More Fantasy People and a Test for a New Journal—Goal Greater Productivity

April 5, 2012

120329DogcollarManLeft: Another fantasy person, yes that's the start of a bird body. Pencil and gouache sketch on a 6 x 9 inch (approx.) sheet of Nideggen.

Since I had just finised a journal with TH Saunders Waterford watercolor paper and the in-studio journal is a 9 x 12 inch Fabriano Venezia which also is white paper, I thought I would like to use some toned papers. 

I really wanted to use one of my Nideggen journals (which are a lovely 6.5 x 9 inch size or so but I also was enjoying the idea of doing more of the fantasy sketches. I didn't know if the paper would take to all that wetting and blotting. 

I love Nideggen and use it for my watercolor and gouache with ink journals all the time, but I work differently with those washes—lay them in and move on. The paper does buckle even with light washes, but it is so much fun to work on that I put up with the minimum of buckling.

Since April is going to be a densely packed month for journaling, real and fake, I decided a test was in order. I had a sheet of Nideggen I'd cut out of a previous journal (to make room for collage material). I used it for a test. I really overworked this piece just to make a point to myself that the paper could handle it. It did.

So all systems go. I'll be working in a Nideggen journal as my regular visual journal for the next few weeks. (I pasted this sheet down on the first page of the new journal.)

Here's my point for today. Pick a journal that is going to support the work you want to do for the immediate future. Yes, we all have paper cravings (I want to get back into a Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media Journal so badly…) but for the best productivity and help to our creativity (which leads to greater productivity; things in life are like that) we all need to stop and consider what will aid us the most. 

For some people using the same journal (size, paper, etc.) time after time fuels their thought process and their creative engine. For others (and I fall into this group) constantly switching up the page size and the paper type fuels me. It keeps me on my toes when selecting and using media in the journal. It allows me more options for play.

Even so, the selection of a journal is not random. Give it great thought. To work a journal should support your life, not cause stress and frustration.

Enjoy your journal today—soon it will be filled and you'll be on to another one. 

  1. Reply

    Thanks for this post. After reading this, I pulled out all the journals I’ve used over the last year (my first year of journaling) and it was a hoot to see all the different papers. I am learning more about what I like and don’t, and the whole process has been so fascinating. I didn’t realize just how many different kinds of paper I’d used, and I was able to remember how I felt using each of the journals. I’m even more excited about the journals I’ll be using this next year! I’m not saying that I have acquired (stockpiled) journals in advance, but… that implication would not be wholly wrong.

  2. Reply

    While I know who Merce C. is I’ve never really spent time thinking about how he looks so I googled him after I read your comment Patty. I think now that I need to make a fantasy person with much more hair!!! Something to do tonight after my talk. Thanks for writing in.

  3. Reply

    LizzieBo, I’m glad to hear you have been on a paper journal you first year of journaling. I’m glad you have more on hand. I think one should always have at least two on hand so that you have an option to go one way or another, but at any given time, because of my love of bookbinding I usually have more options than that. And I’m not implying anything.

    • Patty
    • April 5, 2012

    Terrific. I can’t wait to see your maybe Merce-ish cloud-haired fantasy person Roz!

  4. Reply

    Hi Roz,
    I’ve been thinking about toned papers too and it dawned on me that I could just tone the paper with watercolor and let it dry overnight. Then use gouache over it as usual. Have you ever tried that? I haven’t yet but will soon.

  5. Reply

    Don, I prepaint my journal pages all the time.
    This example is a partially pre-painted page and that page was already toned!

    But if you scroll down in that example you can see the pre-painted page without the painting on it.
    This page was prepainted before I added the dove.

    Here’s a heavily painted page before I work on it

    More painting on a prepainted background.

    I use type that is stamped on also as pre-painting.

    Use “prepainted” and “backgrounds” as key words in the blog’s search engine to get to lots of other examples.

    Also, before I did the blog I created a “before and after” journal section to show my students how I was working in one journal with prepainted and treated pages, before they were worked on and then worked on.

    I hope you have fun checking out the examples, but more important—I hope you have fun prepainting your pages!!!!

  6. Reply

    Don, one more type of example I forgot to mention. I pre-paint cards all the time and use them for event/trip specific journals like my state fair journals.

    Here’s one

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