Sunday, February 25, 2018

Sketchbooks, notebooks and visual journals

I'm a little obsessed with notebooks. I usually have one with me everywhere and I fill it with notes and lists, but it often has doodles, collage and some drawing in there too. I have found that ideas are everywhere and they generally start from very small observations. Even the most boring ones, can be inspiring to look back on, as memories can often trigger a new idea that develops into something different to the original observation. So I encourage you to give it a go....but be warned it's a little addictive! 

Reach for your notebook...

  • Daily diary.
  • Travel journal.
  • Memory of a special event (birthday, celebration, etc.)
  • Planning things you want to make, paint, do, achieve, etc.
  • Sketching.
  • Doodling.
  • Writing stories, poetry, songs, etc.
  • Keeping notes about places, you've been, things you've seen.
  • Recording, observing, spending time looking, paying more attention.

Don't judge a book by the cover ...

You might buy a beautiful artists sketchbook, or a very plain student notebook. You might take an old copybook or notebook and paint over the writing. You can use a book found in a charity-shop and re-purpose it, taking inspiration from the words printed on the pages. The cover might inspire the contents, or the contents might inspire you to decorate the cover. Anything's yours now, make it your own.

  • You can leave your cover until you Fill some or all of the pages, and your book begins to take on a life of its own..
  • Paint it
  • Stick things to it
  • Use gel pens or metallic pens over dark or buff covers
  • Have some kind of window/door in it with something behind it.
  • Cover it with fabric or paper
  • Add Gesso to the cover to create texture for painting.

Living on the edge...

  • Layer the edges of your pages so that you are glimpsing an element of the next page as you are reading the current page.
  • Use repeating patterns
  • Decorative edges
  • Plain borders (you can add in some writing or comments later?)
  • Torn page edges
  • Use decorative scissors to cut an edge
  • Just start cutting with a scissors and see what you come up with
  • Cut around the edge of a drawing or picture you have  stuck onto the page
  • Stitched edges.
  • Add tabs

Deep Pockets ...

  • Adding pockets or envelopes to your book provide an opportunity for adding notes, photos, sketches that allow the reader to interact with the book and become more engaged with the narrative. 
  • Anything you can stick down on 2 or 3 sides can make a pocket (photos, cards, etc)
  • Use different sized pockets and envelopes
  • Make envelopes out of interesting magazine pages
  • Glue two pages together to form pockets.
  • Add clear plastic pockets to allow you to see the contents.

A little tied up ...

  • Punch holes....plain circles or decorative shapes
  • Use reinforcer rings
  • Add metal eyelets
  • Add fibre samples
  • Add tags or 3D elements

Special effects ...

  • Colourwash: Mix paint with good amount of water and use large brush to colour page.
  • Sponging: Use a sponge to dab paint over page.
  • Wax and wash: Wipe blank page with wax crayon or candle and colourwash over it.
  • Dripping: Drip or pour diluted paint onto page and fold paper or another page over it.
  • Clingfilm wash: Paint onto piece of clingfilm and press page onto it.
  • Stencil: Paint over lace, netting or paper lace to stencil pattern onto your page.
  • Ink rubbing: Use a make-up sponge to dab ink from a stamping pad onto your page.

Spread out ...

  • Spread your sketches across two pages with one image, theme or colour scheme to lead your eye around the page.
  • Incorporate the next page through cut-outs, folds, transparent pages
  • Use the same colour, image or theme throughout the book to link pages
  • Use composition to lead the eye from one area to another across pages
3D elements ... 

  • Windows
  • Doors
  • Flaps
  • Stitch
  • Fabric
  • Folds
  • Cardboard shapes

Keep it interesting ...

  • Different types of hand-writing
  • Stamping
  • Painting
  • Drawing
  • Collage
  • Mask over something, paint the page, remove the masking.

  • Maps
  • Pop-ups
  • Messages
  • Lists

Remove or add-in pages
  • tear out pages
  • cut out pages

Rip up a picture /coloured paper and
  • Weave it
  • Stick down the strips leaving spaces between them
  • Mix up the pieces and stick them down
  • Form a new pattern by sticking down the pieces in swirls, patches, lines, shapes

Page Markers
  • Tabs
  • Ribbons

  • Papers
  • Colour
  • Text under or over images
  • Fabrics
  • Translucent over solid
  • Pattern over plain
  • Depth/perspective through use of colour, scales
  • Use sellotape to make a transfer
Use different ways of sticking things in
  • Masking tape
  • Sellotape
  • Parcel tape
  • Coloured tapes
  • Staples
  • Tie things in
  • Stitch things in

How to trick yourself into drawing!
  • Look at the object. Put your pen down on the paper and start drawing without looking at your page until you finish. This stops you from criticising what you are doing.
  • Turn the picture you want to copy upside down and draw the lines you see. This stops you from drawing what you think you know about the thing.
  • Put tracing paper over the picture and just trace it. This allows you to learn how to draw the lines you see.
  • Put a piece of the picture on your page and continue to draw the lines outside the picture  onto your page. This gives you the confidence to finish something that’s already started for you.
  • Cut out the shape of something from a picture and outline it on your page.
  • Use a thick marker to outline the shape of something in a picture and copy that outline onto your page.

Things to use in your notebook
  • Magazine  or newspaper clippings, old photos
  • Old envelopes and stamps
  • Threads, beads, buttons
  • Tickets, maps
  • Paint, pencil, crayon, marker, gel-pen, wax, ink, ink stamping, chalk, pastels, etc.
  • Pressed flowers, seeds,

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