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?"


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

2014 International Fake Journal Month Wrap-Up: Susan Jolly

Above: ©2014 Susan Jolly, a page from her 2014 fake journal. click on the image to view an enlargement.

Susan Jolly participated in the 2014 International Fake Journal Month celebration by creating in a quad ruled journal.

Susan wrote about her journal choice in a post saying that
I wanted everything to be as easy as possible so of course I planned to choose a journal I already had. When I opened the drawer where I keep most of my new and partially-used journals, I was delighted to find this marble cover—80 sheet composition book that I'd forgotten about. I'd bought it when we were on vacation last fall when I saw it in one of those drug stores that sells everything and just had to have it. I had only used the first dozen pages for a trip diary. 
It turned out to be perfect for my IFJM project! It's a No. 77227 hard-cover sewn [!] 5x5 Quad Ruled 9.75x7.5 in. rounded corner notebook made in the U.S.A. by Roaring Spring Paper Products. It opens flat. The sheets are sturdy but very thin so almost anything except pencil or ballpoint pen bleeds through. Nonethless they feel lovely and the pages make a cheering noise when you turn them. I really liked this size: large enough to put quite a bit on a page if you want to but small enough that a half-filled page doesn't look empty.
She also wrote that she found it was "freeing and enjoyable to write on quad-ruled paper." (I'm guessing future real journals may be kept in similar books.)

Her character Anne is a couple years younger than Susan. She is described as a wonderful person, gentle, thoughtful, creative. She sews, cooks, and is very organized. As Susan "friend" she encourages a memory exchange between them.
Anne of course knows that most of us have mixed memories of loved ones but she said that I might want to capture some of the happy ones I have of my father.  I was hesitant about how to do this until she suggested that she'd make a quick phone call to me every day and ask for one memory.  She then grabs the closest writing instrument and jots down her summary of what I've told her in a composition book she had on hand that happened to have only a few pages already written on.  She's also been adding sketches and ideas for the memory book which she plans to make when IFJM is over.
With this artistic conceit in place, Susan was able to complete her project and make an entry each day in April. She attributes her success to limiting herself on materials. She needed only her journal and a writing implement, whatever was at hand. (There were times she did add some collage material.)

Susan wrote that this created a big advantage—it kept her working:
Typically when I try to do any art activity including art journaling, I spend more time hopping up and down and looking for stuff than I spend actually working. (I should note I'm not usually this way when doing other creative activities.) I've tried limiting materials but this hasn't worked very well for me in the past. There are of course numerous other approaches that have the potential to improve this situation. I hope to use the momentum from my IFJM project to discover which of these approaches work best for me.
Susan wrote two additional posts on her blog about wrap up which can be found at this link.

In those posts you'll find additional insights that Susan's project brought to her. I encourage you to go and check them out. She had a very valuable insight into her relationship with her journals.
When I look back at journals I've done, they typically make me glad that I've done them whether or not I particularly enjoyed doing them at the time. This is in contrast to looking at individual pieces of art later because I usually don't like them any better than when I did them.
But what I enjoyed reading the most was that her character came up with creative solutions even when she was having difficulty. "This means that I am capable of coming up with creative solutions."

I think that's something that we all need to remind ourselves of every day!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

2014 International Fake Journal Month Wrap-Up: Dianne Carey


Above: ©2014 Dianne Carey, a page explaining her plan of attack for her 2014 fake journal. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

Dianne Carey is another artist returning to International Fake Journal Month. For 2014 she has provided a wrap-up on her blog.

One of the things I love about artists who come back to IFJM is the way they can refine their project to something they know is doable. They have had the additional experience of observing themselves at work and seeing what can and does work within the structure of their regular lives. This is something that all of us as artists have to learn to recognize, to adapt to, and to handle and sometimes wrestle into a new structure and organization. IFJM is a great way to think about these issues.

Dianne's character was a cake decorator and Dianne limited her character's media to pen and watercolor. In fake journaling often less is more.

Take a moment to look at the additional notes Dianne provides at the link above. And then spend a bit of time investigating this post where she reveals more information about her character. It's always fun to play with not giving full disclosure. The readers can guess along and it is often more fun for the fake journal keeper. There is a second part of the character reveal in this post here

It is particularly fun to see how Dianne kept in character and at the same time explored so many subjects, simply because her character would have done so too. This was a very fun idea.

I don't need to remind you that keeping the fun in the project is a great way to keep up momentum and explore new things, regardless of the subject matter your character might document.

And I think looking through the eyes of a character for useful ideas for design and color helps remind us to do so in our real lives as well. 

You can also visit with Dianne at her blog Art Beneath the Cottonwoods, and see the "real" projects she explores in mixed media. (Even her fake journal blog's title is a little sideways nod to the other blog.)

Monday, May 26, 2014

2014 International Fake Journal Month Wrap-Up: Michelle Himes

Above: ©2014 Michelle Himes, a page spread from her 2014 IFJM journal. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

Michelle Himes has participated several times in International Fake Journal Month. In 2014 she joined in with the experiences of a character who plans and reads about gardens. She wrote the following wrap-up at the end of her project—

I had a lot of trouble coming up with a "character" for this year's fake journal, so I went with Roz's suggestion to think of a technique that I wanted to try and then figure out who would use that technique.  
I wanted to try a line and wash technique that Gerald Brommer calls "color independent of line" in one of his workshops. I like how the technique looks, and thought it would be quick and not too labor intensive.   
I decided to use gardens, since it was spring, and gardens lend themselves well to this technique. In hindsight, maybe should not have restricted myself to a single subject, especially that subject, since I do paint realistic, close focused flowers in my real life. 
My "character" was someone who plans and reads about gardens, and works hard to make her garden beautiful—in contrast to myself who never gets around to doing much garden work and must buy flowers at the grocery store if I want to paint them. It was hard to distance myself from my character though, because real flowers and real weather were occurring all around me. Perhaps it would have been better to have placed my character in a different climate—maybe tropical, so that she wouldn't be writing about what was actually growing here. Perhaps it would have been better to have used a different subject matter as well as a new technique, but I was trying to keep it simple. 
I liked and always wanted to try this technique, but honestly, coming up with an image and a quote that would work with it every day was a bit challenging, and I did get bored with it on occasion. I had also intended to put a bit of gardening advice on every spread, but since April is early for gardening in my area, I ran out of things that could realistically be done in the garden—thus the change of location/climate would have helped with this. 
I loved the idea of using quotes though, and plan to use them in my regular journal. And as usual, since I am not a disciplined, every day journaler, I fell behind and did not complete all 30 page spreads.  But I like what I've done with the 24 spreads that I did do, and I would really like to finish the rest at some point.
If you follow the link to Michelle's fake journal blog above, or click on this link, you'll be able to see the other spreads of her fake journal.

I think we can all learn from Michelle's experience—there is a fine line in selecting a character that is close to us but not too close. I think personally it is sometimes better to err on the side of the character being too close so that we can rely on things we know to ease us through the rough patches in the month. On the other hand it is sometimes difficult when you are too close to the character to get the type of distance you are aiming for.

I think the use of the line and wash technique is lovely and I think an approach like this where you take a style and work in it is a great way to experiment with the style in a concerted block of time. I find the pages charming, and I'm eager to look up Gerald Brommer and learn more about his art too. I couldn't find a website for him but there are tons of paintings on the internet of his, and I found this workshop listing from last year with lovely stained paper collage work. 

Michelle also encountered several hiccups that we all may encounter depending on the character we pick and the subject matter he or she might sketch—specifically the problem of April being too early for the types of garden advice inclusions Michelle hoped her character would do.

But what I'm excited about is that in all this she came out of her project with new ideas for her REAL journal. That's one of the best results we can achieve.

Take a moment today to go through Michelle's fake journal for 2014 and think about things you might like to try in your own art. Be inspired to jump in, set some time aside, and go for it.

You can also visit Michelle at her regular blog: Michelle's Watercolors.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

2014 International Fake Journal Month Wrap Up: Dana Burrell

Above: Page spread ©2014 Dana Burrell from her 2014 fake journal. This was a test page her character created. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

What can you get done in 15 minutes a day—journaling, and even fake journaling. That's the daily time limit artist Dana Burrell allowed herself each day in April to work on her 2014 fake journal.

Dana has posted her write up here with more images. Her wrap up also details how she approached her fake journal this year; how she thought of her character; what role planning played in this year's project, and the journal that she created for the project. Dana has participated in IFJM before and I think it will help you to see that in any given year setting a new project boundary can generate new issues.

I encourage you to go to her site and see the full write up. I think my favorite part is how Dana worked in watercolor pencils and neither she nor her character had ever used them before so her character created a color chart and test sketch at the opening of her journal. (See opening image.) A sensible character indeed. And in a year without explanations it makes total sense to all those reading why she would do that. It's also a nifty way to handle a bit of life-overlap!

Dana also explains the value of seeing the project as a whole at the end of the month. Her character dealt with issues of anxiety regarding her mother's illness and Dana found this situation paralleled her own thoughts but brought a new perspective.

You will also enjoy seeing Dana's post on "Gearing up for IFJM" here. There you'll see the lovely small book she made with it's vibrantly colored cover.

Next year think about exploring a new medium, or looking at issues you face from a different perspective. The experience can leave you with new skills on many levels.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

2014 International Fake Journal Month Wrap Up: Ellen Ward

Above: 2014 IFJM page ©Ellen Ward. Click on the image to view an enlargement and read about her goals and approach.

Today's 2014 IFJM wrap up comes from Ellen Ward. She's an artist who teaches university classes as well as workshops for artists of all ages.

Ellen provided me with a jpg of one of her journal pages—she explored the graphic novel format as her character worked within multiple frames on her pages. The jpg also gives her goals and impressions of her project.

Ellen publicly posted her fake journal on her blog Rough Sketch. You can read more about her wrap-up thoughts and see other pages/panels from her fake journal there.

Ellen's approach to stick with black and white (there were shades in the earlier art), and marrying that approach with her love of typography created an intriguing piece that will have you smiling and mulling things over for quite some time. I encourage you to go and check the rest of her pages out at her blog.

Whether you join in the fun of IFJM next year or not, consider following Ellen's example and setting aside 15-25 minutes each day to explore some "oddball thing" in your own way, just because you are moved to do it.

Monday, May 19, 2014

2014 International Fake Journal Month Wrap-Up: Christine Mitzuk

Above: Journal spread ©2014 Christine Mitzuk. See below for more details. Gouache in the Delta Series Stillman & Birn journal. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

This week I'm going to be posting the wrap-ups participants have sent me about their experience of IFJM 2014.

These posts always make me very happy because we get to see creative work of a daily sort, even if we simply get a glimpse.

Today's artist is Christine Mitzuk. She is an extremely talented artist who trained at The Atelier in Minneapolis. There she teaches the Gesture Figure Study Class and Illustration. I have taken her Gesture class multiple times and hope to return to it as soon as my shoulders are ready. She rounds up great models, gets the best poses out of them, and pushes her students to look carefully and see stories in gestures (so it isn't surprising she also teaches illustration).

She is teaching a week-long illustration workshop in July.

Recently she created art for Llewellyn's 2014 Astrological Calendar. You can see these lovely paintings on her site.

You can also keep up with Christine and her art life through her blog.

Above: Another page spread ©2014 Christine Mitzuk, from her 2014 Fake Journal. Christine was exploring spacescapes and inventing spaceships, drawing from her imagination. Gouache in the Delta Series Stillman & Birn journal. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

Christine has put up with my rambling on and on about International Fake Journal Month for some time now, and this year she decided to participate privately. (That means she didn't post her pages.)

At the end of April, however Christine sent me a note telling me she'd enjoyed IFJM. She gave me permission to post these two images which are spreads from her 2014 fake journal. She gave this explanation of her approach:

Since I'm usually drawn to organic subjects instead of mechanical, I opted for doing spacescapes and inventing spaceships. 
I found it useful to restrain my inner critic. Now I'm looking forward to keeping a journal where I draw out of my head...well it seems more manageable now.  
I have to say I'm excited to check back in with Christine and see how she works in her journal going forward, drawing from imagination.

I think one of the fun things about IFJM is that it can point you in new directions you might not have thought of going before, or it can remove any remaining delays in taking those directions. You can have so much fun in IFJM (and work so hard) that there is really no point in waiting to go on other explorations.

I hope next year those of you reading this week's wrap up posts will consider taking an imaginary journal of your own. Like Christine you'll return with some fabulous visual mementos.