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.


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 art 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 wire bound 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" wire bound 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.


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, But when I learned about Fibonacci it was in relation to the stock market, not the patterns within sea shells!

Over four full  very full days, a small group drew, painted with watercolor, sketched, wrote, taped, glued, cut stuff, stamped, practiced, laughed, ate, explored, learned, grew. Light bulbs went off in our heads as we put together things we'd read but didn't understand. Janet is a fun, warm and genuine person and if you ever get a chance to take one of her workshops, do not hesitate!!!