Collage and Sketching: A Look inside a Recent Journal

December 27, 2010

The post has comments and embedded video of the first signature of a recent mixed media journal which focuses on collage and sketching and which was used as a demo book for the class I’m currently teaching at MCBA, through June 2011: Journal Practice: Collage and Sketch.

Today I've posted a short video that is approximately 5 minutes long. It is the first part of a three-part video that covers, signature by signature, my recent collage and sketching journal. This journal was made as a demonstration model in the journal class I'm currently teaching at MCBA (September 2010 to June 2011). Note, if the above embedded video doesn't work, click here to view "Adjusting part 1" on YouTube.

Students were given a variety of papers to use. We discussed, with the visual aids of previously made books by me, the features and requirements of our book structure. Each student then created a customized set of signatures, prepainting some pages, collaging on others. Their task was then to continue the collage and sketching process in that book (and others as their first book filled) throughout the class. The main goal of the class is to establish a healthy journal practice—hence the title of the class Journal Practice: Collage and Sketch. (It is just one in the Journal Practice series of classes I've taught at MCBA since 2000.)

To make the videos managable in length I went signature by signature through the book. In this first signature you'll see the completed page spread where my finch, collaged out of decorative masking tape, landed.

If you would like to see a still photo of the masking tape collage finch fold out page spread click here.

Also in this video you'll see examples of using small scraps of collage papers (various decorative papers) as blocks of color and design elements to break up the page or unify a page spread.

Many pages in the journal were pre-painted before the book was constructed. Class time allowed the students to do this to their papers for their books as well. Readers of this blog know that I love pre-painting my pages when I start a new journal, but mostly I talk about this approach used with a already constructed book of blank pages.

However, I will also pre-paint every page of a book before constructing it, upon ocassion. It creates an interesting challenge when working in the book, but it can also have a unifying effect throughout the journal.

You can pre-paint papers for your books in similar ways to pre-painting journaling cards.

Besides pre-painting you can also pre-stencil pages. In this first signature I have pages that I stenciled before the book was bound together. Later in this book you'll see pages where I stenciled after the book had been bound. In a book where page sizes change dramatically from spread to spread , protecting the pages you don't want to paint, once the book is sewn together, becomes a little more challenging, but it's still fun. I recommend it.

In this journal you'll also see me playing around with a couple pens I don't normally use. Part of the reason I don't use gel pens is that they don't always work with the other media I'm using, or don't work with the particular papers. For instance, I found that the Sakura Glaze Gel Pen doesn't work well on the Rives BFK printmaking paper that is the basis for most of the pages in this structure. It soaks in and has hardly any glaze effect. However, on the Canson Mi Tientes small insert page contained in the first signature that pen created a lovely raised surface.

I don't use Canson Mi Tientes for journal pages much, it doesn't like wet media as well as other papers I might choose. But clearly it's a fun paper to use with this type of pen.

That's part of the fun of making a book like this one, with pages of different sizes and shapes. You get to use scraps you have saved. And the scraps get used as a vital part of the structure, not an after thought. Also you get to experiment with media that you don't normally use. You might find a new favorite pen that leads you to a new favorite paper (or confirms old favorites).

Tuesday and Wednesday of this week I'll post comments about the second and third signatures of this book. I hope you enjoy this page-by-page peak at this journal. Check back for comments on the other signatures of this journal.

  1. Reply

    Good stuff in that Journal Roz! I love it when you post videos of your work and give us a page by page tour. Your creativity is endless! You have come a long way in your video production as well–I remember the 30 sec increments and shaky camera, (but we loved those too). I look forward to the next installment and your Strathmore class later next year.

    • velma
    • December 27, 2010

    i like taking a tour through your sketchbooks, and that keith smith spine stitch is one i’ve used often. surprise: my favorite part-hearing the papers!

  2. Reply

    Thanks Donna, glad you enjoy the videos. I miss the 60-second increments camera in some respects, faster to work with, but a pain to put together. And you can’t talk without thinking about when that 60 seconds will be up! I find I’m a little more relaxed in talking now that there’s no time limit, but still stilted compared to my in-person talking, because I’m reaching around the tripod. I’m working on what to do about that!!!!

    I think the Strathmore class will be good fun, especially since I’m going to have someone else deal with the camera instead of me doing everything! Fingers crossed.


  3. Reply

    Velma, Keith Smith’s Rope stitch is beautiful (and I think his books are must haves for binders). I work my Rope Stitch a tad differently. Either way it is one of the easiest sewn-on-the-spine stitches out there, and great if you want to make a 3-signature (or multiples-of-3-signatures) book. It has a lovely aspect on the spine.

    Unfortunately, while it’s an easy stitch, when I selected it for this project I didn’t count on the additional “fun” of having pages of all different sizes slipping around for beginning bookbinders (I use lowtack masking tape and postit notes to hold pages in place when binding, so the small sheets don’t slip away from their holes). I made a quick work around in class to help students, but I know at least one student is going to use other stitches in future.

    But that’s all to the good. People should have as many stitching approaches as they can learn under their belt so that they can adapt to the size and structure they want to make, minimize or maximize the decoration of the spine, and bottom line—make more books!!!

  4. Reply

    I totally enjoyed that video, Roz. Made me wish I could page through the actual journal, in all its wonderful tactility.

  5. Reply

    Thank you Karen. I’m glad you enjoyed it. It does have a lot quite a lot of tactile character! For me, after the fact, paging through it is interesting because I see how my mind focused in on certain themes. Thanks for writing.

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