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What’s the Deal with the 2019 Celebration of International Fake Journal Month?

March 15, 2019
Quick sketches of facial expressions using a brush pen in a Hahnemühle Nostalgie journal (the largest size). Pick a paper that works well with your chosen media.

In January I decided that after 10 years of a public celebration of International Fake Journal Month I’d end the public portion of this project. You can read about my reasons at the above link to the official blog.

So this year there is no button and theme/tagline and most important, nothing for me to explain, teach, promote, and shepherd. 

Pitching reasons to journal your real life is pretty much an impossible task. People either get it or they don’t, want to or they don’t. A lifetime of trying to convince friends, and then of teaching journaling has taught me that. (It doesn’t mean I stop telling people why I do it, but I’m realistic about the outcome.)

Pitching reasons to keep a fake journal can be downright exhausting. (Especially if someone wants to be a rock as his character! Yes that really happened on year.)

I’ll keep on keeping fake journals because I’ve done it since I was a child and I find it fun, challenging, and useful to my creative process.

More brush pen facial expressions on Nostalgie. Work Quickly and don’t stop to judge your work during a session.

Many past participants have told me that they are going to continue celebrating. I wish them well, but I just hope they really look closely at the boundaries they are setting and the project perimeters so they can have a meaningful experience.

Fake journaling done without intentionality, without clear boundaries, is nothing more than fiction writing and there’s already a month-long project for that…

If you’re one of those people whose friends finally convinced them that this was the year to keep a fake journal and you’re feeling adrift—don’t worry. There are a gazillion projects you could work through that will help you build your journaling, visual, and observational skills. There are fewer projects that will help you get rid of your internal critic at the same time, but that’s the piece people seem to have the hardest time with anyway, so pick a project that focuses on that.

If You Need A Project Because You Want to Explore Your Creative Process…

And still want to give fake journaling a go, head over to the Official International Fake Journal blog and read this post about what IFJM is.

Then use that blog’s category list to find tips and guidelines for getting started, and also continuing your project through the month, while in character.

You’ll find information on selecting a journal to work in, deciding on which media to use, and well, basically all the information you need for starting any visual journaling project when you think of it.

Finally, pick a project calendar period—you can start today—the date you start is not important. And continue working until you finish your set project dates. Keep a personal project in which you dive deeply to find out what is really going on inside the you—the you that you stepped away from. 

Don’t forget to do an end of project evaluation. (There are blog posts on doing that too.)

The project always works best when it isn’t public anyway.

If You Need A Project Because You Have Trouble with Your Internal Critic…

Pick up some books on getting over your internal critic. Stephen Pressfield has several books which address overcoming resistance. They are all great.

Stephen King has a book about his thoughts on writing which will also be helpful to you as an example of a productive artist.

You can even sign up for my Drawing Practice online class this spring, because I talk quite a lot about dealing with the internal critic in that class, as you work to create a daily habit. And don’t worry, if the class time isn’t convenient for you it will be offered again this fall. Take it when you have a month to get serious about your drawing practice.

If You Simply Need A Project…

Switch things up as you near the end of your session. Even grab some leftover paint. I had some gouache sitting at hand.

Sit down and evaluate your current drawing, painting, art making practice. Where are the strengths, the weaknesses; which skills do you need to develop?

I have lots of posts on RozWoundUp about Self-evalutions and setting goals. Use the search engine on this blog to find them. Use those blog post suggestions to custom design your own project.

Maybe the project you devise will be something as simple as sketching all sorts of facial expressions as fast or as slowly as you can (you know what you need), with whatever materials are at hand. (See the illustrations for this post as an example of just one session. Note the time “stamp” on the sketches. They are all about 1 minute or 2; I’m deliberately working quickly here.)

Maybe the project you devise will be more elaborate and involve some library research and some field trips.

Well send me a postcard!

Most important—have a productive April 2019!

Detail of the painted face. I used paint already set out. I’m looking at values.
Close up detail of painted face. I’m having fun with texture and blending, without regard to end result.

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