I have heard from several people this week, in different degrees of anxiety, say that they want to – they need to – start a diary or journal but their fear of the blank page has only increased during these strange days. Well people, this will not do. In addition to being the record you need to be keeping of what is happening, keeping a journal is cheap therapy that can make a difference.
So. Here is a short video tutorial showing ways to knock this blank page fear thing out of the park. You are going to deliberately, on purposely get your pages dirty. Well, not dirty, but you are going to stain them with a variety of elements so that you will have a nice, grungy, comfortable, welcoming paper to begin with. Turn the idea of order out of chaos on its head and instead make chaos out of order, then play with it.
Drizzle tea. Dab coffee. Spritz ink. Splatter paint. Doodle, then scribble, then doodle some more. Make a grid and fill it with notes in the form of teensy images. But no excuses.
Using an ink wash is a fun and easy way to add interest to your illustrated journal or art journal pages. It is especially handy way to start a page if you are not confident in your drawing as it is by its nature a messy look. (“See? I meant it to look like that.”)
In this short video, you can see how the technique can be done with pen and ink as well as other water soluble materials. Let me know if you have any [read more]
These are some recent illustrated journal pages from last Fall’s trip through Burgundy in France. Santé ! (Click on photo for larger image.)
And below is a flipthrough with commentary about how I made some of the [read more]
Recently, someone said they admired the way I kept up with my illustrated journal pages while on vacation. I stared at her slackjawed. No matter how many museums, road trips, hikes, or meal – I can’t not keep up my journal. If I don’t get it in my diary, it didn’t happen, without my pages my journey feels flat and black and white. So I thought maybe it was time to do a little preaching about keeping a visual diary.
An illustrated journal is somewhere between a diary and a scrapbook: drawings, ticket stubs, lists, maps, postcards, and photos combine with handwritten lists, notes, and stories and the end result is a whimsical field guide to your days. Unlike a photo album alone, it provides a strong sense of witness.
While it is invaluable for travel (the French call it un carnet de voyage) and capturing unfamiliar sites, food, wanderings, scenery, memories, it can do these things for your everyday life as well, your day-to-day journey: what you’re cooking, reading, pondering. A map of your neighbourhood with a story. Your shoes, a leaf, your cat, your coffee cup. (Click on photos for larger view.)
In the weeks to come I [read more]
As in other parts of the world, on April 1 French children love to play pranks. Instead of April’s Fools Day it is called Poisson d’Avril. The origins are murky but for whatever reason, there is a tradition of sticking a paper fish to someone’s back and when they finally find out, you shout “C’est le poisson d’Avril !” This post is not to dissect those wacky French fish jokesters but to offer you these vintage postcards from back in the day for you to download. To use, right click and copy then add to your favourite program such as Paint or Word. Print at will and use in your collage, art journal, or mixed media projects. Happy April and Joyeux Avril !
Oh, sure, Paris is good for a lot of things: art, food, history, culture, and style. In the Marais district of galleries, ateliers, boutiques, and studios, there are plenty of nooks filled with treasure for book and journal artists, tucked close together on or near the rue du Pont Louis Philippe, sometimes called the “rue du Papier”.
The cornerstone of this little piece of paper heaven is Calligrane. Its name blends the words”calligraphie” and ” filigrane” (French for watermark) and it describes this small gallery perfectly. For over 40 years, this family-run business has expanded the field of creative stationery and paper artistry, both in the creation of paper itself and in its innovative use, drawing on materials and inspiration from India, Mexico, Thailand, Germany, Japan, Italy, Nepal, Bhutan, and a host of other far-flung places. Run by second-generation paper maven Vanessa Barth and her husband, paper sculpture artist Maru, Calligrane prides itself on its quest for the new and its commitment to the classic, as well as to being a creative laboratory for paper artists.
Here is a small sample of their fibre papers. (Click on photo to enlarge and see detail.)
They also carry papers made of fruit [read more]
“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” – Annie Dillard, A Writing Life
Making New Year’s Resolutions is a kind of religion for me. I believe in it so much that I make my resolutions at the new year and again at mid-year for tune up. If you are reading this and you think that resolutions are corny or a waste of time, I strongly suspect that no one has ever sugested ways that are meaningful and guarantees success. So give it a chance and join me, won’t you? You are about to change your life.
In my experience, expressing your deepest, wildest dreams, even in a private diary, can feel scary and sometimes even wrong, as in: “Who am I to allow myself to imagine a life this big and gorgeous and successful? And if I write it in my day-to-day journal, what if someone sees it? What if I see it, what if I read it again in a few months and I’ve failed because of course I will and these words will humiliate me because I should know better and…” Sound familiar?
The Burner Journal
Now, you can “kill” your [read more]
These two eco prints on paper are made from leaves foraged from Welsh forests in the Vale of Glamorgan. Leaves are gathered, then wrapped into heavy watercolour paper and steamed for several hours before being allowed to dry for two days. They are then ironed and are ready to hanging as part of your home decor, or to be used in your art journals, bookbinding projects, or other mixed media work. I often use them to make a cover for a hand-sewn sketchbook.
Each print measures 6″ x 17.5″ and are on a high quality French watercolour paper 140 lb/ 300 g. I have punched two small holes in each print to allow for ribbon or twine for hanging. They will be shipped in a tube.
Set of two is £45 GBP with free worldwide shipping.
Please check my other listings to buy prints in a set of four. For more information, contact me at: email@example.com or on via DM on Instagram @bookandpaperarts.
If you would like to read a tutorial on making your own eco prints with leaves, click here: Eco Print [read more]
One of my favourite times of the year is autumn and one of my favourite ways to hold onto the beauty and mystery that the season holds is to make ecoprints, steaming leaves I have foraged on my hikes into paper that I then make into cards, framed prints, or book covers.
Dying with plants is an inexact science but I have been doing this one for years and here’s hoping that some of these pointers will steer you in the right direction with your attempts.
Choose a robust paper. Anything under 130 g/m is likely to tear when it is wet. I tend to use a watercolour paper that is 300 g/m. It makes for a sturdy substrate that will then be a nice weight for working into a project.
Choose your leaves! Not going to lie, this is a bit of an art, and the more batches of prints you make, the more you find from trial and error what really pops in your finished pages. I can tell you that I have the best results from leaves that had fallen from the tree – do not take them from the [read more]
Bonjour ! I have six lots of vintage French paper packs for use in art or junk journals, collage, or other mixed media projects. These are all authentic, original pieces of antique paper miscellany. Each pack includes:
- Handwritten legal document with cover, cover plus three pages (six front and back), appr. 1826
- Handwritten legal document of four pages (eight front and back) with stamp, appr. 1800s or late 1790s
- Handwritten legal document (1794) two pages
- Patent application record. This is letterpressed printing on stunning laid paper with deckled edges. It is 5.50″ x 8.25″ unfolded and unfolds to a large 21.5″ x 17″ (51cm. x 42cm)
- Two copies of La Mode Illustrée, fashion magazine, 1880s. Each has four pages (eight front and back). I am including two copies because when I have sold these in the past, people have told me they can’t bear to use them. So one is for keeping and one is for using, by which I mean cutting it up
- Three pages of vintage French ads from Femina magazine, 1911
- Eight holy cards
As each piece is authentic and one of a kind, each pack will vary but each will be similar and live up to what you see here! To [read more]