While I'm going to stay with a theme of 'Keep It Simple, Stupid', I am doing things a little differently this year. Instead of making a journal or buying one specifically for this year's journal, I'm going to finish up some of the journals I've already been working in. The main one will be a Stillman & Birn's Delta sketchbook. I reviewed one of these a while back if you are interested in learning more about them.
For this weeks prompt--Pathways--I decided to paint the cover of my journal. Although last year was the first year I joined up with a challenge group, I've been creating art in journals since 2010, so I decided my pathways would be symbolic of my artful journey.
I didn't have a camera on hand while I was painting this, but I've explained some of the reasons for my choices below, for those who are interested.
- What kind of art do you think you'll do? Look at the information on the book and see if it is formulated for the tools you'll use. Books good for pen and markers might be too slick for pencil, colored pencil and paints. Books good for pencil, colored pencil or paints might be too rough for fabric-tipped pens and markers. Mixed media is a good choice if you use lots of different mediums. It may not be the best for any given tool, but should work with most of them. Paper with a mixed media label is usually heavy enough to take lots of glue and glued on items.
- How much time will you have? A smaller book limits how much you can do with each prompt, but a larger book will have pages that take longer to fill up. I've found something around a 5 x 7 works well for me when I'm keeping things simple. A 9 x 12 is fantastic to work in, but is too large for me to use on a regular basis (unless I'm painting with watercolors). If I intended to spend more time planning out my work, and going for lots of detail, I'd choose 9 x 12 or larger.
- What kind of subject do you like? Portraits? Animals? Landscapes? I chose a square 7x7 sketchbook, but square might not be best for everyone. It's good for abstracts and non-objective art like Zentangle, but harder for portraits and landscapes. Portraits work best in books that are taller than wide (portrait orientation), while landscape work best with the opposite (landscape orientation). Choosing a book with the right shape for your preference gets overlooked, but it can make your life easier.
- Do you intend to glue things in your book, or use texture pastes? A wirebound book might be best for you. It lies very flat, the pages can be folded back and best of all--it has room to expand as you add those items without worrying that the spine will crack. On the other hand, you can only use one page because the wire coil gets in the way, and for some, lefties especially, that wire coil is an annoyance. With a hardbound book, you can choose to do a two-page spread. This gives you choice. When you have time for a larger piece you do two pages. When time is less, you go for a one-page piece. Do make sure, though, if you choose a hardbound, that the pages lie fairly flat even when it opens in the middle.