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Project Friday: Clustering Things on a Page—Unintentional Design

June 15, 2012

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Above: Page spread from the almost 12-inch square blue-papered journal from England I've been posting about. I was working with a Faber-Castell Pitt Artist's Calligraphy pen and I made these sketches while watching TV at different times during the day. (Text obscured for privacy.) Click on an image to view an enlargement.

Maybe there is no such thing as unintentional design. Maybe we all have certain precepts and "presets" ingrained in our minds based on our lives, our experiences, our tastes…

All I know is that as I came close to the end of the blue paper journal from England I found myself not wanting the experience to end. I started putting more and more sketches on each page, going against my tendency to work big and leave a lot of negative space.

I had a lot of fun working on this spread and I'm glad the book pushed me in this direction. 

This weekend let your journal push you out of page design habits. If you normally leave a lot of negative space fill that negative space with more drawings or lots of text. If you normally cram a ton of images on a page or page spread step back and select one or two images only to place on the page and then spark up your negative space in an interesting way by the arrangement and isolation of those one or two items you sketched. (Really focus on that negative space.) You might want to think about Notan by reading "Notan-beauty in Daily Life" or "Notan—What It Is and Why You Need to Know About It."

If you normally make detailed and thoughful decisions about the design of your journal pages let go and dive right in without thought to placement, overlapping, or even beauty. 

This isn't about making perfect or beautiful pages. Your goal should be to use as many pages as possible in ways that differ from your normal approach.

After you've worked as hard as you can against your own design "grain" treat yourself to a walk or a bike ride.

When you return refreshed look over your work and discover new directions you might want to explore, or recognize unfruitful experiments. It's a great way to discover bad habits that need to be broken and to unearth new habits you want to pursue.

  1. I can never get enough of your wonderful drawings. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Reply

    Thanks Suzanne. Thanks for reading!

  3. Reply

    This is a great post, Roz. I have been doing this in all aspects of my art and BOY! is it refreshing. We use our tools and get used to them, so shaking things up is essential.

  4. Reply

    Thank Melly, yep changing it up is a great thing and if we don’t we get into ruts. I really miss this blue paper though!

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