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, March 25, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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