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Artful Journal Workshop

This past week, I had the opportunity to take a workshop locally with artist Janet Takahashi.

As you know, what you create in a workshop is a result of the workshop environment. It is not completely "yours" because of the guidance of the teacher. So I don't want to give away the core of the workshop, but rather share bits and pieces.

I tried to select the bits from my journal that I felt were most "me" as we were able to free create while we learned... doodling, drawing, painting, as Janet taught a zillion concepts and techniques.

Learning how to add dimension and shadows to letters.

We were playing with frisket so I painted the lines of a map and covered with watercolor yellows and blues. I am too quick to scrub off that frisket. Frisket is also called Masking Fluid. There's a very cool tool to use to "draw" with frisket, called The Incredible Nib (Janet had it on her supply list). You can see the photo at Blick, you basically "dip" it in a little pool of frisket and draw and can get thinner lines than with the tip of the frisket container.

Janet is the author of the lovely book Artful Journals: Making & Embellishing Memory Books, Garden Diaries & Travel Albums. Highly recommended!!!

Writing on swirls in Sakura Pigma Micron 005, and of course I must have mandalas everywhere. I had forgotton about my Microns and the lines are quite nice. I also got several excited recommendations about the Pentel Slicci Pens pens with {almost} razor thin lines.

Learning to paint and draw lovely trees.

I started a number collection: my first two items, a stencil and a magazine clipping.

Practicing galore.

I doodled a Y for Yellow!

It's difficult to put into words the experience of doing art among [grown-up] artists. My breakfast table and local cafes have long been home to my arting adventures. This was the second art class I've taken. The first was a community college watercolor course just after college and I still have my practice pages.

There is much to learn.

Our journals can be anything we want them to be.

The focus of the workshop was on drawing, lettering, embellishing, not “art journaling” in our crazy chaotic overflowing-the-page way but artistic journal-keeping. It was really quite refreshing and humbling at the same time. It was a definite paradigm shift to be amongst other people creating art.

We worked in 9x9" Aquabee wirebound watercolor journals, surrounded by the art materials we brought for the workshop. Initially I wasn't sure what size to get so I ordered the 6x9" and the 9x12" wirebound journals and then at the class the workshop provided the 9x9" version. Thankfully I love the quality of the paper and am now the happy owner of three Aquabee journals. We put the journals to the test - cut out portions with x-acto knifes, glued, taped, folded, watercolored, inked, penciled... so I recommend these journals. {added all of that as a result of a few questions about the journal}.

So while Janet taught various techniques, we could try those techniques in any way we wished. I liked that it wasn't a copycat thing and we could work with the various techniques as we wished or go on a tangent sparked by something in the class.

janet's gorgeous lettering

My mind is overflowing with ideas. Perspective. Value. Color. Composition. Fibonacci series. The golden ratio. I've read about all of these concepts before, but to see them come to life, WOW! But when I learned about Fibonacci it was in relation to the stock market, not the patterns within sea shells.

Over four full {full} days, a small group drew, watercolored, sketched, wrote, taped, glued, cut stuff, stamped, practiced, laughed, ate, explored, learned, grew. Lightbulbs went off in our heads as we put together things we'd read but didn't understand. Janet Takahashi is a fun, warm and genuine person and if you ever get a chance to take one of her workshops, go for it!

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Reader Comments (8)

sounds like great fun, I have never taken a class before so I envy you. not much available in my neck of the woods!. I can see that it is very invigorating by the tone of your email. have a fun weekend

04.20.2012 | Unregistered Commenterdeb

I wish I had the same opportunity - how wonderful! Learning alongside others is my preference.

oh WOW - so many different types of goodness packed into that class! you're practically buzzing with excitement. (and I think there's something wrong with me because I have the incredible nib and can't make it do squat! I've had way better luck since pouring my frisket into a teeny tiny squeeze bottle after reading a tip from you!)

04.20.2012 | Unregistered Commenteriamrushmore

It looks like a class I would enjoy taking!
How did you like the Aquabee journal? Always looking for good journal recommendations.

04.20.2012 | Unregistered CommenterSandra L.

So glad you enjoyed your class Tammy!! Years ago when I would take watercolour classes - I felt the money was worth it if I came away with one new technique learned or a new approach. By the sound of it you WAAAYYYYY got your moneys worth!!!!

04.21.2012 | Unregistered CommenterEmily Lagore

Sounds like the class was GREAT!!! I love what taking classes can do - both from the course content, the luxury of time and concentration, fellow classmates, the off hand comment that ends up being a real insight, the renewed energy. I hope you can share more. I'm also curious how you liked the Aquabee. What did you think?

{Tammy}: Lizzie Bo, Yes! It was an amazing experience in so many ways. I will be sharing more, and I hope to be paying more attention to the artful part of the art journals. Loved the Aquabee journal, and I bought two more so I'll share more work on this paper. Janet highly recommended the journals and that was what we all used for the workshop.

04.22.2012 | Unregistered CommenterLizzie Bo

"Our journals can be anything we want them to be."

I really, really, really like that statement and will try to keep it in mind when I'm fretting over my journal pages not looking as good as... or not as colorful as... The comparison habit is a tough one to overcome, so the reminder that my journal can be exactly what I want and need is timely indeed.

Thanks for your beautiful artwork and encouraging blog posts.

04.22.2012 | Unregistered CommenterGailNHB

It is fantastic to see all of the ways you experimented! Thanks for sharing these little glimpses into your explorations. Love the tangerine especially... :)

04.23.2012 | Unregistered CommenterChristine

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