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Hi there! I've increased the font size for the entire blog; I figured if I was having trouble reading it perhaps you were as well! 

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Your art journals {your pages} are yours. You make all of the choices. Each choice takes you in a different direction. Yet there is no right or wrong direction. Just keep moving forward.


What About All of That Paper?

“This is a work of fiction. All the characters in it, human and otherwise,
are imaginary, excepting only certain of the fairy folk,
whom it might be unwise to offend
by casting doubts on their existence. Or lack thereof."
Neil Gaiman

I am intrigued and interested in the practical stuff - the way art materials are stored and used. Messy, natural, paint-marked, ready for - or in the midst of - creative play. 

Let's talk paper.

Specifically, the paper used in my art journals and collages.

Creating, finding, searching & collecting "paper stuff" is part of the art journaling process. It can be simple or complicated, but it's an organizational challenge. When I started art journaling I started with scrapbook papers and built from there. The kind of paper I use in my journal is mostly stuff I've painted/drawn or stuff I've collected.

Make stuff for your journal. You can make your own papers by painting abstract patterns & designs with acrylics, ink, watercolor and gouache. Keep the doodles you make on index cards! Make a gelatin printing plate and make prints galore.

Collect stuff for your journal. Keep your eye out for papers to collect - stuff like product flyers, diagrams, old books, maps, building maps, blueprints, photographs, to-do lists, paint chips, tissue paper, catalogs, book jackets, clothing tags, postage stamps, postcards, old sewing patterns, ticket stubs, airline boarding passes, junk mail, etc. You can trade papers with other artists and find stuff at flea markets and estate stales to expand your stash.

How to decide what to keep?

That's a difficult question! I try really hard to keep/collect only what I actually - in reality - truly - think that I will use. I try to visualize {or squint...} whether I'd like to use something in a collage or journal. My storage space is limited so I keep my stash pared down, simple & functional. This helps when I work on journal pages or make stitched collages.

a cigar box with small stuff

How do I divide or categorize my papers? Most of my papers and ephemera are stored in wooden baskets. In general, I divide in two categories {papers I've painted, papers I've collected}. Painted papers include everything from abstract gouache pages to gelatin prints. Collected papers include ephemera {including ephemera and painted papers received as gifts or in swaps}, magazine clippings, brochures, maps. So basically, everything else!

Teeny tiny stuff goes in cigar boxes because it would be lost otherwise. I also keep a box of brochures/papers with interesting text. And I have a box of scrapbook paper. 

Here's a basket of journals in process {more can be found in my car, backpack, bedroom}, plus blank journals and pads of watercolor paper. 

Paper storage challenges? 

Keeping two stashes. I work in two key areas of the house - at the breakfast table and upstairs at the sewing machine - so I keep paper in both places. 

Ginormous papers. I keep large sheets of watercolor paper {for making journals} and Japanese papers on a wide bookshelf but it's not the perfect solution. 

Magazines. Way too many!!! 

So nothing is color-coded or alphabetized, and it isn't in any classical definition of "organized" but it definitely works for me!!!


Prompt60 #9

Let's do a two-page journal spread to catalog, or document, a variety of intriguing colors, patterns & textures. I hope you have a fashion magazine clothing catalog, yarn catalog or home decor catalog in your stash, because we're going on a treasure hunt!

Depending on your page dimensions, guesstimate the number of squares you will need to make your grid. The larger your pages, the more stuff you can squeeze in! Leave a margin all the way around the pages to give yourself some flexibile space for writing words, should you choose to add them. 

You might select a theme {like polka dots} or a specific color palette {perhaps your favorite hockey team}, numbers, words, a wild variety or a monochromatic theme {one color plus black and white}. 

Cut a stack of squares that are roughly the same size. I don't measure, but I usually cut one square and use that to guesstimate the measurements for the rest. Glue, staple or washi tape your squares to your page in the form of a grid. There's no need to measure! You can scribble the edges with a charcoal pencil, colored pencils or Neocolor wax crayons. Another option is to add grid lines with acrylics and the edge of a plastic card {instructions in DPP #24: The Simple Plastic Card}. 

Here's another example, this time on loose drawing paper.

So many textures, from chocolate to glittery beads. Here's how the page looks after cutting and gluing images to the page.

After drawing edges with Caran D'Ache Neocolors and rubbing to get a messy look.

Go to the Prompt60 Index.


Prompt60 #8

"To write it, it took three months; to conceive it three minutes;
to collect the data in it, all my life."
F. Scott Fitzgerald

Creative Prompt. Develop a simple mind map or brainstorm about any topic. Find some space in your journal, squeeze it in between other things if you wish, scribble it, but get it down. Write the topic and then draw lines radiating outward from the center. Write an idea on each line, simple word association, whatever pops into your mind when you think about the topic. These brainstorming notes are in a 5x8" lined journal {the swirly red lines were already imprinted} that I worked with my page sideways. You can also work on a separate piece of paper and staple into your journal.

No need to edit or second guess your ideas; think of it as word association! These are the results of several brainstorming sessions about the word BOLD and the word EPHEMERA.

What word or phrase will you brainstorm?

Go to the Prompt60 Index.


Prompt60 #7

Art Prompt: For this prompt, we're going to go OUT and draw. Go to a spot where you can find a great number of similar things to draw, things that don't stay still very long. I drew these taxis while waiting for a friend at the airport, where the taxis drove up and left after a few minutes at most. 

This sketch was drawn from the window of Starbucks looking across the street at construction in progress. That truck actually moved away while I was drawing.

Hotel lobbies are full of people coming and going. If your climate is warm, go to the beach and sketch the lifeguard or kids building sandcastles. Go to a busy cafe and sketch the line of customers.

The zoo would be another potential drawing spot. Draw the zebras!

This is a 5 minute sketch at the symphony while the muscians were warming up. I knew that I wanted to put my journal away before the actual performance began so I was working at lightening speed. Just going for the general feeling on stage. 

This is a 5-7 minute sketch that I made during a classical performance that we attended in Venice, Italy. 

Try to look at the item you are drawing and just move the pen on the page, rather than checking your work every second. Go for more of a simple line drawing to capture the "essence" of what you see rather than what you really see. A sense of movement.

If you would prefer "stable" subject material, go to a large cafeteria and sketch the chairs. Go to a bookstore and camp out in the aisle with the big photography and art books and sketch a row of books.

You'll just need a journal and a pen. If you make a line and you don't care for it, or it goes all wonky, make another one that you like better. Keep all the lines. 

Remember that sketches are not photographs. If you want a photograph, you can take one in an instant. A sketch is an experience, not meant to be a perfect representation of an object. A sketch documents a memory.

So find a spot with a bunch of similar items. Make a very simple sketch of each item. Work quickly, without analyzing the lines. You don't have to know "how" to draw in order to draw. Just make lines. Squeeze in as many as you can on one page in your journal.

The goal is not to follow the Surfboard Design Principle 46:47 or imitate the works of Klee. Just take a deep breath. And make a mark. Your mark. Then turn the page. And make another mark. That's how you get through your journal, a page at a time. The only decision to be made is what to do for the very next mark.

Go to the Prompt60 Index.



Open any non-fiction book and you’ll find a topic for a prompt. For example, a book about 1970’s typography might launch an idea for a psychedelic hand-lettered quote that winds around your art journal page like ivy. A book about advertising might prompt an art journal page about subconscious messages and symbolism. Anything and everything can be a prompt. So a few years ago, I set out to create the kind of prompts that I would not be able to resist. Something little, that I could hold in my hand. Something colorful and engaging, like a tarot card.

And that's how my journal prompt cards began. I collect words, mix them up and put them together with my abstract art. The art and the words form an array of prompts that can be used to spark an art journal page, a doodle, a short story or a mixed media painting. You can take the ideas in any direction that you wish. It's simply a random starting point. A fun way to JUMP through the blank page and get to work.

Get a pack of Daisy Yellow creative prompt cards!

Get a 52-card-pack, one for each week of the year!

How are prompt cards used? The idea is that you select a 5-phrase prompt and then use that to launch a page in your journal, index card art, or whatever you wish. The original artwork on the card and the words form the prompt. 

Over 100 different designs of art journal prompt cards are available in 5-packs, 20-packs and 52-packs.