Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Step# 12 - Using a Different Style

If you look at the page featured in today's post, you'll see that the style is a little more streamlined than most of my other pages - most of the ones that I do on a regular basis are a more grungy, distressed feeling page, while the page that I'm showcasing today is quite different. Sure it's got a few of those things, but there's a lot more straight, planned lines, with my style inside of them. I actually created this page as a challenge page. Over on Ky's blog, she told us that our challenge was to showcase a checkerboard. A lot of times, at least for me, when I'm told something like that, an idea normally pops into my head, and I feel that it's my responsibility to put it on paper. So I got an idea, and I just decided that I'd go with it, whether I felt like it or not. But a lot of times when I get such an idea, I automatically go crazy - I feel it's my duty to let it free, and it's me holding such a wonderful idea from sprouting.

Another note about using a different style every now and again in your art journals is that it gives you a new feeling of accomplishment - and if you always do the same kind of pages, then it gives you the feeling that you actually can do something other than what's in the zone that you are comfortable with. And when you learn this; that you can do it, and that you can take it to the next level. So go out of your comfort zone today - do a page idea that you've had in your mind for a while now, but have been afraid to use. Trust me. I know.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Step #11 - Types of Paper: Newspaper

Yes, you read it right - I use newspaper ALL the time in my art journal. It resembles book paper if used in the right way in an art journal. So, if you can't bear to ruin a book for the pages, then this is a very good substitute. When underneath many or even just a few layers, it looks almost identical to book paper. Plus, newspaper is very common in everyday life. If you don't receive a newspaper, a lot of times cities have free weekly newspapers. They are much smaller but are just about perfect for crafting needs - I can normally stretch the entire newspaper until the next week when a new one arrives. A lot of ladies that I know use newspaper only use the regular wording. They don't even try to use the photographs, which, as a matter of fact, are very nice to use in collage portions of an art journal page or spread. Another section of the newspaper that is my very favorite to use is the Here and Now pages. I love how the words are separated into little blocks of wording - it creates quite a nice pattern when a large piece is used. Almost like a grid. Speaking of grids, lines and grids are very attractive in any type of art. Art journaling or otherwise. A lot of times you really can't tell if it's book paper or newspaper unless you get up close and try to determine which it is. Which people mostly don't do. And plus, even if they did, why would it matter? It looks good both ways and sometimes I even use both materials in the same page or spread. They look slightly different when they are placed side by side, adding variation. Though slight, such variation adds amazing variety to a page. And plus, newspaper is cheap - even if you don't feel like setting up for the free paper, a lot of times your friends and family do receive the daily paper are more than willing to get rid of a few of their old papers. The news in them is since old, and, since you're using them for crafting and a lot of the words will be covered up, it doesn't matter what the words say. So I encourage you to go out and get a newspaper today. Whether it be a free one, a paid for one, or one that somebody gives you - go find one. And use it. Do it. Trust me. I know.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Step #10 - Types of Paper: Book Paper

In an art journal, many different types of paper can be used in the collage portion in addition to paint. In my journals, I always use a lot of techniques, and, on almost every page or spread, I collage. At least one layer. I use all different types of paper to do this - book paper, music paper, wrapping paper, scrapbook paper, ledger paper, notebook paper, tissue paper, the inside of business envelopes - all of them add fun interest in the page, even though they may or may not be covered with paint and more layers. In today's post, I'm going to discuss book paper. Book paper is one of my absolute favorite things to use in my art journals. It gives it a nice vintage look and is so fun to cover up with translucent layers, so that the words are just barely visible beneath the surface. It gives a beautiful, almost ghostly effect, but it is simply amazing to look out. There is no way to fully explain it - you must do it yourself to see and to understand the beauty. Whether using it in strips - torn or cut cleanly or punching into shapes, especially circles. The way that the circles of words look when placed into a page through collage is especially calling - it draws you in, explains what the page may or may not look like, and adds interest. Using different shapes in the collage portion of a page also adds interest. I get into the habit of almost always using strips of different paper in almost the the same places almost every time. All because I made one page with that arrangement and it looked good. In fact it was, and as a matter of fact, still is, my favorite page. But don't get caught in that trap. That's all it is. A trap. Of doing the same thing. Using the same design. The same colors. The same mindset. Change your mindset. It works. Trust me. I know.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Step #9: Your Inner Critic

A gentle whisper at first. Very quiet. Very soothing. Even though what it says is harsh and false, it makes you feel good. The words are not encouraging in the least - yet you tend to propel towards them. The voices that say you can't create. That you aren't creative. That you aren't good enough. And even though these words are whispered quietly, they are also thought with a tone of harshness. But then there is something else. You know it's there, but you can't quite figure out what it is. This is also your inner critic. Just a much kinder, softer and more comforting version of it. They are one in the same, but different. But if you can find a way to combine the two critics, what is left is really quite powerful and deliberate. Instead of encouraging and discouraging thoughts all mixed together in a jumbled mess, what you have now is actually a composed and complimentary whole. For example, a phrase that such a composed critic might utter often might be "That doesn't look good, but if you did this..." As you can see, the first part is the more discouraging critic and the second is the comforting one. But together they form a whole. The simplest phrases that this type of critic can be extremely helpful in anything that you do in the large, vast, world of art. For example, if one of the things that you hear often is that something might look better elsewhere, this can be very helpful. But it can also cause you to fall. In the way you think. In the way that you carry yourself. In everything you do. But if you are cautious, everything will work out. I promise. Trust me. I know.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Step #8: Breaking Your Boundaries

Personal boundaries are probably one of the hardest things that you'll ever have to overcome in the process of freeing yourself. When you start doing anything creative, what automatically happens is that you set boundaries onto yourself that you caution yourself not to cross. And when you get too close then your thoughts and your mind start to yell out cautions... threaten even. But I recommend that you ignore those little naggings and keep on going - they are just holding you back from your future in art. If they are even slightly threatening, don't worry - they are just empty threats. This is your mind trying to stop you from getting embarrassed. Since when can you learn anything without being proven wrong at times? We wouldn't know the entire scientific world as we do if there weren't a couple of people being proven wrong. Even the greatest scientists of all time made major mistakes that unfortunately reduced the advance of science greatly for years. But they also made major discoveries that advanced science greatly. So as you can see, even in science, people make mistakes. But they also make discoveries. It is the very same way in art. Exactly. If you decide to experiment with something in your creative endeavors, whether it be transfers; packing tape, gel medium, mod podge, or create your own method; if you want to try using a new kind of paint, craft paint, student grade, and artist grade, to see the difference; or anything else in the entire creative world that will advance your skills. Anything that you didn't think you could do before, you can magically do now. And all you needed to do was break those boundaries. They were holding you back. They weren't supporting you in the least. All they were doing were telling you what you couldn't do. They weren't thinking about the times when you didn't listen and things worked out fine. Better than that, you might decide that your very favorite art journal pages are created when you ignore the boundaries in your life. Break out of the holds that are taking advantage of your weakness and faults. And take control.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Step #7: You are in Control

You are in control. In control of your life. Of your mind. Why not your art too? By saying that, for a fact, you are in control of your art, you are releasing a certain part of yourself. It tells you that you can do what you want instead of what others want you to do. Because it is your art journal. Because you can. It is your mind. Your body. Your hands that are creating. You control them, so you also control your art. Make sense? I believe that control is one of your most important things to have as an artist. You can do what you want to do. And that is fact. Make it do what you want it to. And let yourself know that is true. It's necessary for your mind, soul, and body to know that you are in control and there is nothing they can do about it. You have control of your brain and your brain controls your hands and the rest of your body. When you have control over your mind and your soul, then the control of your body comes naturally. Make your hands move to the places you want to and use what you want them to. Make your pages do what you want them to. Be in control. Think back to before you started trying to gain control. How exactly did you feel about starting out on an endeavor that big - gaining control of your mind and of your motions? Were you scared? Worried? Excited? Impatient? Make an art journal page in your journal about gaining control. I'm serious. That's what your art journal is for. Experimenting. Cataloguing your emotions. Your feelings. Your understanding about a certain project. When you get these special feelings under your roof and within your grasp, then you start to gain more control. Not only of your body and of your though process, but of the way your art looks as well. Trust me. I know. You can gain control. You can. I know it. If I can do it, then trust me, anybody can! I've experimented with styles and thought processes for a while before I gained full control. You might take a while too, or you might only take a day. It's sort of a personal process. The time that passes in between could also be an interesting aspect to let free on a page as well. So take control of yourself. Of your life. Of your world. Of your art.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Step #6: Delving into the Depths

Inside of each of us is a creative person. A creative soul. I'm sure of it. But so many of us are convinced that we're not 'creative' or we can't make 'anything.' That is just not true. The reason that people say these things is because they try one time and then give up. Because it didn't turn out perfect. On their first try. I'm not the best at drawing and sketching realistic things. But I still practice. Because I know. Know what? Well, I know that I'll get better. I can't tell you how much better my drawings have gotten since I started practicing. It really works, let me tell you. You may have noticed the title of this post; Delving into the Depths. If I could give posts a sub-title, I would. But I guess you could say the sub-title is 'Finding your Creative Self'. You need to dig, dive, and overall delve into the depths of yourself to find your creative self. To let it free. It's being smothered. By you. By your emotions. That is what is holding you back. When you let yourself go and just play, your creative flame sparks a little. And you start to feel it a bit. You get more ideas. The more you let yourself lose to be creative, you are releasing a little of the cloth that is covering your creative fire. The sparks and the little flames are there at first, but once you give yourself permission, and you urge, blow and plea that little flame into maturity, the little spark, the little flame; they become one and start a big, roaring fire. And that fire that is burning inside of you is your passion to create. Like I said. There's a passion inside of everyone. You just need to pry it out. And you might not be able to feel it at first. Don't worry. That's normal. But after a while you feel something else. A burning desire and need to create. A desire to be creative. And when you let it free; you explore with papers, paints, stamps, inks, crayons, markers, pencils, and whatever else you desire you use in your creative endeavors, then you are feeding that fire. You are giving it what it wants. What it likes. What it needs. What it needs to survive. And if you smother that creative flame again, then you'll have to go through the long and painful struggle of uncovering it once again. So don't let it get that way. Don't make it necessary to delve and find your creative fire once again. Just keep feeding the fire it's creative pleasures and keep it burning. It's a much less painful way to keep your fire burning, and it's not that hard. Even just a few solitary minutes of peace and playtime all to yourself a day will keep your fire alive. So go do it. Find your creative self and keep it burning.