Tag: India Ink

Visual Journal Page 11: Take Responsibility

Visual Journal Page 11-Take Respondsibility

It was the time of year when hot sticky summer nights transition into the cool crisp fall. It’s my favorite time of year, witnessing the changing season through every sense. The air smells crisp, the air moves from warm to cool, the leaves crunch under toe, and goosebumps come and go as the changing atmosphere tickles my skin. It was the perfect fall evening, and I decided the best way to fall asleep was to the sound of the great outdoors, with a cool breeze coming through a slightly cracked window. Or so I thought.

As I finally began to settle and felt the first drifting of dreams coming in, a low howl rose to our second story window and in through the crack. It gradually pulled me from the brink of sleep to full awake, until I could no longer focus on anything but the howl. I tried my best to ignore the sound, to cover my ears, and once again find sleep, but it kept finding a way in.

I couldn’t stop thinking about that poor dog. While it was a beautiful night, not a bad night to be sleeping outdoors, I knew exactly which dog it was, and this wasn’t the only night they would be spending outside. A sweet pup down the street, on the corner, confined to a backyard wrapped in a chain link fence. Whenever my pups and I walk past the house, we stop for a moment and visit. Tails wagging, huffing and sniffing sounds exchanged, everyone excited to see a new face. I have never walked past that house without seeing her outside. Whether it’s in the dead heat of summer or the frigid chill of winter, there the dog sits. I have never seen another human interacting with her. I have never seen another dog playing with her. She is all alone, most likely kept only to keep others out.

Why spend the money to have a dog? Why spend the money to feed a dog? Why have a dog if you aren’t going to enjoy the amazing company they can provide? If you are concerned about security, make a one time purchase of an extra bolt for your door, a fence for your yard, a sign advertising an alarm system, whether or not that system exists. Why subject a living being to a lonely existence? Even if said dog was well feed and watered (which was questionable in this situation) they are still lacking the basic need of interaction, contact with another living, breathing being.

That howl haunted me all night, until I had no choice but shut the window, and attempt to ignore the situation down the street. I wasn’t able to sleep with the window open again, the howls continued, and continued to break my heart, until one day my pups and I passed the house, paused for a visit, and she was gone, never to return again. I can only hope she was taken to a loving, happy home. We have very active neighbors who rescue stray and abused dogs in the area, and this particular situation had been a recent topic. I choose to believe my neighbor was able to take action, and rescue the sweet girl. I need to believe that in order to maintain some belief in the existence of humanity, and to be able to walk past that house everyday. At the very least, she hasn’t been replaced by another “security system” doomed to the loneliness of an empty backyard.

When you choose to own a pet you choose to be responsible for their physical and mental well being. Your animals rely on you to meet their needs. They need food, water, and play. They need love, snuggles, and kisses. They need to be pet and held as much as they need physical sustenance. There is nothing like the connection between a dog and their owner in a happy home. I would recommend it to anyone, I think my life would be a little emptier without my babies in it. As much as I give to them, they give right back in every wag of the tail and desire to be near me. But, you must take responsibility.

SUPPLIES

  • Visual journal
  • Tissue paper (black, blue, white)
  • Silver sharpie
  • Book page paper
  • Pencil
  • Prisma markers
  • Fine and extra fine sharpie

HOW TO

To create this visual journal page I decided to use a variety of material. Other than sharpie, I hadn’t experimented with art markers, and decided this could be a good opportunity. Living with a landscape architect husband means I have a whole separate set of art materials to test out, and his Prisma colored markers were just what I was looking for.

I decided to draw the back of my house, focusing on the left side, second story where our bedroom is. I sketched it out in pencil first, then went in with the markers. To maintain an even look, I applied one layer at a time, and always continued my lines off the page, rather than stopping in the middle, and accidentally crossing marker lines, creating a darker color where they cross. Once I filled the drawing in with color, I went back over the detail lines with an extra fine sharpie.

Once I completed my marker house, I cut it out. I decided to cut out the window of our bedroom, to emphasize the fact that it was open. To create the background I decided to layer strips of tissue paper. I love the texture it creates, and by including both blue and black, I hoped to show it was dusk, just after sunset, but before total darkness fell.

Once I glued down the strips of tissue paper and the house cut out, it felt a little empty. To add interest, I drew a tree silhouette on white tissue paper with sharpie. I carefully cut the tree out, leaving a thin white outline around the tree. I glued it to the left side of my visual journal.

To visually represent the howling, I used a silver sharpie to write “howl” all over the page. To complete the visual journal page I wrote “take responsibility” on a ripped out piece of book page, and layered it on a cut out piece of black tissue paper.

CHALLENGE

Create a visual journal page about something you want to take action on. It could be as small as helping your elderly  neighbor or solving world hunger.

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog! Help me spread the word about visual journals by sharing with others. Check out my visual journal lesson plan here and bundle pack here. Thanks for stopping by!

Visual Journal Page 1: Creating Yourself

Visual-Journal-Page-1-Life-isn't-About-Finding-Yourself..

It had been three years since I started my first visual journal, and here I was, once again staring at a blank canvas. The first page in a book is the most overwhelming. Thinking about filling all of the pages, trying to decide where to start, and realizing I was once again at stage one, momentarily distracted me from the excitement of the beginning of something new. After allowing the doubts and fears to momentarily wash over, I began brainstorming my first page and the tone of this new book.

I like to start my visual journals off with a quote. The quote becomes my theme for the book and mantra for the year. I already had a concrete idea for the theme after completing my cover, and I decided to continue the imagery into the first page. New growth, change, setting and accomplishing big goals, became the core of this book. For years I have loved the quote, “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself,” and this was the perfect book and year to use that quote. It was going to be the year that I create myself and develop my future. It was my personal challenge for the year.

The tree imagery and quote became so inspirational to me, I continued to use them in my classes and art club. I designed art club t-shirts using the quote on the back, and designed the “create” tree for the front. Creating is the foundation of my life. Creating helps me express myself, explore new avenues, and grow as an artist and person. After creating the t-shirt design, I decided it was the perfect tie to the first page of my book. I grabbed one of the test screen prints, which was on a lovely blue color construction paper, and began formatting my design.

In the end I was very satisfied with the way the quote and image came together. This was going to be the year of change for me, and this page truly reflected that intent.

SUPPLIES

  • Visual journal
  • Rubber cement
  • Scissors
  • Xacto Knife
  • Bleeding tissue paper
  • Book pages
  • Sharpie

HOW TO

To create this visual journal page, I started with the screen print tester. I carefully cut around the tree branches using scissors, and in between the word “create” using an Xacto knife. Once the tree was ready, I began brainstorming how everything would come together.

I loved the pattern on the page, and didn’t want to cover it up, but still wanted to include some color. Since I was already reflecting the cover of the book in the imagery, I decided to go ahead and use some of the same materials. I had leftover bleeding tissue paper strips from the cover, and knew it would be the perfect addition. I glued a strip of the green bleeding tissue paper to the bottom, to create a ground. I decided to leave a little space, to show the pattern in the actual book, then glued three bleeding tissue paper strips down to create a sense of a sky.

Next, I glued my tree print cut out on the right side page. I love the look of overlapping layers, and decided to add another strip of green bleeding tissue paper on top of the tree. This created a nice space to include my quote. To help the quote stand out I glued down ripped up pieces of old, discolored book pages. Finally, I added the quote on top using a sharpie. Check out my visual journal lesson plan here and bundle pack here.

CHALLENGE

Create a visual journal page about your mantra for the year. What do you want to accomplish? What quote best represents that?

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog and today’s post! Help me spread the word about crafting and visual journaling by sharing with others. Like, tweet, digg, reddit, or use another social networking

Visual Journal #3: Between the Lines, Year 2011-2012

Between the Lines Cover

Once upon a time I became inspired to share my visual journals with the world, via a blog. It was a bit overwhelming at first, learning how to design, post, and attract readers. Here I am,still blogging, still sharing, and still creating. I can’t believe three years have gone by, two visual journals blogged, and another on the brink. I remember typing up my first post, hitting the send button, and thinking to myself… “Who am I talking to? Who is going to read this?” Now, a few years later, I have picked up 420 subscribers along the way, and had numerous people around the world stumble upon my blog and send me a quick note about them and their creations. Starting this new book I hope I can continue to keep my pace up and continue to share my pages. Hopefully, someone new will stumble upon my posts and be inspired to go on the hunt for their own book, and start their own visual journal.

I have poured my heart, aches and pains, good and bad into the pages of these books; and I’m so glad I decided years ago to share them with the world. Although my original goal of completing a book every year has fallen to the wayside, new jobs, hobbies, and artistic endeavors have filled much of the space, I hope I always continue to add to my books, discover new techniques, and share my findings.

Between the Lines reflects a book of change. I had many plans for the coming year. I had my goals tucked in the back of my mind, and I was determined to record my journey between the pages of this book. To date, this was my favorite book to work in and I am most proud of my creations. I carefully selected this book from the dusty shelves of my local antique store, and fell in love with the decorating tips, vintage styles, and red and black ink that filled the pages.

Typically, when I begin a new book I work on a few pages, decide what the tone will be, then create a cover to align with my plans. However, going into this book I already knew what I wanted it to be. I wanted it to reflect the growth and change I was determined to experience in the next 12 months. I decided the cover needed to come first.

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Since I wanted to visually represent an idea of growth, I chose a tree. For a long time I have experienced a slight obsession with the shape of a tree silhouette. Someone once told me if they could choose any object to represent me, they would choose a tree. And it stuck. I admire the long branches, the constant change. Over the years trees grow larger, extending their branches like fingertips. Every season they show change, rebirth, new growth, and a shedding of the old. Trees are interesting and metaphorical in so many ways. Perhaps I also strive to be interesting and metaphorical.

While creating the cover I continuously brainstormed title ideas. Nothing seemed to fit, until one day, while listening to NPR on my daily comment home, a program came on called “Between the Lines.” My ears immediately perked, I liked the ring of it. Everything seems normal, predictable, same old, same old on the surface, but when you look a little closer, you discover something else. This visual journal and title are what inspired me to try something new and different, share my stories and techniques with the world, and finally enter into the ever-popular blogging universe.

SUPPLIES

  • Visual journal
  • Large, white paper
  • Old book pages
  • Rubber cement
  • Scissors
  • Xacto knife
  • Bleeding tissue paper
  • White tissue paper
  • India ink
  • Sharpie
  • Paint brush
  • Red details from the book
  • Laser printed images
  • Packaging tape
  • Laminator

HOW TO

I took a large, white sheet of drawing paper, and wrapped it around the book. I trimmed off the edges, leaving the flaps to hold the cover onto my journal. I then ripped up discolored book pages from antique books and layered them over the white sheet of paper. I trimmed off the extra book pages around the edges, and began on the next layer.

Because I loved the way the discolored book pages looked, I knew I didn’t want to completely cover them up with the trees. To allow the text to still show through I decided to paint my tree forms using India ink, on white tissue paper. While I love the end product, the process was excruciating. The tissue paper fought my intent the entire time. As I placed the brush on the paper, it would try to wrinkle up. As I used an Xacto knife to cut out the branches, the tissue paper would rip, and threaten to loose limbs from my trees. Once I had all of my trees cut out, showing the transition from sapling to full grown, I glued them down in order, going from left to right.

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Next, I added color to the background. I stacked yellow and green bleeding tissue paper and dripped water on top. I wanted a light tie dye effect, and using analogous colors allowed me to get the results I wanted. I let the paper dry, then cut it into strips. I began gluing the strips to the background, but carefully ripped the green tissue paper around the tree shapes. I wanted to still be able to see the book pages in the background and the shape of the trees. In the end, it almost looked like the book pages were the canopy of the trees.

After the background was complete I began on the border. I painted a circular pattern on old book pages, cut them out, then layered them on white tissue paper. I cut them out again, leaving a thin white border around the design, then glued it to the edge of the book.

I felt the background still looked a little empty after adding all of my planned elements, and I began brainstorming things I could add. In the end, I decided the perfect addition would be tape transfer frames (read how to do a tape transfer here). The empty frames helped reinforce my idea of growth, change, and trying to accomplish future goals. I chose a range of shapes and sizes, and added them to the back of the cover. I chose a decorative oval frame to add to the front, overlapping the largest tree, to bring even more focus to it.

Once I was satisfied with the overall design I began adding the details. I cut out red ink designs from inside the book, and added them to the trunks of the trees. I did a tape transfer of my book title, Between the Lines, on top of the red detail on the front of the cover. Last but not least, I added a framed seed just beginning to sprout to the front, inside flap.

Between the Lines Cover Shots

After my cover was complete I had it laminated, and covered my book with it. It was no longer an antique, interior design book, it was now my book. For the next year every page would slowly be transformed to something new, different, and so very personal.Interested in teaching visual journals to your students? Check out my visual journal lesson plan here and bundle pack here. Check out my lesson on making a visual journal book cover here.

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog. Help me spread the word my sharing with others, liking, tweeting, and subscribing. I couldn’t do it without you. Thanks for stopping by!

Visual Journal Page 76: The Antiques Book

Visual-Journal-Page-76-The-Antiques-Book

 

I finally reached the end of my second book. The last page was sitting there blank, waiting for the last collage, my dedication page to my book.

Since I completed my first visual journal I decided to save the last page for my book. As I work through the pages I rip things out, add them to my visual journal folder, saving them for this page. I want to make sure my book is recognized for allowing me to cover it’s pages, words, pictures, and intended purpose with my own vision. Each page is transformed from an informative text about antiques, to representations of me.

The Antiques Book served as a great backdrop to my creations, and is one of my favorite books I have worked in. It provided inspiration through the images, text, and beautifully, off colored, pages. These final images are discoveries I made as I flipped through the pages. I held onto them and collected them for a year. They have finally returned to their intended places, between the covers of this book.

Thank you… I couldn’t have done it without you…

SUPPLIES

  • Visual journal
  • Scissors
  • rubber cement
  • Book pages
  • Magazine cut outs
  • Bleeding tissue paper
  • Water
  • Book page images
  • Sharpie

HOW TO

When I was planning out this visual journal page I decided to go with a simple color palate. I have always loved the look of the green bleeding tissue paper, so I decided to go with that color as the main color. I had been holding onto a few circular images from a magazine that had similar greens and yellows to the bleeding tissue paper. Once I had my colors picked out, I got to work.

First, I took a few sheets of green and yellow bleeding tissue paper, stacked them on top of each other, then dripped water on them. The green and yellow pigment bleed into each other, making a tie dye pattern. While the bleeding tissue paper was drying, I cut out the green magazine circles, and the antique images I saved from my book. I made sure to cut close to the edge on all of the images, to give it a cleaner collaged look.

I played around with placement for awhile, and decided to have the majority of the antique objects in a row towards the bottom of the page, and the elephant on the top right side of the page. I glued the green circles down first, then a strip of bleeding tissue paper, to create a space for my objects to sit. I included a green circle in the top corner of the page to help bring attention to my elephant. In addition to the green bleeding tissue paper, I also cut out a few pieces of dyed paper towels. I placed these behind the book page cutouts to help bring attention to the images.

After I got the background pieced together I added the images on top. Last, but not least, I added the words “I couldn’t have done it without you” around the elephant with sharpie.

CHALLENGE

Create a dedication page to your visual journal book. Make sure you use book pages from your book.

Thanks for taking the time to read my post and check out my blog. Help me spread the word by sharing it with others. I couldn’t do it without you. Thanks for stopping by!

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Visual Journal Page 71: This is the First Day of My Life

Visual-Journal-Page-71-This-is-the-First-Day-of-My-Life

It was our one year anniversary.

We spent the day together, enjoying donuts for breakfast, a hilarious golf outing, picnic at the park, and a nice dinner out. Nick and I love all the food Atlanta has to offer, and we often try new restaurants. For our one year we wanted to go somewhere more swanky than our average outing, with delicious, interesting food. After reading a handful of rave reviews, we decided on Top FLR.

Top FLR is a trendy place in an equally trendy neighborhood, Old Fourth Ward. It’s a tall, skinny building, with a white facade and simple, thin black letters spelling out the name. The exterior gives no hint at what is hidden behind the front door, I felt like I was walking into a secret place, hidden in plain view on a street corner.

The interior matched the exterior. The furniture was plain, yet modern. Most of the decor was black and white, with only a pop of color on each table; a turquoise vase which cradled a single, white chrysanthemum.  I already enjoyed the ambiance of the restaurant the minute we walked through the door. The lights were low, the music right up my alley, and the menu had a sophisticated simplicity to it, which perfectly fit with every other aspect of the restaurant.

I don’t remember what we ate or drank that night. I vaguely remember something with scallops, although that is typical of my fine dining outings. I don’t remember the details of our lives we discussed, I’m sure at some point we reminisced on the perfect day one year ago when we said “I do.” Despite losing details of the night over the last three years, I do remember the moment a familiar song came on.

Suddenly our conversation was interrupted as my ears perked up and I tried to place the first few notes of the new song filling the room. A nostalgic feeling tugged at my heart and brain as my ears absorbed the sound. It hit me before the first word was sung. It was our first dance song. Here we were celebrating our first year, wrapping up the night when our song came on. “First Day of My Life”, by Bright Eyes. It is a song I know well, but you won’t hear it on repeat on the radio, it has more of a niche, although still popular following. I was shocked to hear it was being played in that moment, I believe it was meant just for us.

It was the perfect end to a perfect day and a perfect year. This moment was meant to be, and we both paused and allowed it to sink in and find it’s way into our memories.

“First Day Of My Life”

by Bright Eyes

This is the first day of my life
I swear I was born right in the doorway
I went out in the rain suddenly everything changed
They’re spreading blankets on the beach

Yours is the first face that I saw
I think I was blind before I met you
Now I don’t know where I am 
I don’t know where I’ve been
But I know where I want to go

And so I thought I’d let you know
That these things take forever
I especially am slow
But I realize that I need you 
And I wondered if I could come home

Remember the time you drove all night
Just to meet me in the morning
And I thought it was strange you said everything changed
You felt as if you’d just woke up 
And you said “this is the first day of my life
I’m glad I didn’t die before I met you 
But now I don’t care I could go anywhere with you
And I’d probably be happy”

So if you want to be with me
With these things there’s no telling
We just have to wait and see
But I’d rather be working for a paycheck
Than waiting to win the lottery
Besides maybe this time is different
I mean I really think you like me

Check out my last visual journal post here, which covers the details of our first anniversary day.

SUPPLIES

  • Visual journal
  • Pencil
  • India ink
  • Gesso
  • Turquoise colored pencil
  • Black Sharpie
  • Silver Sharpie

HOW TO

For this visual journal page I really wanted to capture that moment. I decided to keep a very monochrome color palate, with the exception of the turquoise vase. I wanted it to have the same feel as the restaurant. Once I decided on the colors, I started on the page.

I used pencil to sketch out the table and chairs. I had a good visual memory of what everything looked like, but also looked up Top FLR online and scoped out their pictures before I got started. After the table, chairs, and vase were added I took India ink and painted the background completely black. I carefully painted around the table and chairs. India ink is a great medium to get dark blacks. However, it bleeds through everything. To avoid ruining my other pages I ripped out two pages, create my visual journal page outside of my book, then glued the pages back in.

After the background dried I used white gesso to paint in the table, chairs and flower. After the gesso dried I used a pencil to add shading to the bottom of the table and to the flower. I used black sharpie to outline the chairs and a turquoise colored pencil to fill in the vase.

Once the foreground was complete I added the finishing touches to the background, the lyrics from our first dance song. I wanted the words to completely fill the background, so I sketched them out with pencil until I got the font size just right. I then traced over the pencil with a silver sharpie, which pops really well on dark backgrounds.

CHALLENGE

Create a visual journal page about a meaningful song. Some how incorporate the lyrics into the design of the page.

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog and read my post. Help me spread the word about my blog by sharing with others, subscribing, and commenting. I couldn’t do it without your help! Thanks for stopping by!

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