This is the beginning of my second visual journal, “A Day in the Life of A…”. I was excited to continue making journal pages, by this point I had fallen in love with the journaling process. I loved the emotional connection and process of chronicling my life. My main goal with this journal was to move away from magazine images and to try to draw and paint more. I felt I had mastered incorporating other images with my own, and I wanted a new challenge. “A Day in the Life of A…” is a very appropriate title for this journal because I felt like I was fulfilling a range of roles. I was a teacher, wife, Mom to puppies, artist, writer, sister, daughter, friend, etc., etc., etc. I’m fulfilling a different role every day, every hour, sometimes every few minutes. You never know what person you will get, and the pages reflect the different aspects of me. My journal is a day in the life of all these people that come together to create the person I am.
When I start a journal I like to begin with the book cover. I use old books as the base of my journal, and making the book cover is the first step in claiming the book as mine. When making a book cover you can either use a white sheet of paper as a base, or use the cover that came with the book. In this case I had it easy, the book came with the original cover, and I used that as a base. If you use a white sheet of paper, make sure it’s long enough to have flaps that fold inside the book. The flaps help hold the cover to the book.
When using a white sheet of paper I start by creasing the paper around the book. I fold the flaps inside, close the book, and run my hands around the edges. After it is well creased I remove the paper, and follow the fold lines as a guide to cut off the excess paper.
Once you have the paper cut to the correct size decide what you want for an image. I typically rip up and glue down paper to make the cover thicker, and to create an interesting background. For this cover I decided to use pages from my book and also include blue paper. I used the paper to create an abstract river-like pattern. Next, I drew an image of a chair on a separate sheet of paper, cut it out, then glued it to the background. I chose a chair because I used a furniture book as the base for my journal and I wanted to reference that in the cover. I also love furniture, which is why I chose the book in the first place. I thought the chair was a great image because chairs have a lot of personality, and I think you can learn a lot about a person based on what chairs they own. I finished the image by including a tape transfer from an image of me as a child. Last but not least I added the title on the front and spine of the cover.
When choosing an image thank about placement. When you lay the cover flat don’t forget the left side will be the back, the right side will be the front, and the flaps won’t be seen from the outside. Try to keep the focus on the front. I drew the chair large enough to just fill up the back and front of the cover. I decided to draw the chair on it’s side in order to have the top of the chair on the back of the book. The bottom of the chair was a lot more detailed than the top, so I chose to have that on the front cover. I like to include images on the flaps, in this case I put small chair drawings. It’s a nice surprise to open a book and see a small image waiting on the inside.
Start a visual journal! If you have already started a journal make a book cover for it. Think about how the cover will relate to the content on the inside.