All this has gotten me back to my journal. Several of these projects have participants who are interested in the actual stuff of journals; hence, this post. All the art journaling and collage-making I do is done digitally, so my actual real-life journal has always been pretty plain. White lined or unlined pages and black ink with an occassional foray into colored paper and ink, often short-lived. Mostly just writing, but occasional doodling. And I rarely print my art pages.
Now I'm trying something different, and enjoying it very much.
I've used Circa Notebooks from Levenger for decades, both professionally and personally. I love the versatility of them. I can use paper of different sizes and move pages around easily, within or between notebooks. I can have several notebooks with different covers for different projects.
It has finally occurred to me that I can print out interesting pages to use for my writing. I have accumulated a vast library of digital images, and there is no rule that I must write on white paper. This is what my current journal looks like (click the images for credits & larger sizes at flickr):
I'm loving using these. The images encourage me to loosen up and play a bit. You can't be too serious when there's a picture of a squirrel on your otherwise blank page. Making the pages was itself a fun creative activity. I didn't get serious about that, either; there is no fancy photoshopping here, just plunk the images down and print.
I panicked for a moment when somewhat busy pages popped up as I prepared to take notes in my poetry classes, but I decided to just go with it, and it worked really well. Better for me, in fact, than a thin list of things I want to go back to. Why didn't I realize this when I was in school?
As you see, I'm also printing out some of my collage/art journal pages. I think I've discovered all the various ways it is possible to screw this up: put the paper in the printer the wrong way so that the backside prints upside down; don't get the paper into the punch securely so it's wonky in the book; don't be careful about measuring before cutting the paper in half. I seem to have a genius for this.
It's worth it, though. If, like me, you don't have the space or energy for in-real-life mixed-media art work, but you wish your journal looked a bit more interesting, I recommend this approach. It's very fun.