I've been filling illustrated journals for 40 years or so..."illuminated journals," as my friend Hannah Hinchman calls them, as so they are. As an artist and writer, I enlist both sides of my brain to pay attention to my life, to work out problems, to celebrate the passing moments, to encourage creativity, to learn about nature...to love.
I've written on the subject in many magazines, from Sports Afield to Country Living, from Personal Journaling to The Artist's Magazine, over the years.
Last year, I decided the time was right to share my passion for journaling again, and offered a new online class. The response--and the level of commitment and enthusiasm among the students--was astounding. It was the best and most exhausting class I've ever taught, a whole different animal from covering techniques and materials. Keeping an artist's journal touches something primal, something deep inside...and these wonderful students obviously felt it.
Shortly after, I turned the class material into a CD, for those who weren't able to take the class...as intensive as my classes are, I can only teach 1-2 a year. (You can see the link at right.) And then...as I tend to do, I approached North Light Books, my longtime publisher. Again, the enthusiasm was immediate. I signed a contract in January of 2010 and began contacting some of the best artist/journalists I know. This subject is far too important to be the work of one person...
So in the book you'll see some very familiar names, and some who deserve to be moreso. There are sketchers, writers, and some who do complete paintings in their journal sketchbooks. Some write as much as they sketch, some barely use words at all. Some plan more formal paintings, some simply explore this moment in time. Some explore family history, some learn about nature, some are spiritual, some are everyday...and all are inspiring. There is joy and delight and challenge there, and even pain.
The journal gives us an immediate and invaluable tool to deal with life's ups and downs--both deserve our attention.
Sooo...my new North Light book will be out in June of 2011, and I've had a marvelous time with this one...my editor, Holly Davis, absolutely GETS it. (The title now is Artist's Journal Workshop; Creating Your Life in Words and Pictures.) Holly and I worked together very well, with lots of give and take, and her suggestions and questions have made it a better book by far. She was a blast to work with.
So were the 26 terrific artists that shared their work and words. I found a wide range of some of the very best artist journal keepers out there, from Hannah Hinchman to Danny Gregory, from Laura Frankstone to Enrique Flores...you can see most of them listed in the sidebar at right, though I still need to add those who don't have websites or blogs yet.
I interviewed all of them, and we mined the interviews for quotes to explain and expand on the concepts in keeping an artist's journal.
But there was FAR too much wonderful material to fit in the 144 pages of the book, so I started this blog just for these in-depth interviews and additional art. There was too much of that to fit in the book too, and it needs to be seen and shared.
That was the beginning concept...
Again, it will grow beyond these boundaries. Journaling is organic; it goes where it will. There will be ongoing tips on journal keeping, recommended books, art, links to favorite books or websites, and much, more more, from me and from others involved in the project.
We don't have the official book cover yet, just a working cover--a place marker, if you will, but it'll be along soon...hence the mystery cover in the banner above! (I don't design the covers or pick the titles of my own books, something that always amazes my readers and students!) I'm as anxious to see what the final cover is as anyone.
I'm looking forward to seeing where this journey takes us, as well...I hope it encourages you, the reader, to take up that journal book and begin your OWN journey...
So welcome aboard, and I hope you enjoy the interviews, journal pages, tips and hints...