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.

2019 IFJM Celebration
IFJM has been suspended indefinitely. Please read the pinned post about this below.

Participants who Post Their Journals
A list of 2018 participants who are posting their fake journals this year will appear near the top of the right side bar of this blog around April 6. Lists of participants who posted their pages in 2010 through 2017 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?"

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Button Situation: They Have Arrived!

Left: The buttons for this year's thank-you gift, with a dime so you can see scale. (The buttons are 2.25 inches in diameter and more pink than this poorly lit, quick photo shows.) The buttons match the link-button promoters placed on their blogs. The year appears on the edge. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

The buttons arrived late on Thursday and I ran out today to get mailers for them. I need to go to another store as there weren't enough where I went—but those have all been addressed and there will be a batch of buttons going out in the mail tomorrow! It's so fun to see them on the table, with the stack of envelopes. I'm really pleased with the job and price Pure Buttons was able to deliver on. If you have buttons to make I suggest that you contact them. They use quality buttons with a very nice pin back!

Participants, promoters, and winners of the two prize books—look for your stuff in the mail next week (and for a couple international people, a little while after that)! I can't wait to take the first batch over to the post office tomorrow!

Thank you all again for participating in and promoting International Fake Journal Month 2010. I love seeing it grow every year. Even more I love seeing what participants do in their fake journals. I am already looking forward to 2011's celebration of International Fake Journal Month. I've already designed the button!

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Button Situation and a Quick Update

Well here it is the end of May and this year's celebration is still not wrapped up. I wanted to let you all know what was going on. The first button company failed, so I had to try another. I expect to receive buttons today—but since they haven't sent me updates as they promised I'm wondering if that will really happen. EEEK. I'm feeling a little jinxed and a little worried. 

Don't you worry, however, if they don't work out I will try another vendor—in fact if you have a button vendor that you have used and like write in and tell me so I have a back up! There will be buttons. And when they arrive, of course the book prizes will go out too. Thanks to everyone—you're all being very, very patient. (I know I'm not.)

The only other news to report is that I have not been able to write about my 2010 fake journal experience yet. It has been difficult to pull my thoughts together while elements in my life pull me in other directions and we scramble to get ready for house guests. (It doesn't look good folks! Keep your fingers crossed on that for me will you?)

But I do have some things to say about my fake journal for this year, about how it actually changed my life in certain ways. So maybe check back after June 6 or so for that. The house guests will be gone, some other deadlines demolished, and I will be able to put my thoughts together. 

I hope in the meantime all your own journaling efforts have been going along well, whether fake or real.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fake Notes for a Fake Journal

Left: The note that is attached to the front of my 2010 fake journal. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

This note, written in fountain pen says: Lois, Please type attached note and copy file. Copy and sketchbooks to to Dr. Hammond at St. Claire's. PD

The note that is to be typed by this fictional Lois is attached to the first page of the fake journal with a dog bone paper clip. (Why shouldn't PD have interesting paper clips? If you have to ask maybe you shouldn't be creating fake journals?)

I wanted the handwriting on the two handwritten notes to be totally non-recognizable as my writing, so I had Dick write them with his fountain pen of course. (It struck me that PD would use a fountain pen too.)

Left: The note attached to the first page of my 2010 fake journal. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

This note, written in fountain pen on a sheet of gridded paper can be read if you click on the image. Again, I enlisted the aid of Dick to complete the last bit of fakery for my 2010 fake journal.

The note explains the background of the author of the fake journal—as much as it can be known given her particular circumstances. 

Pressing deadlines keep me from doing my final write up as I'd hoped. This year's fake journal was an incredibly difficult experience for me intellectually—as it brought up a number of issues I really didn't want to think about at this point in my life. It was incredibly easy to execute from an illustrative point of view however.

Now that you at least have these notes you can put the rest of the journal in context. I'll be back next week to discuss what happened. 

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Thirtieth Entry in Roz's 2010 Fake Journal

Left: the final sketch page in my 2010 fake journal. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

This is the last page in my 2010 fake journal executed by the "author." All that's left are some "notes" that go with the journal by another "fake" author. (I tell you, once I get started on fakery—well it's a slippery slope.)

I'll post those tomorrow, and with luck have some time to write about all this. Today the "Got Junk" folks are coming and I'm so excited I can hardly sit still. I keep pacing! 

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Twenty-ninth Entry in Roz's 2010 Fake Journal

Left: the twenty-ninth entry in my 2010 fake journal. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

Here is one more installment. We're close to the end. I'll be wrapping it up during the beginning of this week and then trying to put some more thoughts together. (ARGH—it has been so chaotic here.) Thanks for your patience as I weave my way through a maze of interruptions! Go see How to Train Your Dragon—in 3D—today. I wrote about it on my regular blog (use the link). Have a great day.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Twenty-eighth Entry in Roz's 2010 Fake Journal

Left: the twenty-eighth entry in my 2010 fake journal. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

Moving closer and closer to the end of my fake journal. No time this weekend to wrap it all up, but it's coming. The oddest thing about posting these images now is that they seem like they were done a lifetime ago. My mind has moved completely back to my regular journal. I do miss my time spent drawing faces—sadly events keep cropping up to keep me away from life drawing group, which is where the best opportunity for a "still" person is to be found. I have to mark off those evenings as taken! Time to take stock of my commitments.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Twenty-seventh Entry in Roz's 2010 Fake Journal

Left: The twenty-seventh entry in my 2010 fake journal. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

A whirlwind of days, I wonder how I managed my regular journal and my fake journal in April which now seems so long ago! Today I've been posting wrap-ups about the MCBA Visual Journal Collective's sketch out at the Shepherd's Harvest Sheep and Wool Festival. You can check it out on Roz Wound Up and that will lead you to the additional post on Urban Sketchers—Twin Cities, where you can see additional work by me along with Karen Engelbretson and Suzanne Hughes. (It was a cold and sleeting day so participation was low!) 

I hope you've been finding fun and challenging visual journaling opportunities in May!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Twenty-sixth Entry in Roz's 2010 Fake Journal

Left: the twenty-sixth entry in my 2010 fake journal. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

A series of small family "emergencies" has eaten up my time for today. All I can do right now is push forward with the individual page scans. No thoughts on journaling except to say—make some time to do it today, it can save your brain when everything seems chaotic!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Twenty-fifth Entry in Roz's 2010 Fake Journal

Left: the twenty-fifth entry in my 2010 fake journal. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

I'm having trouble with Blogger today so I'm just trying to see if I can get another entry posted and continue to play catch up. More wrap up stuff later. I hope you are all transitioning back to regular journaling smoothly!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

EVA and Her Thoughts about Her 2010 Fake Journal

For a wrap up on EVA's fake journal experience check out her May 11 blog post. I think you will find her breakdown of the experience helpful when reflecting about your own, or when you come to commit to next year's celebration (because I know you want to!).

EVA's spontaneous decision to participate has actually led to her starting not one but three journals! Each will serve a different purpose.

Work in her fake journal has resulted in new choices for books, paper, and materials. She is also considering how to fit the habit into her daily life.

"Knowing you only need to write 30 entries is easier than writing for a prolonged and indefinite time period," she wrote. 

I would just like to encourage EVA and everyone who might feel the pressure of a regular journal habit looming—once you have the habit it is as natural as breathing. That indefinite time period which stretches ahead of you beckons rather than intimidates. Each passing year, and the journals they produce, solidifies that creative contract. It becomes neither easy nor difficult to keep a journal, it simply is. It's natural and useful. You will come to "notice" it only when you haven't connected with it for a time. I really believe keeping a journal is one of the best things you can do for your creative life, and that's why I teach journaling.

In her wrap up EVA compared art and golf and the use of expensive materials and fancy clubs. I would also encourage EVA and everyone to buy quality art materials when you can afford them. Golf can be art EVA, but the analogy you're making doesn't hold. If you have quality materials, the ease with which your ideas will flow on to the paper will be vastly improved. Instead of fighting cheap paints with weak pigment loads that don't allow one to get the values and contrasts and verve in one's paintings or sketches one is able to begin seeing steady improvements when using quality materials. 

Two good brushes, some quality paper (for the media you elect to use) and quality paints—in watercolors 6 tubes is totally sufficient (a warm and cool of each primary) will allow great strides forward.

And the immediate benefit is that incremental and steady success will push you forward as well.

Inexpensive art materials, inferior paints, crummy brushes, student grade paper—they are all false economies. They waste your most precious resource—your time. You can't get your time back, but you can use your time to move forward in your art—to practice. It's my hope that everyone considers this as they take off on a journaling adventure. A few quality materials provide the means for starting off on the right foot—just as wearing quality shoes will enable you to go on a long and blister-free journey.

Learning new art skills can be frustrating enough—please don't add to the frustration with poor quality materials.  

Overburdening yourself with materials of any sort, quality or not can be a problem. So if getting the journaling habit and learning about art materials seems intimidating I recommend starting with only a pen and a book and sketching and learning about that pen—and getting the habit. Add other materials after the habit is present and you're in the experimental phase. 

If you are a new artist who doesn't feel worthy of quality materials, or if you feel the only way you'll be able to get out of the door with any materials at all is if they are inexpensive, by all means get out and start journaling with those materials. I'd rather you were all journaling. But please realize that improvement in your art will come when you use paints with quality pigments and heavy pigment loads, on paper that was meant to make those materials sing. Move towards that as quickly as your pocketbook allows. Because not allowing yourself hardworking tools is just one way your internal critic uses to derail you. I've seen it in students for over 20 years.

Lee Trevino could golf 9 holes under 85 strokes with a Dr. Pepper Bottle (or something like that) because he already had SKILLS. Any great artist can take crap materials and make them work for him or her. A beginner starting with student grade materials needs to move to the quality materials as soon as possible to see how real paint moves in a graduated wash, or blends with another paint, or works on a paper sized for heavy duty watercolor technique. It's joyous. The experience will feed you while you work to improve your skills.
EVA, thanks for sharing in this event, and for sharing your experience with others. Readers can land on EVA's first fake journal entry by clicking on her name in the 2010 participants list in the right hand column. Go experience her journey now.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Melinda Bilecki's Thoughts on Her Fake Journal for 2010

Above: The final image from Melinda Bilecki's 2010 fake journal. ©2010 Melinda Bilecki.

Melinda Bilecki's thoughts on International Fake Journal Month 2010 came in the form of a helpful list of points:
It was truly a wonderful experience for me.  Here is some of what I learned:
1. A little planning can be a good thing.  Normally, I just dive in when I decide to sketch something.  In doing my IFJM journal, though, I spent a little time each day deciding what the image was going to be, where I'd place it on the page, and how the text would read.  I think this helped me end up with a nicer looking page in the end. And it actually didn't cause me to lose spontaneity as much I thought it might. I just did a quick doodle on a scratch sheet with the text and basic image placement before I started in my journal. If anything, it made the journaling more enjoyable because I felt more certain going in that I'd like what I ended up with.
2. Using color is fun! I've really enjoyed the ink and watercolor wash sketches I've been doing. Color is a new thing for me, and working with it day in and day out taught me a lot. I've learned how watercolor handles in all kinds of situations—with wet paper, dry paper, lots of water, very little water, with a waterbrush, with a regular paint brush, and on and on. This has given me a whole new dimension for getting my world down on paper that I wasn't accessing before. This isn't to say I'll be using color all the time going forward, but it's definitely something I'll incorporate regularly thanks to this experience.
3. Pacing myself is hard. One of the most difficult parts of the whole IFJM process was taking my time with it. Sometimes I was overwhelmed with the desire to finish it, to rush ahead, play the story out, and wrap everything up.  Patience is not my strong suit. So…I've had to relax and live with my fake self day after day.  It's been good for me, I think. I've had to realize that the project was about the process as much as about the end result—a pretty important lesson.
4. I am all for a daily practice of sketch journaling. It provides a nice organizing principle for the day. I look forward to it until I've done it, and I enjoy having done it afterwards. It helps me think visually.  It even helps me feel grounded in some important way I can't quite put my finger on. I'll be thinking more about this going forward, but the bottom line is that this is a practice I plan to continue.
The bottom line is that I would highly recommend participating in International Fake Journal Month to anyone!

I asked Melinda, after receiving her note, whether or not she thought she would continue doing thumbnail sketches on scrap paper before working in her regular journal. She replied. 
I don't think I'll always do the thumbnail, but I think it will be one tool among many that I'll use when the situation seems to call for it. I hardly ever planned a page ahead of time before IFJM, but now that I feel comfortable with that process, I find I've been doing it more and more.
I also asked Melinda if she had ever tried daily journaling before, and if so, what stopped it. She responded:
Regarding daily journaling, no, I hadn't tried it before. I draw almost every day, and I do have a sketch journal. In the past, though, I only worked in the sketch journal when it seemed like there was something especially interesting to record. IFJM has made me reconsider that approach by helping me see that there is more to be gained from keeping a regular sketch journal than just a record. The process itself is very rewarding!  That's probably the most important thing I learned this April! 

You will find Melinda Bilecki's 2010 fake journal on her blog under the category IFJM (this link takes you to that category). Scroll down to get to the first entry. The category list starts with the most recent post and that is about how she is moving on to another daily project—a great way to keep momentum going after finishing International Fake Journal Month is to move on to another daily project.

Thank you Melinda for sharing your thoughts on your first-time participation in IFJM. I do think it is helpful for people who are considering whether or not to participate in 2011, to hear the thoughts of other participants. People come to fake journaling from all sorts of different backgrounds. Some already keep daily visual or written journals, others have never journaled before. Wrap-ups by participants give people a better grasp on the wide variety of experiences and results and the impact of those results. Good luck Melinda with your daily practice in May! 

Whether you decide to share your wrap up thoughts here or on your own blog, or not at all, please do take a moment to think about your participation in this year's celebration. What did you learn about your practice, your habits, your internal critic, your life's schedule? How does creativity fit into your life's schedule? Do you feel the need for change?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Spy Girl: Thoughts on Fake Journaling from Anne M. Bray

Left: An image from Spy Girl's 2010 fake journal. Image ©2010 Anne M. Bray. 

Anne M. Bray is a two-time fake journal keeper. You can find the 2010 fake journal of Anne M. Bray here. (Sorry for the clunky name repetition but I want my links to be "complete.")

I asked Anne if she would write about her experiences with fake journaling now that her second year was finished. I think that people new to fake journaling can benefit from reading about her experiences with fake journaling in part because her 2009 and 2010 journals differ from each other in media and in approach.

I recommend you read Anne's experiences with fake journaling in her own words. Her journey will be an inspiration for people who aren't "hard core" journal keepers. Fake journaling has actually spawned additional blogs for her! I would suggest that those are journals and that Anne is actually becoming a "hard core" journal keeper after all! (You need to check out her delightful blog Cupcake Safari. The delicate colored pencil drawings of cupcakes are delicious.)

I love two things about Anne's 2010 fake journal. First she let the idea flow from a found object—a sketch she found under an oleander bush outside her house. This ties in beautifully with her involvement in "Found It (Urban Artifacts), a Facebook group. But it also speaks to me of the way in which creative minds look around and find something (either an idea or a physical object) and allow it to expand and give life to a whole other creative project.

The other thing I enjoyed learning about Anne's 2010 experience was that she let the fake journal serve for two creative projects she wanted to participate in. ArtHouse sponsored a March/April project for work in a small black moleskine themed "this is where I live." Anne's Spy Girl journal documents what she wore during April. 

Sometimes we have a lot of desire to participate in several projects at the same time. Finding a way to satisfy that urge without busting our schedules is a good skill to work on. It can also help you focus on what is truly important to you about each of the projects that you take on.

OK, there's a third thing I loved about Anne's 2010 fake journal: the inclusion of found items in her "confidential" envelopes on each page. In so many ways this simple approach allowed her to combine so many of her interests. When projects are structured that way we have a higher possibility of completion and an even deeper satisfaction in the final product or outcome.

Take a moment now to read what Anne has to say about her experiences with fake journaling. Then think about how her discoveries and approaches might be useful for you next year when you are getting ready to jump in to your 2011 fake journal! 

Thank you again Anne for your active participation in this year's celebration!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Twenty-fourth Entry in Roz's 2010 Fake Journal

Left: the twenty-fourth entry in my 2010 fake journal. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

I'm still playing catch up with my posts, and juggling deadlines, so today there is just one more entry for you to check out. This ended up being one of my favorites in the project. My character was very interested in the profile line and earlobe of this person. Eyes, ears, and profile tended to be a constant source of interest, but this earlobe was fascinating to her. And by extension, me. The lobe came out of the ear almost like a large flap. Now that I've seen one like this I'm seeing more of them around and it's very exciting!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Twenty-third Entry in Roz's 2010 Fake Journal

Left: the twenty-third entry in my 2010 fake journal. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

As part of the wrap of of International Fake Journal Month 2010 I would love to hear from participants about their experiences. Some of you have taken time to write a note to me on Facebook or this blog. Others have written a post about their experiences and posted on their blog. I've also contacted people who participated last year directly about this. 

If you have written about your experiences on your blog would you please take a moment and send me a link to that post? I would love to create a post with links to those "wrap-ups."

I think it is important that people coming to fake journaling and the celebration of International Fake Journal Month, find comments from other journal keepers who have recently started doing this. I would like them to hear other voices—even if your experience was difficult.

I write about my experience with fake journaling, regular journaling, and my observations of students and their experiences, but it's only one part of the picture. I think with a more complete picture more people might be convinced to give it a go. Newcomers might be overwhelmed by the links and the volume of pages to go through in participants' journals, but having a "wrap-up" page of links will help them see some of the benefits or problems and then put the pages in a context for them. So let me know if you've blogged about your "wrap-up" experience.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Did I Miss Color?; the Myth of Time; and The Twenty-first and Twenty-second Entries in Roz's 2010 Fake Journal

Left: The twenty-first entry in my 2010 fake journal. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

As some of you will see I've had to change my highlight and caption text color. A small thing, irritating to me, but not irritating enough for me to bother to switch over to using html codes all the time for something that occurs so frequently. But for those of you who did notice, now you know why.

I'm also trying to get used to the new way the images are handled. And in an effort to catch you all up to the end of my fake journal I have two images today.

Also, a participant wrote in the other day and asked me if I missed using color. I wrote a short answer back to her in the comment section (so much is going on I can't remember if it was on this blog or my main blog) and basically said no.

Well later I finished my work at the computer and got up to walk away. I bent to return something to a shelf and my eyes fell on a print from my 2009 fake journal (alternate Minneapolis, post-some sort of health disaster, all about birds). It was a page spread where many Canada geese move across a vibrant lavender background. The sloppy, drippiness of the washes on the water resistant paper barely contained by the glossy black ink lines, reminded me of how much fun I had last year with my fake journal and Schmincke watercolors over dip pen lines. For a moment I didn't miss color so much as I missed the subject matter and that small book with pages which crinkled (and still do) when turned. 

Left: the twenty-second entry in my 2010 fake journal. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

So in a way I think I answered too quickly, because I do miss that colorful experience. But in another way I know my answer was correct. I didn't miss color this year because color wasn't on the character's radar—and I had daily recourse to my regular journal if I wanted color. At the same time I was working on some acrylic paintings. Perhaps choosing a character who worked only with black pencil created a window for more color in other projects?

I have found that International Fake Journal Month has always opened up such windows. Intense focus on one project can have the salutary effect of encouraging the mind to apply similar focus to other projects running simultaneously. 

The myth of waiting until we have "the luxury of all the time we need" can seduce us into not using the time we have. Everyone has a point of overwhelm, but you won't find that point by doing one task at a time. I believe one of the benefits of IFJM is the way it can help people manage creative multitasking—help them find out the nuances of how they use their time, and then work to utilize their strengths or create strengths.

By taking your attention in one direction (for me this year: black pencil sketches) you open up the possibilities of simultaneous explorations in other directions. Or you simply get the use of a certain medium out of your system. That's good too.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Winners in the 2010 Contests and the Twentieth Entry in Roz's 2010 Fake Journal

Left: my twentieth entry in my 2010 fake journal. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

Congratulations to Kyra Sanders who won the draw for the Promotion Contest (for all those who put the Link-Button on their blogs).

Congratulations to Gina Mitsdarfer who won the draw for the Participation—Posted on Your Own Blog. (There was a subcategory for blogless folks who wanted to post on this blog but no one entered that portion of the contest.)

Both of these winners will be receiving one of the contest prize books. I have their postal addresses so as soon as the buttons are made I will be sending those out. (Gina and Kyra, you can expect a heads up post next week.)

Everyone else, whether you participated in the promotional aspect of International Fake Journal Month or participated by keeping a fake journal (or both), if you sent me your address with your entry (as requested) you will be receiving a commemorative button. (I hope to mail them next week.)

If you sent in an entry but didn't send your postal address you will have recently received an email from me asking for one. If you want a button, please reply. If I don't hear back I'll just assume you're not a button person (I know not everyone is and that's OK.)

Either way, I want to thank you all for your energetic participation in this year's festivities!

This week and next I'll continue to post the remaining pages of my fake journal and have some thoughts on my fake journal—as well as some explanations for all of you who have so patiently been reading along. I hope you'll check back for those posts. 

But even more important, start thinking about your 2011 Fake Journal!

Nineteenth Entry in Roz's 2010 Fake Journal

Left: my nineteenth entry in my 2010 fake journal. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

I'm just playing around with the new composing window in blogger. I don't know how long they've had it, but I just noticed it while changing some other settings. The good thing about it is that it lets you load images differently. You used to have to load in reverse order as new images always appeared at the top of the post and that was very annoying for multi-image posts. But there are some other things I've haven't quite worked out yet so who knows how this will look. (Not sure I've got the right caption color for one.)

If something very strange appears when you visit please drop me a line to alert me!

In the meantime I'm going to keep posting these images, and will have more to say about them later in the week when I get through the contest business.

I hope you are having a good first few days post-International-Fake-Journal-Month. Is your new journal glad to have you back full time? Did it never even notice you were gone? Is it enthusiastic about your new approaches? (OK, I do tend to anthropomorphize everything.)

Note: one thing I've noticed in switching is that I can't get the same color for my caption color and special text. I'll have to use a different one until I find a way to get back to it and so far I haven't. Also setting the font got messed up going back and forth.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Fake, Fake, Fake—Layers of Fake: A Flip Through of Roz's 2010 Fake Journal

Above is a short video flip through of my 2010 fake journal. Sadly the quality of the videos my tiny camera makes isn't such that you can read the post-it note on the cover or the handwritten note inside the cover—but those are all part of the fake journal. They were written by ANOTHER fake character, not the one keeping the journal. They'll appear in scanned form at the end of my individual posts of the pages.

For now you can see the wonderful distorted shape the APICA notebook took on during the month of April. And you can see all the pages from April 1 through April 30 in a quick flip through that will give you an overview of the project.

If the embedded video doesn't work please view the video of Roz's 2010 fake journal here.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Eighteenth Entry in Roz's 2010 Fake Journal

Left: my eighteenth entry in my 2010 fake journal. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

Sorry no little video ready yet. I didn't have time to set up the camera this morning—I went on a great, but windy bike ride. But I'll get to it soon.

In the meantime—here's the next image from my fake journal, if you have been "reading" along.

Remember—no rest for the weary today—turn to your regular journal full focus.

Friday, April 30, 2010

International Fake Journal Month Ends, and the Seventeenth Entry in Roz's 2010 Fake Journal

Left: the seventeenth entry in my 2010 fake journal. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

Today is the final day of 2010's celebration of International Fake Journal Month. I finished my 30th sketch and the accompanying text this morning. The glue is still drying on the colored paper insert. Sometime tonight or tomorrow I'll take a little video of the completed journal and post it so that you can "page through it."

I'll still post the remaining images chronologically if you want to stop by and see them in more detail. Also those pages will give me a visual for a few more wrap up posts I will need to make—winners of each of the contests, some post-fake-journal-month notes about what I learned, that sort of thing. Maybe even a couple suggestions that will get you off the fence for next year's celebration?

But right now my focus has shifted to sorting through the two contest folders and making sure I have everyone in the correct folders, meeting the contest rules, etc. I was so excited to have so many people join in this year. I hope that it was a not overly stressful endeavor—in fact I hope it was challenging and fun.

I also am grateful for those who chose to promote the event on their blogs. I am hopeful each year that the project will grow and people spreading the word are a constant help to that.

I was so pleased with the participation on every level this year that I have decided to make a commemorative button (you all know I love buttons) and send it out to all the participants and promoters. So if you were a promoter who included your address in your email and posted the button link to this blog on your blog by April 10 and kept it up until May 3 you'll be getting a thank-you button in the mail. If you participated by keeping your own fake journal and you posted your entries on your blog and sent me links to five such entries (pages or spreads) over the course of April you'll also be receiving a thank-you button in the mail.

The participation contest is over today but I'll do a last check of the promotion blogs on May 3 and have the drawing for the two prize books also on that date. Book winners will be posted here on May 4, but I'll hold on to the books until I also have the buttons to send out at the same time.

So that's the plan for the next few days as the organizational end of this celebration winds down. I'll thank you all at least a couple times over the next couple weeks I'm sure. However, today I would not only like to thank you all for making this an interesting and visually stimulating fake journal month, but I would also like to congratulate you!

I want to thank you all for rising up to the challenge to push yourselves creatively in April 2010. The fake journal that you hold in your hands is a testament to your creative commitment. It doesn't matter if you have a few entries or 30 or 70. It doesn't matter if you filled your book or still have lots of empty pages. What matters is that you followed your intention to stretch your creative muscle and put that intention into practice in your already full life. You carved out time for yourself. You experimented with new media. You tested new paper and books. You listened to that inner voice that says softly "I want to say something." You let that voice be heard over your internal critic.

For some of you it was excruciatingly difficult. For some of you it was easy. For others it was deceptively easy. All of you have something to think about now—your creative process. What works, what doesn't, where do you want to go, what do you want your regular journal to be, how do you want to give voice to your creativity?

There aren't easy answers to any of these questions, and the answers will change over the course of your life. But when you complete a creative project of this nature you give yourself an opportunity to examine these questions and move forward in your life and art with intention instead of impulse.

Don't get me wrong. Impulse is great. But if you give impulse a little guidance by doing a little reflection on your creative process you are able to clear out a lot of clutter and find a sustaining satisfaction in your work.

Don't worry if your friends and family look at your fake journal and mumble, "What's up with that?" (Or worse, tell you "that sucks.") You don't owe anyone else an explanation—only yourself.

Don't worry if your fake journal isn't at the artistic level you set for yourself or to which you normally work. That's your internal critic coming up behind you to whisper in your ear and cause you to doubt yourself and question your intention.

Every page of your fake journal might be complete shit. You might have just created 30 pages of the ugliest sketches and paintings and idiotic writing on the planet—it still doesn't make your internal critic right. It's a step, one that you took, despite the chattering of that internal critic. Future steps will be easier because you took one. (And this will continue to be true every day you take such a step.)

You hold in your hands a document which says "I allowed myself to create; I allowed myself to take risks." I think creative risks are like loose rocks on a hillside. We scramble over them, slipping at times, at other times finding sure footing, so that we can get to the top of the hill and have a better view.

I think having a better view (of ourselves, our creative process, our place in the world, the larger world, the people in our world) is what regular journaling is all about.

My wish for all of you who participated in this year's celebration of International Fake Journal Month is that you take what you learned about yourself and your process and use what you learned to make your regular journal practice stronger, deeper, more challenging, and integral in your life.

Thank you for sharing your journals with me, and for allowing me to share mine with you.

This is the point where if you were all here in Minneapolis we would go over to Cafe Latte and have a piece of cake and laugh and share our journals, and ooh, and ahh. One of us, I'm not saying who, would probably even cry a bit. There would be absolutely no hugging (I'm not a hugger)—OK some of you would hug on the way out to the cars. I wouldn't be annoyed at all. We would all drive home with insanely crazy smiles on our faces. But we would drive carefully because the satisfaction of successful play had grounded us all.

That's what successful play feels like. It has weight and substance. It doesn't evaporate. You have a tangible reminder on your bookshelf right now. Remember that this year as you observe your real life. You can choose to have that feeling every day.

Congratulations on pushing yourselves creatively.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Preparing for End and the Sixteenth Entry in Roz's 2010 Fake Journal

Left: the sixteenth entry in my 2010 fake journal. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

On day 16 the author of my fake journal fell in love with this person's nose. I have to say I did too.

This morning, the author of my fake journal completed the penultimate sketch, and for me there's a definite tug—"What am I going to do on Saturday?" I know what's happening Friday when this wraps up. It became obvious about a week in, and then it became inevitable, then it didn't seem so, and then again it became so. But what about Saturday, with this time I have always set aside for the fake journal? It happens every year.

In my April 25 post I urged you to make plans for May 1. I'm repeating that urging so you know how serious I am.

In the past some participants have actually felt bereft when the celebration is over. And they miss their fake journal author.

Well, maybe, if you are very attached to your fake journal author he/she can write you letters during the year and stay in touch. You don't have to completely let them go. I'm a huge fan of writing letters and would love to see the illustrated letter make a come back—think about it.

Other participants are happy to see the fake journal authors pick up their tools and leave.

Regardless of how you feel about your fake journal author, please remember that May 1 is the perfect time to establish a useful and on-going switch of journal practices to carry forth in your regular journal. You get to take anything good that you unearthed and apply it forward in your regular journal. You get to leave behind anything annoying, unfruitful, and not useful—knowing that you learned in the process how to approach those "things."

If you worked hard in your fake journal all month, daily, or almost so, don't take a vacation on May 1—keep going. Life and journaling are in part about momentum. Keep the creative machinery clicking, keep it fed, keep your appointment with your creativity.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The "Urge to Finish" and the Fifteenth Entry in Roz's 2010 Fake Journal

Left: fifteenth entry in my 2010 Fake Journal. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

While today's post only brings you up to April 15 in my fake journal, earlier today I finished sketch 28. With only two days left of International Fake Journal Month 2010 I confess there is a mixture of feelings in my mind (I've written about the melancholy). Most prominent is a sort of sense of urgency to finish co-existing with a desire to not finish.

The urgency comes because I work so quickly in general. Also I tend to set fake journal parameters so that daily time commitment is low and therefore sustainable through the month of April.

Now on April 28, with only two days left there is an urge to "just finish." (It wouldn't take that long after all.)

Resisting that urge and keeping "honest" in the execution of the fake journal within the context of fake journaling, is one way in which I school myself in pacing and try to improve that characteristic in myself as I age. I feel as if I'm holding my breath, but I know, from past experience waiting, that there are new revelations and new insights if I wait and let the process unfold.

So I take a breath and put the pencil away, until tomorrow. And take up my real journal…

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Another Fake Journal Keeper Joins the Ranks, and the Fourteeth Entry in Roz's 2010 Fake Journal

Left: the fourteenth entry in my 2010 fake journal. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

I have a link that I'm adding to the participant list: Gina Lento.

Go and check out her fake journal. She started on April 19 and has been experimenting with different media in a new brand of commercially bound journal—that's just the type of thing that lends itself to useful fake journaling. Keep going Gina.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Keep Working and Don't Care—and the Thirteenth Entry in Roz's 2010 Fake Journal

Left: the thirteenth entry in my 2010 fake journal. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

Only four more days of International Fake Journal Month 2010. Hang in there. Keep working.

If people don't understand what you are doing or if they don't like what you are doing in your fake journal, embrace the fact that you don't care!

And if you do care—well spend some time in the next four days thinking about the freedom of not caring, the freedom to create from your mind and heart to please yourself and no one else.

Look at your fake journal this way—a journal full of that which you were pleased to make. Just 'cause!

You can feel that way about your regular journal too. When you do, a whole new world of fun opens up for you. It's just play. It's not work. And you are engaging yourself, your creative mind. Take some of that freedom back with you to your regular journal—a gift from your fake journal author.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

What To Do on May First, and the Twelfth Entry in Roz's 2010 Fake Journal

Left: the twelfth entry in my 2010 fake journal. Click on the image for an enlargement.

So far this is the only person the author of my fake journal has sketched more than once. I don't know if this will still be true five days from now.

Plan a journal outing on May 1—even it if is just a 10-minute coffee break in a lounge where you work. Sketch something. Write something true about your life. Decide how you are going to use your "fake journaling" time when April is over.

Little by little you have carved out a bit of time for your fake journal. This is time that you wanted for your creative project. May 1 is the time to remind yourself that you do have time in your life for your creative pursuits, no matter how busy you get. May 1 is the time to turn your fake journaling habit into a useful habit for your regular journaling. You've exercised your journaling muscles with cross training!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Eleventh Entry in Roz's 2010 Fake Journal

Left: my eleventh entry in my 2010 fake journal. Click on the image to view and enlargement.

This is one of my favorite sketches from this year's project. For me the eleventh day of April was a bit of a turn around. Definitely a day in which I had more clarity about the author of the journal (which I'll write about at the end of April).

For now, there are 6 more drawings, 6 more pages to do (I've finished today's entry). I'm already getting a little bit of a sense of, don't know what, melancholy is too strong a word, but a sense that I will miss the project when it's over. Things become habit when we do them daily over time. That habit happens quickly. It's great that journaling is such a helpful and healthy habit!

Have fun on these remaining days. Savor the moments.

Oh, and yes that's dried glue on the red paper at the spine. Isn't it wonderful! Fussy Roz doesn't have to worry about it at all because it's not her journal! Pure enjoyment.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Taking Stock and the Tenth Entry in Roz's 2010 Fake Journal

Left: the tenth entry in my 2010 fake journal. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

No tip for today, just a companionable reminder to keep chugging along whether it is going smoothly or whether it feels a struggle—we've only got a week left!

OK, so there is a tip, with one week left in International Fake Journal Month 2010 take a moment today to page through your fake journal and ask yourself what "more" would you like to see happen in it.

"More" can be anything from more color to more intensity of emotion. "More" can be visual or verbal. "More" is not about taking more time out of your day and devoting it to the project. "More" is not about spending more money on art supplies at this point.

"More" might be as simple as making a date with your fake journal every day at the same time and finding a way (a pre-journal cup of coffee, a nutritious snack, 15-minutes of yoga, a short walk…) to get completely away from your life before you get into the fake journal so that you are present (as your fake journal author of course). Remember many of the techniques and approaches you use during International Fake Journal Month can be useful when you are keeping your regular journal. This is the time to try out different approaches.

Also this review is not a time to let your internal critic speak up. What I am suggesting is a review of your project as it stands so far, with an eye to pushing the envelop just a little "more" in some direction. Yes this will mean that you skate closer to risk and odd or ugly pages, but it also means that you will really let your fake journal author have control of his/her book.

Give it a push for this final week.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Facial Vocabularly and the Ninth Entry in Roz's 2010 Fake Journal

Left: the ninth entry in my 2010 fake journal. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

I've been thinking a lot about faces this month, because of the way the fake journal is structured. I found a slim but delightful book from Dover that I recommend to people working with faces—"Sargent Portrait Drawings: 42 Works by John Singer Sargent."

You'll also find books with drawings by other masters like Holbein and Leonardo. The great thing is that many are $6.95 (the price of the Sargent book).

The drawings in this book are reproduced in a large enough size so that you can see subtle nuances of line and shade. (One drawing on each 8 x 11 inch page.) Some of the drawings are loosely started and left unfinished, others are completed and fully realized (though I would argue that even Sargent's unfinished work has a sense of being fully realized).

Seeing how a great master like Sargent makes pencil and charcoal do his bidding to capture a likeness can inform your own efforts. You can see how he developed a vocabulary of marks and approaches that capture the 3-D in the 2-D surface. It is helpful to see how someone so skilled understands the structure of the face and the play of light and shadow on that structure. And it is always instructive to see how a great mind and hand "cheats" and suggests detail with a sure touch, when there is no detail upon close observation.

Sargent, Holbein, Leonardo—and all the great masters—can help you find a facial vocabulary of your own. I recommend you check out some of these books.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

International Fake Journal Month Tip of the Day: Enjoy the Chaos

Above: my 2010 fake journal on April 15, halfway through the process. More about what is happening to it in the post below. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

As you can see from the above photo, by April 15 my fake journal was curling up at an amazing angle. Additionally things were getting tight at the spine of this simple, sewn pamphlet (an APICA commercially made soft-covered notebook which I have written about before).

For many journal keepers the journal's final aspect—whether it looks worn or brand new—is important. Fake journaling can help you bust out of your prejudices as to whether or not there is a "right way" for something to happen, or whether there is a right way for something to end up looking.

Often people come to visual journaling with the idea that their filled journal should be (must be) a publishable piece of artwork—rather than whatever it turned out to be.

Imposing such restrictions on yourself can be limiting, even crippling to your journal practice. You allow your internal critic free-reign and constant access to weigh in on any of your activities—he gets to micro-manage your choices. You might put off working in your journal because you don't feel well or you don't think you have enough time to do something that is "worthy." You might actually find yourself thinking about "worthy" all the time—I've seen this happen. (Just the other day a friend told me she finally felt worthy to work in a journal I'd given her made with wonderful paper. I wanted to scream. Happily she feels worthy now, but the book has needed to be worked in all this time—books need to be filled.)

Sure there are artists creating journals that delight the eye and intellect so much that every page should be published. But if you look at the work of those artists you'll see that it is wonderful because they aren't hampered by preconceived notions of what they are "going for" but instead are simply working.

I would love to paint like Gérôme but life intervened and I made other choices and I didn't work as hard as he did, and frankly don't have the natural talent. I can be a realist about it. And because I can be a realist about that I can also be busy in my journal working from the point where I am at this point in my life.

This is something to keep in mind when you look at the journals of artists you admire—they are at a different point than you are, in skill, in talent, in interest, in work ethic, in circumstances you can't even begin to imagine. All of this plays into how their journals look at any given time.

The journals that I really admire are filled with pages of risk taking—risks that pay off because the artists are skilled, but risk taking all the same—which could result in failure. Embracing risk is part of making art, whether you are doing something to publish or not.

So my tip today, as we hit the final stretch in 2010's celebration of International Fake Journal Month is: embrace all the chaos and risk that comes your way while creating your fake journal.

For me this year, the scope of the journal was different from any journal I've done for myself. I have only been using pencil (something I haven't done since college) and my journal author has been using paper inserts in a way that I wouldn't do in a regular journal without making compensations (i.e., cutting out other pages to make space for the insertions).

The result is a physical object which is warping in a way I had not expected (though if I'd thought about it at all before hand I should have realized this would happen) and has caused me to further let go of my "fussy" procedures as to cutting and gluing. The second half of the book is really about "making it work" rather than getting it to work in the most optimal way. (And the great thing about it being a fake journal is that the author has to make it work, not me, and she doesn't seem to mind at all, so that's good role modeling for me!)

By embracing the "chaos" of this approach in this particular journal I'm able to whittle away at my own particular "optimal way" mentality. It doesn't mean I will stop being someone interested in experimenting and finding optimal ways to do things in my journal, and with the art materials I elect to use. What it does mean, however, is that I can free myself from the need to find the optimal way all the time. I can step away from "optimal way" when that means getting onto a more useful path to creation. That's always a good thing.

For me, over the years, that has been one of the most striking benefits of fake journaling. Last year's use of an Alvin Field Book, dip pen, and watercolor helped push me back into non-archival materials like school notebooks (something I used throughout my childhood). It has freed me even more from "archival" materials. It's great to use archival materials; it's great to work in journals that I have bound myself with archival materials; but fake journaling reminds me that it is simply just great to be journaling, with whatever is at hand.

For someone of opposite tendencies fake journaling might be a time to trot out the specially made journal with archival pages…

As you move through the final days of this year's celebration I hope that you find a way to embrace the oddities, the risks, the less-than-you-had-hoped-for results that may have happened. Own them as part of the journey you're on to express your vision. Use the accidents and mishaps to encourage you to more experimentation, rather than allow them to shut down your creative experimentation.

When we were young and we played, we don't get graded on the quality of our play (unless you played with a really bossy child or an absurdly intrusive adult); your passing or excelling "grade" in play was the feeling you got—the satisfaction you had—in knowing that you were really engaged. That's what matters. Remember that, and bring it forward into your journal practice.

Let your journal (fake or real) be a record of your play and experimentation. Enjoy the satisfaction of being fully engaged.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Eighth Entry in Roz's 2010 Fake Journal

Left: The eighth entry in my 2010 fake journal. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

Yesterday I posted an additional list of new links to people participating in International Fake Journal Month 2010—people who are posting their work on their own blogs.
Well, after that I put those links and the previous links all together in a links list at the side of this blog—2010 Participants. You can find them there and check on them throughout the month. (And into May as many of us might be behind in posting.)

I hope you will stop by the blogs where people are working on their 2010 IFJM Journal and give them encouragement.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

More International Fake Journal Month Participants and the Seventh Entry in Roz's 2010 Fake Journal

Left: the seventh entry in my 2010 fake journal. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

Here is an update on participants in this year's fake journal celebration. I have provided the name of the artist and then a short note about the fake journal. If you click on the name a link will take you there.

Gina Mitsdarfer (Gina shows us Santa Fe interior designer, Syndey Greene's journal.)

Margaret Sloan (Her journal keeper is off on a trip to an unusual land—Divergencia—where there are snail trains and cloud cows.)

Jana Bouc (Jana shares a book of spells and unspells—useful for all sorts of things! This is Jana's second year participating in IFJM.)

Ky Sanders (A young boy, Danny, begins a life changing journey.)

I'm going to make a sidebar feature with links to participant's postings on their own blogs. You can also click on "2010 participants" under categories and get to the related posts which list them.

Again, I'd like to encourage you all to jump in and start a fake journal if you haven't already done so. And of course, visit the blogs of those people who are posting their efforts!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Sixth Entry in Roz's 2010 Fake Journal

Left: the sixth entry in my 2010 Fake Journal. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

I'm getting more links ready for a post tomorrow. If you are posting your fake journal on your blog and I haven't already put you in the links update then be sure to let me know so I can include you.

In the meantime, keep enjoying the experience of fake journaling. I will have some more things to say in the next couple of days.
And don't forget to check in on the other fake journal keepers—links are found in my April 9 post.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Fifth Entry in Roz's 2010 Fake Journal

Left: the fifth entry in my 2010 International Fake Journal Month Journal. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

Today is not only Tax Day, but it is the midway point in International Fake Journal Month.

If you have been working right along with the rest of us then you are half way through the month! Congratulations and keep working.

If you are still sitting on the fence, come on, join in. You've got two weeks to have some great fun—stretching, playing, and exploring!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Fourth Entry in My 2010 Fake Journal

Left: the fourth entry of this year's fake journal. I'm still using only the Stabilo All (black; used dry) and cutting away the page to expose Canson Mi Tientes. I'm working in the APICA soft-covered notebook. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

Since I don't use pencil in my visual journals much (I don't like all the smearing and smudging) I'm having a bit of a vacation from myself and my usual prejudices against smudges.

The insertion of a backing sheet of Canson Mi Tientes on each page (you can see the previous page's backing sheet at the left of the image) has caused this slim writing notebook to start to curl (with the grain of course) in an interesting fashion. It causes the pages to rub against the previous page—and since this isn't my journal I'm not in the least concerned.

Yep, quite a vacation.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

International Fake Journal Month Tip of the Day: Don't Worry about "Bad Pages"

Left: Page 3 in my 2010 fake journal.

Sometimes our pages don't turn out the way we expect them to—or hope. Fake journaling helps us get over the push to have "perfect pages." I addressed an aspect of this in yesterday's post—the need to keep going.

But beyond the push of keeping yourself going when a page doesn't turn out the way that you would have liked or hoped, you also need to let go of the idea of having perfect pages, even in a "special" journal such as the fake journal.

On my third day of sketching in this year's fake journal none of my angles were working out. But because I'm not concerned with the need to make perfect pages I can use this experience to delve deeper into the mind of my character, freeing me even more from the need to be accountable to any internal critic.

So as this drawing started to depart from my initial hopes and direction (the shading was too dark and clumsy in some areas, the angles and proportions not keenly observed) I started asking my character what her expectations and thoughts about this were.

And that's when I really met and connected with the author of this year's fake journal. So I recommend you turn any moments of disappointment into moments of discovery. These are opportunities to understand your character's goals and expectations—which may be totally opposite from your own.

Part of the fun of International Fake Journal Month is the opportunity to try out someone else's approach. This means you have to step back out of the way so that can actually happen.

When you learn to step out of the way in this fashion, without bringing judgment to the situation, you are also building your mental muscles for dealing with your own internal critic.

Accept what happens on each page—but also take a moment to learn from it. Let the "aha moment" of discovering more about your character happen.

If you are really stuck in the concept of "I must have perfect pages," then read my post "Journaling Superstitions #4: Each Page Must Be Perfect," on my regular blog Roz Wound Up.

Keep working.