged item sent: notice about Model Appreciation Potluck, near which my character wrote—We should do something like this.}

I prefer the question box

[note: that woman is not a nurse, I just didn't finish painting her hair. Lots of people ask me about this and frankly when I stopped painting I had the same impression myself.]

When I cooed over the puppy—granted it was excessive—Edward looked at me with the bemused look and tone only non-romantically inclined friends who haven't bought into the fiction of your fabulousness can muster.

Spread 46; 14.15.13
Stamped behind the woman: AWE
Collaged type: almost nothing.
Collaged: Robot sticker bottom right.

Spread 47; 14.15.13
Boston marathon bombed. Found out tonight. Not near TV all day. Don't have details.

No one pays attention to me paying attention to the bigger picture.

[note: bottom right is a printed card, cut and collaged down which is my interactive contribution—a print from me. My character went to hear me talk at the MCBA Visual Journal Collective on travel journaling, and got this card.]

Spread 48; 14.16.13
Tootsie

Spread 49; 14.16.13
The safety of facts

Spread 50; 14.16.13
Shirl
She's the best judge of character I know

Spread 51; 14.17.13
[left]
All the news shows had segments on not talking to your kids about the Boston Marathon Bombing. I'm concerned about this intense infantilization of children. The[y] want to know. They are scared when they don't know. There is wide nostalgia for some state of childhood bliss and innocence which frankly was gone even when today's parents were young. And nothing kills innocence so quickly as stupidity—when did the two become equated? The parents are serving their kids up on paltters to every conman, pedophile, bully, and cult leader who comes along. And full of fear.

[right]
I'll never recognize anyone at the reunion.

Spread 52; 14.17.13
{Collaged items sent in, Brown paper under right side sketches, and bottom right file card, both of which got covered when the final page was worked on.}

Spread 53; 14.18.13
Motives matter

Hey…it was an interesting narrative thread.

Spread 54; 14.18.13
Try as I might I seem incapable of making another menu choice. Having been once and chosen successfully even the most confirmed sense of or desire to experiment evaporates when I'm handed the menu and confronted with all the untried choices. I may momentarily waiver, actually believe, "Today's the day I'm going to experiment," but as soon as the waitress arrives my resolve to take a risk folds as easily as the menu. 

I want to chastise myself and turn my lack of follow through into a sign of some  sort of greater life-prevalent lack but such thoughts evaporate with the first delicious confirming bite.

For now it is just a sandwich.

Spread 55; 14.18.13
Why not? 
8

Spread 56; 14.18.13
I can't shake the sense that her panic arises not out of the physiological but out of hubris and an inflated sense of importance. The fears come not out of a given circumstance but out of the "what if" projection of possible outcomes. The sense that things will fall apart without her. I search my own psyche for similar warts so I can excise them before I turn my judgment on myself. I search for a sense of compassion.

It will have to be a process.

Spread 57; 14.18.13
What evidence remains

Spread 58; 14.18.13
[endsheets and back cover pocket]
Stamped: arrows and "File"


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Contest Drawing Results!

Above: The pocket size journal that was the prize in the drawing this year. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

Congratulations to Beki! She won the drawing for the small journal prize.

The name of everyone who correctly guessed that the robot sticker was on spread 46 of my fake journal was put in a bowl. Dick drew out Beki's name.

To help you spot the robot if you want to go and see for yourself, spread 46 has a woman on the left page, and a man on the right page (with the cut out words "Almost Nothing"), it was created 4.15.13 and this notation appears at the bottom right of the spread. The robot sticker is also in the lower right of the page spread.

Thank you to everyone who watched with eagle eyes and wrote in!

I have a few more posts coming up in the next two weeks before I wrap up 2013 IFJM. You'll find a post about my final thoughts about my 2013 journal, links to other folks' posts about their 2013 IFJM experience, and I'll also be posting a transcript of the text in my 2013 fake journal so that you can read that while looking at the image in the video—it will make my wrap up about the experience make more sense, or not. Sometimes I wonder…but that's what's coming up soon.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

EMERGENCY—BEWARE—DaVinci Gouache Has a Quirky Little (HA) Characteristic

I'm waiting for Dick to get home so that he can draw a name out of the hat for the winner of the Spot-the-Robot game in my 2013 Fake Journal Video.

Meanwhile I have URGENT Business to discuss with you.

I wrote a review of DaVinci gouache here.

As soon as I post this post I will go and put an addendum on that original post—but I didn't want you to  MISS THIS NEWS.

I was painting this evening in a large 11 x 14 inch Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media Hardbound Journal. (It is cheaper for me to buy those journals in that size than to make journals in that size because of the sheet size I can get paper in. And as you can see from this year's fake journal I'm just working larger and larger all the time—so an 11 x 14 inch Strathmore journal seemed a nice choice).

I have worked on this paper since it came out some time ago. I love it. I make books out of it (smaller books, square books mostly, as those aren't available). I have worked on this paper in gouache before, with Schmincke and M. Graham brand gouache.

Imagine my surprise then when I was working on a gouache painting with DaVinci gouache and thought, "well that paper is getting moist I wonder if I will have the same problem that I had when I was gluing down paintings made with DaVinci Gouache." (Remember—the moisture in the glue reactivated the dry paint and it came up on the wax paper I used to burnish the painting in place! You can see a photo of this and read about it in my review of DaVinci gouache, link repeated here.)

I pulled the left page back and SURE ENOUGH the moisture from the new painting on the next spread had migrated through the paper and it had reactivated the paint on the previous spread. That "dry" painting on the previous page had started to "print" onto its facing page.

THIS IS NOT A PAPER PROBLEM.

I have for decades painted with gouache in my journals, painting on one spread on one day and then the next day painting on the back of the very page I'd painted on the day before. I have used a variety of cheap gouache brands over the years and in the past 10 years I've used Schmincke gouache and then M. Graham gouache (I don't recall exactly when M. Graham released their gouache line, but I started using it right away.)

I have never had a situation on ANY of the papers I make journals out of (and Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media paper is one of those papers) where the paint on the previous spread was reactivated by the moisture from the new layers of paint on the current page spread. The list of papers I've used includes most watercolor papers that are 90 and 140 lb., lots of printing papers, several drawing papers, you get the idea—a wide variety.

This has never happened to me before.

But here it was happening today.

It is a characteristic of DaVinci Gouache.

BEWARE OF THIS.

I would not recommend anyone use DaVinci Gouache for visual journaling because of this characteristic—paint reactivating because of moisture/painting on the next page, causing the paint to reactivate and "print" onto its facing page. 

Use either Schmincke or M. Graham brands of gouache. I've never had this problem with them.

I'm not overly fond of Holbein gouache for a number or reasons you can read on my main blog but it is opaque and even if somewhat fugitive it's fun to use. I've never had this problem with it either.

Because of this moisture reactivation characteristic I would further recommend that if you do choose to use DaVinci gouache in your visual journal that you NEVER, EVER close your book with even moist glue a few page spreads further on in the book. If you weight your pages when you glue, like I do, you'll be trapping the moisture from the glue (even a glue stick has moisture) and that may migrate through the pages to your painting and reactivate the DaVinci gouache, causing it to "print" on its facing page, ruining perhaps your favorite spread, and at best altering it.

If you do use DaVinci gouache in your visual journal always place a dividing sheet (I recommend glassine for a permanent sheet, or wax paper during gluing) between two pages of a spread that have a "dry" painting on them, when you are gluing later in your book. That way if moisture from the glue, matte medium, gel medium, acrylic paint, watercolor, or gouache migrates through the paper (as moisture will do in any paper) and it reactivates that gouache painting, you'll have protected it from messing across facing pages.

I would do this even if you use gesso as a ground on your pages before you paint on them. Gesso should stop some of the moisture transfer, but I wouldn't bet on it.

I think your best bet is to avoid DaVinci gouache for visual journaling all together. If you want to experiment with it, use it on single sheets you'll only be painting on one side.

Or use it on separate sheets of paper as I did in my 2013 fake journal, cut out the painting and glue it in your journal—keeping in mind that you can't weight it as it dries, or even burnish it down hard, or you'll pick up too much of the original painting. (See my original review of DaVinci gouache as to how I did this and what happened. And keep glassine or wax paper between the pages of a spread where a painting has been glued in if that painting was made with DaVinci gouache and you are painting or gluing further on in your book.)

This is pretty much a deal breaker for me for using DaVinci gouache in my visual journals.

Again, I have had decades of using other gouache, specifically Schmincke gouache and then M. Graham, and I have not experienced this "quirk" which I would label a problem, with either of those brands, even on very lightweight paper, like Nideggen.

I had to let you know about this right way. I thought the problem I experienced in the fake journal came out of my practice of painting on loose sheets and gluing those paintings in. PVA is very moist.

I didn't realize the paint would respond in this way if another painting were painted on the reverse side.

Now I'm going to put a note on that original post! BEWARE.

Friday, May 10, 2013

A Video Flip Through of Roz's 2013 Fake Journal


The video flip through of my 2013 fake journal has been crunched. It's up on YouTube here. If the embedded video doesn't work please go to YouTube.

UPDATE: May 22, 2013. I have posted a transcript of the written text of my 2013 fake journal on this blog. You can read what is written on each spread, as you watch the video (as the video does not allow for close ups of the tiny printing on some pages. See the transcript of my 2013 fake journal here.

In the coming weeks I'll have more to say about the pages—as well as some more "stages" photos, now that you can see the finished piece. I hope to have professional photos shot at the end of May and they may give you a better idea still, of some of the details.

I will also be creating a page on this blog where I'll write out what it says on each page so you can read what she wrote on the pages. (Most often what was written didn't have much to do with what she created visually.)

But for now you can get the gist of the whole book.

The work on the book began on March 18, 2013 with some Gelli Arts Plate Printing sessions. Actual journaling in the book began on March 31. I completed 3 page spreads a day (because neither I nor my character seem to be great at simple math). There was one day where I think I only did 2 page spreads.

You may or may not notice the following:


1. The final shot in the video is a truncated view of this year's button. I crunched the film two times, after adjusting this shot, and finally let it go. People will see the button if they come to this blog, and I couldn't work out why WISIWG (what I saw I wasn't getting).

2. I found some incredibly wonderful music from Kevin MacLeod on incompetech.comhttp://incompetech.com/. I'm not a musician (all those years of piano lessons don't add up) and I'm unaware of half the editing tools in iMovie so any butchering of his rhythms and melodies is all on me. The musical pieces I selected perfectly captured the character's constant theme and mood in her life—upbeat, but aware of the quirky, and always alert to another shoe about to drop; the upbeat is key though, because she doesn't let shoes dropping break her stride. Anyway I wouldn't have had half as much fun doing this video without MacLeod's music and I recommend you check out his site and support this creative person.

3. The page spreads are numbered for your reference in the contest below.

4. The character puts a large red dot on each spread and writes the date around that dot (you'll see that all more closely on the photos I post at the end of May, but you can see this on the video if you look in the bottom left or right of the pages.

5. I'll have more to say about the character, but for now the video opens with a couple important details about her.

The Contest:

As I mentioned in an earlier post this year, the contest is going to be a "where's Waldo" sort of thing. On one page spread in this journal you'll find a ROBOT STICKER. He's a retro-toy robot. He's less than 2 inches tall.

Watch the video, note down the page spread number that you find in the top left corner of the frame for 4 seconds as each spread comes up on the screen. Also note down something else you see on the spread—are there words large enough to read, or there sketches of a dog or a person? That sort of thing.

DON'T TRY TO ENTER THE CONTEST BY WRITING IN THE COMMENTS SECTION OF THIS POST—that's grounds for immediate disqualification. Don't spoil it for others.

Send me an email at rozjournalrat@gmail.com

The Subject Line MUST READ: IFJM 2013 Contest.

In the body of the email write the spread number on which you found the robot and the other details of identification you noticed.

You have 48 hours to enter.

All entries must be received by SUNDAY, MAY 12, at 8:30 p.m.

A winner will be drawn from the correct entries and receive a really cute small, pocket-sized watercolor journal from me that is just perfect for pockets, pursues, and especially for use as a 2014 Fake Journal!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Before and After Peek at a Page Spread in My 2013 Fake Journal

Above: A prepainted (acrylic printing with the Gelli Arts Printing Plate) page spread with collaged paper elements. (The printing was actually on a sheet of paper that was collaged down as well.) Click on the image to view an enlargement.

I happened to have taken photos of this spread after I collaged some printed papers and some decorative papers down in place, and before my character ended up journaling on it.

Above: The completed page spread. (Well almost completed—the collage papers which extend past the pages' edges haven't been trimmed yet.) Click on the image to view an enlargement.

This year's character was all about not being precious with anything—backgrounds she liked, papers she liked, sketches she might have liked…

In the first image today you see how the page looked before she was journaling. In the second image you see how it looked when she finished. Beneath the sketches of the man on the righthand page you can see there was also additional printing with acrylic paint before the collage started. This happened during a second printing session. The journal pages were flipped through and ones that seemed too "bare" got more attention with more printing.

On top of that printing you'll see the collaged sketches which overlap each other, washi tape, collaged papers (the original blue paper on the right hand page is only visible in tiny peeks).

News that Roger Ebert had died was noted down. This character did three page spreads a day and it wasn't important to her to write much about some things, but just note them down to fill up the spaces so she could finish a page. And she liked to note things that were happening in the world.

After noting Ebert's death she sketched a pineapple in mid-blue watercolor brush pen and outlined it with strokes of light blue acrylic paint using a Montana Marker. (We happened to have a pineapple sitting on the kitchen counter—evidently she also likes to eat pineapple.)
Note: This pineapple step was like pulling teeth for the real me because it meant obscuring a sketch I actually was fond of. My character recognized no such fondness for her sketches and was brutal. Let's just say that when I closed this journal with its pages filled on April 18, I felt very bruised!
She ended all her pages by stamping a large dot (usually red) and writing the date around the dot. (See the bottom left of the spread, under the B in Ebert.)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

More Faces as Collage

Above: Three Pentel Pocket Brush Pen Sketches of the same man chatting. (I actually did five in a series at the same time). All on gridded paper. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

Sometimes so many sketches of someone were made during April that the person became a "character" in the fake journal. In other words someone real became repurposed as a friend or acquaintance of the character creating the fake journal.

Above: The same three sketches collaged on a spread in the fake journal—over a background of acrylic prints made with the Gelli Arts Printing Plate. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

When you see the final page spread in the video flip through you'll see that the character journaled about something unrelated to Chuck, and added some more collage papers. There was a total lack on the part of this character for any need to explain when, where, or why she sketched something or someone. And generally the accompanying journaling was unrelated to what she wrote. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Layering in My 2013 Fake Journal—Faces as Collage Material

Left and below: Four face sketches made on graph paper and lined paper using the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen, DaVinci Gouache (for color) and various washi tapes to hold pieces of paper together so I could expand a drawing beyond the original sheet of paper's edge. Click on any image in the post to view an enlargement.

My 2013 fake journal character's approach to journaling was lots of layers. You saw in a clown spread how she used those layers. Here are a couple more faces that you'll see soon in place on pages when the video flip through is completed.

Some of these sketches were made while watching TV (something both I and my 2013 character enjoy doing); others were made from life, typically with not very patient models. It seems that April was a stressful time for everyone I knew.

The process of this year's fake journal started when I began painting the backgrounds of the journal I was using at the end of March. My character works ahead so I actually had to imagine not only her daily journaling process but her work-ahead process. Besides prepainting and pre-printing the backgrounds on her journal pages she created a massive amount of face sketches to cut up and use as collage material once April actually started. She kept them in a large envelope and they were used in the journal out of [gasp] sequence.

I know, I know, I don't know how I survived the horror.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Layers: Creating Backgrounds in My 2013 Fake Journal

Left: One of the Gelli Arts Printing Plate printed pages in my 2013 fake journal. See details below. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

The character who created my 2013 fake journal had a very carefree and unstudied approach to creating the layers in her visual journal. She would add and add. She would cover other things with abandon.

I always thought I was carefree about doing background painting on my journal pages but this was a whole new level of "just do it and move on." I actually found it a little bit uncomfortable. So I knew I was on the right track.

I did three painting sessions with the Gelli Arts Plate using inexpensive Americana Craft Acrylic paints (which had been recommended in one of the YouTube videos I watched). They are liquid, in bottles. I believe they were successful because of how liquid they were. They would stay "open" long enough for me not only to take a first print with stencils in place on the plate, but then take a second print once the stencils had been removed, and sometimes even a third "ghost" print.

If you want to use a more archival or higher quality acrylic paint you'll have to experiment. I would suggest trying a couple colors of Golden's Open Acrylics first. I have a couple friends who have tried them and like them. I find the odor from the Golden Open Acrylics too strong for me to work with however. (It's an ammonia type smell. It knocks me out.) You could of course add a retarder medium to your regular artist quality paints, but I find those also smell strongly. More open time on the plate will also mean slower drying time on the paper, so plan your printing session accordingly.

Note: Click on any of the images in this post to view an enlargement.

Right: Extra paint on my brayer was rolled off across the top and bottom of the pages in this spread. I then pressed wavy corrugated cardboard that had been pressed into the "inked" Gelli Arts Plate onto the page as well.


The other approach my character employed with abandon was an almost total disregard for color theory as I might use it. She may have used a lot of analogous colors when inking her plate, and she often used complementary colors layered over each other, but she used tints and combinations of colors that I would not have used.

At one point in April I actually found myself saying to friends—Who knew I loved Pink!? (I can't blame the continued use of pink on my character!)


Above: In the third image  of today's post you see graph paper top left and right, mulberry paper (purple and red) and lined paper with a Pentel Pocket Brush Pen Sketch, all printed upon.

My working method was as follows. I would pick one to three colors of paint to put on the plate. Typically I would line them up in 2.5 inch squirts down the vertical length of the plate (10 inches) to make one long line of color in the center of the plate. With an 8 inch brayer I would then smooth the colors back and forth away from the paint line, thus covering the entire plate. This could be done in about 3 or 4 strokes and would create a distinct area of color for each color, as well as slightly blend the colors where they "joined."



Above: Stenciling on the left, with areas of inking with the brayer on the right.

I would then quickly walk over to the journal, open on a table (protected with a plastic sheet because I was working with acrylic paint.) I would brayer color on to the page spread, in effect "cleaning" the brayer, and using all the excess paint.

Next I would rush back to the "inked" plate and draw into the paint with soft-rubber tipped tools or place stencils and various other pattern making items (like bubble wrap, which is quite fun to use) onto the plate.

For items like bubble wrap which are going to block the entire surface, I would press them in, pick them up, and then rush to the journal and press down all the paint the bubble wrap had picked up down onto a page. I would then return to the plate to print.


Above: This spread started with a massive purple ink blot—Ziller Violet acrylic ink was spread on one page and the book was shut. This was one of the first pages painted and the ink blot technique was a test. The ink showed through the paper and required painting and collage on the previous and next spreads. It also created a huge area of "dark" which was, as you see, lightened with acrylic paint printing.

If I had been using stencils I would leave the stencils in place and I would lay a piece of paper on top of the plate and rub down with a 3M card style burnishing tool. Sometimes I would press and smooth just with my hand. One could also use a traditional barren for this task.

I would then remove the paper and that would of course be a print. I'd set it aside to dry. 

Next I would REMOVE the stencils I had used on the plate, quickly take them over to other pieces of paper or the journal, and press them into the paper, transferring any excess paint they carried from being pressed into the plate.

I would return to the plate which now had lots of areas of interest because it had been printed when the stencils were in place and paint had been removed from the negative shapes, but not completely, and because the removal of the stencils had removed some paint. I then pressed a new sheet of paper into the plate, burnishing as described above. When I pulled that plate I considered it the "real" print of that run.


Above: On the spread I first brayered rubberstamp ink with a patterned brayer I'd carved a design into. Next I collaged papers down and positioned the face sketch (which you say in the printed papers image above when it was just stenciled with a checkerboard pattern). It was painted with gouache after being glued (with PVA) down into position. (The PVA was allowed to dry before I painted.) The lavender paper was cut and collaged into place and a plastic, articulated figure was arranged and put on the right hand page and stenciled with a stencil brush and rubberstamp ink. I stamped large numbers up the vertical left of the spread. My character, in layering, likes to cover things over, including her drawings. You'll be able to see the completed page in the video flip through I will post soon.

I set that print aside to dry, and if I had been working really quickly I would have time to put another piece of paper onto the plate, burnish, and pull a very light "ghost" print. I would also set this aside.

The paint dried quickly and because of its formulation it had a very matte surface—which was great because in the past when I've used higher quality acrylics in my books the better acrylic binders used in the paint have created a slicker surface which has caused pages to stick. This less expensive paint was actually a virtue in this situation.


Above: One of my favorite painted background spreads in the journal. There were several layers of printing, not only directly onto the spread with the plate and the brayer, but also a printed sheet, top left, that extends across the gutter, which was glued in after the first printing session, and then printed over in the second printing session. Collage scraps that had been printed upon were also stuck down (blue and green strip on the right page). Stencils from other printings were pressed down on top of the page when the collage items were in place.

I would then take a wet paper towel and clean off the plate. (It is very easy to clean.) And I would go over the plate with a clean dry paper towel (which became my messy plate cleaner in the next round) to remove excess water before adding more paint and beginning the process all over again.


Above: Collaged, painted with a brayer, and over printed with stencils that had been lifted from plates in progress.

I found that I could work fast and in a two hour window (including setting up and tearing down and cleaning up my workspace; cleaning the tools took a little longer) I could print not only a number of sheets but pages and pages in the journal. The paint dried so quickly that by the time I had finished with a particular plate anything I had printed in the journal was dry and I could turn the page and begin again.

Above: Besides printing and using the brayer to apply colors here some rubberstamp ink (the maroon color) has been stroked onto this page spread.

During the printing process there would be many sheets that didn't seem like much after a first printing or a ghost printing. They dried so quickly that I could easily use them in another round of printing to create even more layers.

In general, in my regular life, I go with the flow in these types of sessions, or so I thought. But I found that actually I do tend to plan and organize a "line up" of approaches, a series perhaps, or a sequence. It's because I'm after "repeatable" results that can be utilized as "approaches" in the future.

My character on the other hand was not like that AT ALL, and she worked at a speed that even I found uncomfortable. She created things so fast that I couldn't repeat them again if my life depended on it. She went blithely on, not giving it a second thought, but the real me who was standing next to her observing or cleaning up at the end of the session was "Damn, why didn't she take any notes?" Of course slowing down to take notes would have eaten up the paint drying time and defeated the whole purpose of working like this. It was fun, but it was also frustrating. Again I knew I was on the right track and way past my comfort zone.

Left: Another painted spread onto which ink was brayered and into which inked stencils were pressed.

During this process I began to work so quickly that at times I actually picked up the Gelli Arts Plate (no small task as it is a squiggly squishy mass that doesn't like to be held) and press it into the journal to print with it like a rubberstamp. One appealing thing about this approach is that the plate is so flexible that when you press it into a page spread if you are positioned across the gutter of the book you can press and deform the plate to print right across the gutter.

If neatness matters to you I wouldn't recommend it. This is how I ended up getting paint on pages besides the ones I had intended (no problem for this character) and getting paint all over my hands and sometimes then transferred the paint to the book's cover before I wiped my hands.

More often if I wanted to print from the plate in the journal I would pick up the journal and push it down onto the plate. This is a rather tricky maneuver and peeling it back up while not getting paint on the other pages and cover (from your fingers as you pull the two apart) is very tricky. But it's also pretty fun. When you work with a book that is bigger opened than the plate, you just have to wing the placement (if you're working quickly) and hope for the best. If you try this and it bothers you just remind yourself this is only the first layer on the page—there's more to come. Neither the real me nor my character had any qualms about this first layer being exact or "perfect."

This first layer of background was a fun process overall and I'm glad that I tried it in this freewheeling way first. I quickly got a sense for what I might be able to do with the Gelli Arts Plate in the future, and I accomplished my goal of creating very layered beginnings to the journal pages.

I haven't yet had time to set up the lights and video tape a flip through of this completed journal, but when I do you'll be able to see what became of these first layers of background.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Starting My 2013 Fake Journal—Before and After Photos

Above: The sort of before photo, by which I mean, the journal when I'd worked in it for one afternoon on March 21, 2013. Read below for details. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

If you've been reading along so far for the 2013 celebration of IFJM you'll know that I used the Leuchtturm 1917 Notebook for my fake journal this year.

The pages really were too thin for simply drawing on them in ink—all the inks I used seeped through on my test pages more than I would have hoped. But I was already in love with the size of the journal and the dot pattern grid on the pages (which oddly you can rarely see now that the book is filled).

Immediately my mind started working on ways to use this book despite of the paper's limitations for mixed media. By now you've also read how this mind churning happened at the exact time I went to visit a friend who was recovering from surgery and watching Gelli Plate Printing videos on the internet. I realized that I could do a combination of techniques to the pages that would make them more resilient to abuse by the mixed media.

Left: The completed book on April 18, 2013. It no longer really closes, in fact typically the cover just flops open. Two days after finishing this book I made the decision to purchase an archival newspaper storage box for this book and store it in a half open position. It's the only thing I could think of that wouldn't put continued pressure on the already stressed spine. Click on the image to view an enlargement.



I began to print monoprints with the Gelli Plate—sometimes on paper I could collage into the journal and other times printing directly onto the page. I did two evenings of printing. The above photo was taken between those two evenings when I had started to stick the papers from the first evening into the journal. I was working with PVA so that water from later painting sessions wouldn't cause the collaged material to buckle up away from the page. Because I was working on several page spreads at a time, and as I worked into April some pages started to have gouache paintings on them, I couldn't weight the collaged material while it dried so that it would dry flatter. (The trapped moisture would have reactivated the gouache paint before the glue had dried and made for interesting pages.) Because the pages weren't under weights when they were drying, and the paper is lightweight, there is a wonderful buckling to every page. The layers of collaged papers are not only buckled across the page but create a stiffness to most pages that makes it a tactile joy to turn these pages. I think you'll see that when I get the video flip through posted.

Left: Detail of the book closed with the book's elastic band positioned around the book. This is the only time I've put the elastic band in this position. The band stretches too much to be useful with this bulk and the front cover is pulled into a curve because of the bulk of the pages. But this image shows how the fore edge of the book is deformed as the thickness of the collaged items keeps the spine from closing properly and pushes the pages out past the cover's edge.

I started working on backgrounds and collage materials on the 18th of March for two reasons. I had a feeling I wasn't going to have the amount of time I had hoped for each day (and in fact that did turn out to be the case) but more importantly my character was someone who was constantly working ahead in her journals and so while she would be finishing up a volume she would be working simultaneously ahead in preparing backgrounds in a new journal.

Left: Detail of the spine now that the book is filled to over flowing. You can see that the ends of the signatures (where paper is folded and sewn together as groups) is now no longer flat against the spine board like it was when I started. Instead it is now convex, creating a circle that is curved outward, pushing the signatures outward. Hence the way the pages jut out at the fore edge. (In my real journals I tend to do only a little collage and I pre-cut out pages, leaving tabs to hold space at the spine. That creates space for the collage materials I do add. Since in this book I wasn't cutting out pages and each page sometimes had 3 layers of collage material there was no way the spine was not going to severely deform. For a description of how and why I cut pages out of my journals you can read "Journaling Superstitions #5: You Can't Cut Pages Out of Your Journal." (About half way through that post I explain my process.) Click on the image to view an enlargement.

If I had waited to work in this journal until April 1 she would not have been in her work flow mode.

When a character speaks so strongly to you, tells you to work on backgrounds for pages she intends to use weeks from now, and insists that you use paper that is unsuitable for mixed media, you simply must listen to the character.

So I printed and collaged and tried to listen to the character as she spoke to me in little bits and pieces during the day. I had hoped to have a "leisurely" month in April where I could take multiple photos of each stage and let you see the gradual growing of the book. But everything happened very quickly—which I learned is what this character likes. You can see some of what happened from photos like the ones in today's post.

I'll have more to write about the interior of this journal and the process. I would like to say this about the Leuchtturm 1917 notebook I used for this year's fake journal—it held up to a phenomenal amount of abuse. Most books would have disintegrated in "pre-production" before April 1, when character  started actually journaling in the book.

Despite the abuse all the pages of this journal are intact and holding firm. No stitches have torn out (this is a sewn book or I wouldn't have tried this approach). The cover of the book long ago lost any remembrance of its hinge space yet even with repeated opening and closing the cover material (which is one of those synthetic coverings that's not paper, leather, or fabric) held up and continues to do so. There is virtually no wear on the cover—except for some acrylic ink that I splashed on it from time to time when I was printing in the book.

I didn't weigh the book when it was new and empty.  By now it must weigh 4 or 5 times as much. It is unpleasant to hold it is so heavy.

I loved working in this book, and if all you do is take notes and you test this paper and love it for that and the pens you use then I have to say you couldn't find a better, more user friendly, and attractive notebook.

And if you want to get all wild and crazy with it and go extremely wild with mixed media—well it's going to hang in there with you.

My character isn't concerned with such niceties. I on the other hand am very, very grateful. And I find myself passing the book as it sits half open on the drawing board, awaiting the arrival of its archival box, and I can't help but page through the encrusted pages and savour the fun of working in this book all over again.