See the full post for complet details.
Above: Sketches of chefs on the Food Network using Faber-Castell Pitt Artist's Calligraphy Pen and gouache in 9 x 12 inch Fabriano Venezia journal. I started on the top left, top right, then bottom right, and then finished with Bobby Flay bottom left, since I had a hole there. I also returned to the colors I'd used on that page. My paint selection was based on what was already sitting out when I started to sketch, hence the roving. (Edges cropped a bit because the page is larger than my scanner top.)
In last week's journaling class the inevitable question of simultaneous journals came up. I've written about this many times, so many times that even a blog-dedicated search engine could not begin to sort all the mentions out in a readable fashion. Therefore, I've included a few in the following list.
- To read some background on why I'm currently keeping two journals read this link. (The link also includes some detail shots of creating a mixed media background.)
- If you are worried about working chronologically in your journal I suggest you click here for my thoughts.
- If you're interested in "choosing a journal size" I suggest you read my linked post.
- See a heavily painted background page and brush pen sketches from the In-Studio journal.
- See a brush pen and paper collage in the In-Studio journal.
- See dogs from the In-Studio journal.
- See Gert in the In-Studio journal.
If you read posts 1, 4, 5, 6, and 7 (or look at my Dog Days series going on now) you'll see examples from the same journal that today's image is taken from: a 9 x 12 inch Fabriano Venezia.
I've worked this journal all the way through (previous tests for this commercial journal were in a 6 x 9 or so inch journal and only one signature of testing to get a feel for the paper).
Despite having heavy collage added to more than two thirds of its pages, and not having any pages removed to ease the pressure on the spine, this book has remained hearty and hale! It yaws a bit at the fore edge because of all the added bulk, but the spine is holding up nicely. Also, despite very rough treatment from me—I applied paint and ink with brushes, paper towels, sponges, and my hands—the pages have dried flat with minimal ripple or buckling. (There was no difficulty working on both sides of a page because of any wet-media use distorting the paper.)
Is this the greatest paper to work on ever? No. But it is a suitable paper if you are working with mixed media, including wet media. I find the paper, which has a cold press finish, is still slick enough because of the sizing, to be extra fun with pen and ink of all types. In particular the Pentel Pocket Brush is great fun on this journal's paper.
There were some inconsistencies in the paper. At times I would be rubbing the paint about with my hand and could feel that the paper was breaking down more quickly than it did on other pages. But over all I found this to be a very strong surface on which to work. I actually came to like those inconsistencies when applying watercolor or gouache with a 3/4 inch filbert in a sloppy manner (see image at the top of this post). I also came to enjoy the way the paper sometimes seemed to resist my Faber-Castell Pitt Artist's Calligraphy pen and squeak across the page. (If I still lived with a dog I might have to temper my enjoyment, or stop using the F-CPACPs as they dry out!)
I enjoyed working large as well, since most of the journals that I make are only 8 x 8 inches or smaller.
In short I enjoyed the experience so much that I went back to the store to get another 9 x 12 inch Fabriano Venezia journal. Sadly they are on back order so I'll have to wait. But I'm looking forward to having two journals simultaneously again, in the near future.
Which brings me back to the original point of this post: Do you keep simultaneous journals?
In general I don't. And in general I don't encourage people to do so either. I encourage my students to keep one journal at a time as they develop their journaling practice because I believe (and have seen it in my students' experiences) that if you keep one journal and pour yourself into it steadily, and watch it grow, and then start a new journal, the momentum created will carry you farther, faster, than multiple journals, where the sense of "completion" and "production" is more diffuse.
But I also believe this: Only you know what is the best way for you to journal. You might not have discovered that way yet, but you can if you apply yourself. Keep one journal only for one month. Put everything in it. Then spend the next month keeping simultaneous journals. Which approach works best for you?
Not sure? Go repeat the experiment in intervals of 2 months! Still not sure? Try for 3 months each. (I think you're beginning to get the idea.)
Adding in some factors like different media and life's various interruptions will also make for interesting test results.
This is what I know after a life-time of journaling: at any time, for any reason, you might find yourself keeping more than one journal simultaneously. Ask yourself if your needs and goals are being met. Ask if it is working for you. Ask if it feels good, right, fun, whatever.
If you're producing pages, something is working; something is keeping your interest sparked.
Don't sweat it when things change.
Ask yourself why things are changing. Make sure you agree with the changes, and if not institute some actions to get back on track. But basically, realize that as you change, your journaling practice is going to evolve as well. If you feed it with your curiosity it will continue to work for you.
Oh, and for people who wonder how I handle my journal index in these situations, it's simple. As I finish a journal I give it a volume letter and page it following in the year's sequence. I do this even if the other (simultaneous) journal has pages that were created chronologically before pages in the journal I just paged. It's sort of a first come, first served scenario. This approach doesn't wreak total havoc on the chronology and I'm free to indulge my whims for working in a larger journal, going on a trip and having a dedicated travel journal, or simply working in two journals.