Art Journaling with Kitty
August 21, 2010
Today's guest post is from Katja Benevol Gabrijelčič.
Art Journaling with Kitty
Hello all! My name is Katja but since my sister started calling me Kitty when we were in high school, this became my “internet name.”
I was always a crafter and I became an avid collector of techniques when the internet came to be. Forums, mailing lists – I found people like me and suddenly I wasn’t a weirdo anymore. I was cozy among my peers. I started blogging sporadically in 2007 together with my husband and then we upped the number of posts in the following years.
I started my paper crafting with ATCs in April 2007 and it took me quite some time to move on to a larger scale. I discovered art journals in the 2nd half of 2008. And it took me a lot of time and courage to start one of my own. I started on small bits of loose scrap paper because I was so scared that I’d just ruin the paper. It took me a while to realize that “paper is resilient,” and is valid for drawing, not just for writing. This was my very first page (February 2009):
I chose loose papers so that I would have the liberty to throw it away and not keep everything in my growing booklet, which I bound with book-rings. Turns out I never threw a page away, because every one of them was part of me, my creating side, my thinking, my life.
And now we come to my problem. I can’t draw. Or at least I have thought so for my whole life. That’s why collage was immediately a big element in my art attempts. When I discovered stamps, I was over the moon. But those were for cards, no? And for little girls’ coloring books? Could they be used for a journal and not get boring? I tried a page. I wasn’t sure that this was what I was aiming for.
So I tried to incorporate faces from magazines, like in this page:
And I didn’t like it much, because it seemed so artificial, so cheap…when others did it, it was great, but I wasn’t able to do it. I tried a drawing:
And I hated it even more. And hated myself. I’m rather okay when I try drawing still lifes, but with living things … blah. See?
So I took some courage (and my credit card) and enrolled in an online class with Julie Pritchard. And then another. And then, finally, in Suzi Blu’s Petite dolls class. This art journal page is a combination of the three classes:
If you don’t blow the image up much, it’s not that bad, is it? This is done in a tall and narrow journal I made myself. I folded a couple of student grade watercoloring sheets (A3 size) in quarters:
Then I glued the left and the right part on the back so I got a booklet.
Then I stitched a couple of the booklets together (by hand). Finally, I made the front and back cover and glued them together with a silk ribbon that functions as a spine.
Now I want to share the process for the pages that I like to make in this tall and skinny journal!
I have a sketch book in which I keep some ideas. To start an art journal page I select one of the sketched dolls from my idea journal. For example this one:
Sorry for the bad quality of the image, but it’s very difficult photographing pencil images. I colored the cheeks because she looked so pale.
Then I make a background. This is the one I chose because it has a bit of a maritime theme.
I had put a bit of yellow on top of the collage earlier, so I simply chose some blue to cover the rest. It doesn’t matter which colors and how you put them on at this moment, because you'll do more later. Just get it covered with color!
Now I create the doll on a clean sheet of paper -- you can use colored pencils, acrylic paints, whatever you feel comfortable with.
Her nose disappeared a bit. I’ll have to correct that in a later stage. This is a very common problem with me, noses of my dolls just keep disappearing.
And now we cut her out and adhere her to the background.
And now the real fun begins. We have to incorporate her into the background! You can use patterns, some large words, a bit of journaling, embellishments – whatever is your fancy. And here is the final result:
I keep a couple of different journals going at all times. This one...
...is an old notebook that I used for taking notes at meetings. When I'm ready to turn it into an art journal I simply glue together every other page and gesso over the writing. I used scraps, bits of DP, a stamped image, stickers and Tria markers to fill in the gaps on the cover. To finish, I covered the whole thing with polymer medium.
It is an older piece, but I still like the way it looks, even though my collages have gotten better over time. The reason is that when I made it, I didn’t think that I was able to do it. So an art journal is a method of therapy and exploring my boundaries, hopefully going past them.
I encourage you to explore your boundaries!
About Kitty: I’m almost 40, happily married and a mother of two. I’m a professional translator and I’m self-employed. I translate from Italian and English into my mother tongue – Slovenian. Mostly technical stuff, but also a couple of novels. I love my work and I only consider it boring when I have to invoice my clients and take care of the administrative part of it. My Blog: Slovonske Technobe.