the ability to createher artistic creativity(Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary).
Creativity is, according to Creativity at Work, “characterized by the ability to perceive the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns, to make connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena, and to generate solutions. Creativity involves two processes: thinking, then producing.” But when I think of creativity I think of all kinds of things. Things like one moment you’re in the shower and out of nowhere an idea for your next book hits you like a ton of bricks. Or you’re sitting at your desk, dining room table, craft table, or the living room floor coloring with your grandson and you realize he has the right idea… he knows exactly what he’s doing… he’s not second guessing himself, the colors he’s using, whether or not he’s coloring inside or outside of the lines… he’s just doing it. And when he’s done, “Mimi it’s the best…” and I’m not sure if he’s asking me or telling me but he’s right… It’s the best. It’s the best moment. It’s the best picture. He used the best colors. It’s just the best, and so is he. We could all learn a thing or two from children and pets…. I’m embracing my inner five year old. That’s the way to creativity. That’s how I’ve learned to fully embrace my creativity–best lesson I could have learned and I learned it from my almost five year old grandson.
For the past seven months or more I’ve struggled with the idea, with accepting fully the idea and the fact that I am now working in a creative job… that what I do (the art, the journals, writing, Patreon, YT (in a way), blogging (that’s something I’m working at more and more each week)… that being a creative isn’t something I just am, it’s what I do, and that utilizing my creativity in different ways is my job, helping others to be creative is my job. sharing creativity is my job… (I’m sure you get the picture by now). Truth is, I’m doing something I love. I’m creating every single day. Maybe it’s a picture I took, or a picture I drew, maybe it’s a paragraph you wrote. Maybe it’s a video you created. Maybe it’s a piece of music you worked on, or a song you learned. Maybe it’s just that you sat down with your child or grandchild and colored a picture in a coloring book.
Later on, I’m going to do another blog post about creativity. I’ll continue to do them here and there. I’ve talked about comparing yourself to others, self-doubt, procrastination, and a few other things. And each time I do these kinds of posts, via blog or video, it’s usually because I’ve learned something new about myself.
I’d like to make this a bit of a series. Maybe one per month or so.
I had one of those infamous pink diary’s with the lock and key when I was in elementary school. That pink diary became my constant companion when my father died when I was seven years old. I’ve been an avid journal-er since. For more than two years now I’ve been using art and text to document my life in my journals, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized and took to heart, got past the fear, and said, “It’s my journal(s), I can do what I want….” I think the rebel in me knew all along and pushed the boundaries, broke the “rules.” Refused to even acknowledge that there are rules to keeping a journal, to doing things like adding your planning into your journal. And the diarist knew that I could journal about whatever I wanted, and was happy to be writing down the feelings, thoughts, hopes, dreams, plans, and more. But the artist… oh, the artist…the artist in me was filled with fear.
I have followed LittleRavenInk (Courtney Diaz) and Rhomany from Rhomany’s Realm, as well as many others on YT, for a good long while now, and the thing I love about both of them is their individualism, how they have found their voice in their art, on the pages of their journals. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a journal, a sketchbook, a planner, etc., their style is unique. I’ve got a style, I suppose, but it ebbs and flows, it’s not ingrained yet… it’s still underneath the surface, appearing and disappearing as I find my way… As I delve into deeper recesses of my artist.
You see, writing down my thoughts, my feelings, adding bits and bobs of things like quotes, pictures, every day ephemera and/or bought ephemera, and other things isn’t the problem… I can do that and do do that on a regular basis. I often use my journal(s) as an art journal, scrapbook, common place journal, planner, and more. I add bits and pieces of my day on the page in a variety of ways, from drawing and water-coloring, to using markers, to writing diary style, to quotes, adding pictures and receipts, bits from magazines, receipts from stores, etc…, and the thing that has been bugging me about my whole journal journey is that I wanted to do something else… something more. To hone in on the artist part of me. To improve my skill and technique, to experiment with different mediums, but to concentrate mainly on the art. On creating at least one piece of art from my day. Maybe it was the new notebook I received in the mail, or maybe it’s my favorite fountain pen or the current watercolor palette I’m using, or maybe it’s my grandson playing or Mr. Rockstar using the grill, or maybe it’s a selfie I’ve drawn and water-colored. Not necessarily in a “sketchbook,” though I do that from time to time especially when I go somewhere and want to chronicle the moment by drawing the outside of the coffee shop or the lake at Swan Lake or the people at the park, which I have learned is called urban sketching and I enjoy, but more like a real life journal that chronicles everything from the mundane to the special event to travel to just playing around and drawing one of my supplies.
I did some serious soul searching last weekend, and my past Tuesday Talk video was about some of this… about investing in myself and my goals, about delving deep and realizing that I’ve been putting off trying to really “illustrate my life,” out of fear… out of insecurity… out of a lack of self-confidence. And yet the past year has improved my self-confidence, lessened my fear, knocked loose some of those insecurities and I’ve tried things and done things that the artist in me wouldn’t have even thought I could do–things like open my own journaling group, start Patreon, call myself an artist… WHOA! Did I just call myself an artist? Yep, sure did!
I’m not a professional artist, but I’m learning… I’m going back to the basics of drawing and learning to do so in a class offered by Danny Gregory on Sketchbook Skool. I’m experimenting on my own with watercolor until I can take a watercolor class–that is on my To-Do list after I finish the Drawing class. I’m learning on my own and taking classes. I’m journaling every day, drawing and water-coloring every day, and have gotten serious enough about that I purchased a new journal with 68 GSM Tomoe River paper in it from Taroko Design, the journal is called the Enigma and it’s got the most divine paper. I also have a Strathmore Watercolor paper journal/Sketchbook with 140lb paper for when I do happen to go Urban Sketching, or for practice, since painting with watercolor on Tomoe River paper is quite different than on watercolor paper.
Right now I use a Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolor set, but I want to invest in the Daniel Smith Watercolors and create a basic travel set and then add to my collection as I go. I have goals… plans, but first it’s time for me to just start. I can’t wait until I can afford the Daniel Smith watercolors, though I do have a small travel kit that one of my wonderful friends made for me (I use those when I create works of art for people). Instead of waiting around, procrastinating even more, I sat at my DIY craft table and opened up both the A5 and the A6 Enigma and created my first page. I’ve realized that the A6 is going to be my fun, experimental tiny book of sketches, watercolors, etc… I’m going to take it with me every where I go and sketch something… anything–it might be the mailbox or the neighbor’s car or dog or pool or tree, or the coffee shop, or the front of the grocery store, or the people waiting in line at the doctor’s office. And the A5 will be my actual “Illustrated Journal,” also known as an “Artist’s Journal.” Some of those sketches might be of my supplies, of a tree in my own backyard, of Mr. Rockstar, of my grandson Mr. Viktor, of my own car, of myself, of pictures I’ve taken, of people (Friends, Family, etc)… I am going to illustrate something each day.
If any of you have seen the pages of my (Omni) journal or my Hobonichi you know that I often sketch bits and pieces of my day on my journal pages, sometimes it’s cartoon like, sometimes it’s fancy stick figures, sometimes it’s an actual sketch and watercolor… but I also add a lot of text, ephemera, photos, etc to the pages of my (Omni) journal/Hobonichi. I am going to continue to do that, because those are fun… I’m not always serious when I draw those bits and pieces of my life. Don’t get me wrong, there are some serious sketches within the pages of my (Omni Journal) and Hobonichi, but there are far more fun drawings…
I’m going to be chronicling my journal in depth on Patreon, but in bits and pieces here and on YT. I hope you enjoy the process, I know I hope to.
Once I get things together, I’ll make a revised Journal Supply post and video.
When I first started adding more visual elements like drawings, watercolor, pictures, and more to my journal pages I figured out quickly that the paper in my journal made a difference. I joined the Fauxbonichi journal group after watching videos by MissVickyB and Anna Brimbles. They showed a journal called the Miquel Ruis. I got one. Loved the cute red journal and the smooth pages until I tried to watercolor on the paper. Before long, many in the group complained that once their journal was halfway finished the binding started breaking and the journal started falling apart. I know, from personal experience, that when you add elements like stickers, watercolor, die-cuts, real life ephemera or purchased ephemera the journal does become chunky quite quickly.
I prefer an A5 sized journal. The average size of an A5 is 8×5 inches. I didn’t use the Miquel Ruis for very long. I purchased an actual Hobonichi, and a Seven Seas Standard, both of which are made with 52 gsm Tomoe River paper. The Hobonichi has almost-white Tomoe River paper and a sort of pale gray grid, and the Seven Seas Standard has plain Tomoe River paper. I love Tomoe River paper. Absolutely love it. It crinkles slight, has the slight ripple to it, when you add watercolor. And the feel of the paper is delicious. I loved working with the paper from both journals, but soon I realized that because I write a lot, and my handwriting is rather large, that being limited to one page per day in the Hobonichi wasn’t good for me. I could use as many pages as I wanted for each day in the Seven Seas Standard, but I was limited with the Hobonichi.
I heard about the Seven Seas Crossfield, which is 480 pages of 52gsm Tomoe River paper with 5mm “dot” grid–the little dots aren’t dots they’re these really small little pale blue crosses that make up the “dot grid.” I loved it. Really loved it. I started using the Crossfield right around the same time I heard about the bullet journal. I started trying to add elements of the bullet journal to my “fauxbonichi” style journal. I was almost finished with my Crossfield when I looked on Nanamipaper’s website to order another and found that they weren’t available. All sold out. A month or so later a friend informed me that the Crossfield would be available in a few days, I ordered two. Many people who love the Seven Seas journals commented that when the journals become available they sell quickly–usually within 24 hours they’re sold again, especially the Crossfield. I was so glad I ordered two.
One book July was coming around and I was trying really hard to find my way in regard to my journal. I wanted a journal that could house bits of everything. Elements like planning, art, photos, everyday ephemera, facts, quotes, research, collections, and more. An Omni Journal. I used my Crossfield and loved it. I wanted a journal I could house in my Jonelifish A5 trifold with an insert or two behind it for other more specific things. I wanted to be able to chronicle anything and everything from watercolor, common place style journal pages, to-do lists, collections, photos, and diary style journaling instead of keeping things separate. I was still journaling “fauxbonichi style” but I also started adding in other things, thus the term Omni Journal.
Because I add so much to my Omni Journal they fill up quickly. I noticed the Crossfield, which has 480 pages, lasts me about 6 months. I briefly tried using a Bullet Journal separately from my Omni Journal. I tried doing that in the Leuchtturm 1917 and in the Crossfield, but keeping it separate didn’t work for me. I went to Nanamipaper to buy another Crossfield but they were sold out. So I went searching for A5 journals with Tomoe River paper and came across the Taroko Design shop and their Enigma and Mystique. At the time the Taroko shop was sold out of the Enigma, and without too much research, but based on a few reviews I read, I ordered the Mystique.
The Mystique is an A5 sewn binding made of 80gsm Taroko Orchid grid paper. It’s gorgeous, thick, and smooth but not glossy or slick. It takes fountain pen fabulously, and though there is some ghosting there is rarely bleed through. It’s absolutely wonderful paper, but I soon realized that the Mystique was not Tomoe River paper. I became concerned that I was messing up the journal by adding watercolor to it. So I stopped using it as my Omni Journal and got out the second Crossfield and started using at as my Omni Journal. Well…. My journal is almost full and it’s almost the end of the year so I went back to Nanamipaper to order a Crossfield and wouldn’t you know, not in stock. So I went back to the Taroko Design shop on Etsy to see if they had the Enigma in, which actually has 68gsm Tomoe River paper. Yep. In stock. So I ordered one. It came in 8-9 days, which is great considering it was being shipped from overseas to South Carolina, USA. It was packaged well, and I was in awe when I opened it. WOW! The paper in the Enigma is so freaking awesome. It’s thicker than the Tomoe River paper in the Hobonichi, the Crossfield, or the Standard. It’s not as thick as the Mystique, but the Mystique is 80gsm Orchid paper that’s to be expected. The Hobonichi, Crossfield, Standard, Enigma, and Mystique are all great for fountain pen use. And I’ve had no issues using watercolor with any of those, BUT the Tomoe River paper does take the watercolor better.
I’ve started setting up my Enigma for next year, as that’s the journal I’ll be using for my Omni Journal, and the Mystique that is only half used will become my Morning pages journal. I’m good with that, since there is no way I’ll let half of that wonderful 80gsm Orchid paper go to waste. 😀
If you’re interested, the Seven Seas journals can be found at http://nanamipaper.com, and the Taroko Design Shop can be found on Etsy–he also has a FB page, as well as a few listings of his items on Amazon. 😀
I’m going to insert the video I made showing the journals here at the end so you can see what the journals look like. Hope this review helps.