Tag: journal art

Coffee Infographic in My Journal –because, why not?

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I was up late last Friday for work, and I could not wind down to sleep, so I thought I’d pick up my pens and draw something that I would enjoy making. The details are really small, I used a small watercolor brush for them. I didn’t have a fine pen inked (I don’t think I have a pen with a fine nib, actually) so I had to use the closest to it, which was a Pilot Custom Heritage 92 with a medium nib. A wet, Japanese medium.

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Here’s a better look at the whole thing. By the time I finished it, I was ready to sleep. 🙂 As always, writing, drawing, and making little watercolor paintings on Tomoe River paper is such a pleasure. The finished work always feels great to the touch. I liked the play of Iroshizuku Shin Ryoku’s green with the different shades of brown.The TWSBI Micarta is inked with Diamine Ochre, which I think is the perfect ink to pair with a coffee-colored theme. It’s dark brown with notes of red and crazy beautiful shading.

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The think I really love best about using fountain pens whether in drawings or regular writing is that the letters look as if they’re part of the painting. Paired with great paper, it makes the letters look like they were painted on because of the shading and line variations. You can’t get that much drama in lines with ballpoint pens or rollerballs. There’s a lot of character in lines that are made by fountain pens. The overall effect is just so beautiful.

Below are a few close ups of the descriptions of each kind of espresso-based coffee. Overall, a very relaxing journal entry to write. 🙂

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Tomoe River is da bomb. If you need inserts for your traveler’s notebooks, check out Everything Calligraphy.

Writing About a Traumatic Experience

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Writing has always been therapeutic for me. There’s no question that writing can be very helpful to your well-being, but it can be a great help specifically in processing traumatic experiences. Many times it can help you untangle very confused thoughts that are enmeshed with emotions. It can help you gain perspective. Sometimes it helps you uncover more memories that you didn’t even know you have, and somehow it’s a lot like clearing out a blockage so that you can move forward.

Based on experience, I would recommend a few things before you delve in.

Don’t force it. Sometimes you’re just not quite ready to confront your emotions yet. It’s okay. Don’t traumatize yourself in the process of understanding your trauma. Sometimes after a traumatic experience, it’s all you can do to face the challenges of living day to day. Give yourself a break if you can’t do anything beyond that yet.

Write as little as you want at first. Some people think that writing about your trauma is like opening the floodgates. Many times, you don’t end up holed up in a cabin, feverishly writing the days away. More often than not it starts out with just a few lines a day. Testing out the waters, seeing how you feel about it. This is especially true if you don’t really write too much anyway. Even if you love to write, don’t be disappointed with yourself if all you can manage to write are two sentences.

Learn to stop when you need to stop. When you become emotionally overwhelmed, stop and put down the pen. You can push past some walls today, but part of taking care of yourself is knowing that there are walls to be conquered another time.

Be honest. Don’t worry about your grammar, or your prose. Nobody’s going to edit your journal. Just be honest when you write. The first time I wrote about my trauma, the words felt strange coming out of me and onto the blank paper. But then you should be able to write candidly for yourself, right? You should be honest with yourself through your own writing. What have you got to lose, anyway?

Seek counseling. I wouldn’t recommend writing as the only therapy. It’s just something you can do to help yourself. While the benefits can be tremendous, there are simply some kinds of trauma that will necessitate you talking with a counselor.

Re-engage. Writing is a very lonely exercise. It’s just you and your thoughts. It’s good to re-engage or reconnect with people too, when you feel that it’s right to do so. Isolating yourself for too long while recovering can be harmful.

I found it strange that writing about a trauma has helped me think less about it. I find myself not repeating the memory over and over in my mind anymore. It’s like my brain stopped skipping on a broken track and was finally able to engage the memory in a more helpful, less destructive way. It’s like the end of a hostage taking drama that was only happening inside my head.

Just a quick note, though. Not everybody responds to therapeutic writing the same way. It’s not the silver bullet that will make all pain go away. For many people though, like me, it’s been tremendously helpful.

Save the Carrot!!!

There’s a part of me that’s always going to be silly, I suppose. So there will always be a part of me that will want to play Carrot Fantasy even when I’m incredibly busy. Especially when I’m incredibly busy, actually.

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That’s what my last journal entry is about. It’s about saving the carrot. I’m not sure why I love this tower defense game, but maybe it has something to do with how cute the little monsters are, and that the carrot wiggles and giggles when you tap on it. Haha. Anyway…back to my excel sheets and paperwork.

Journal Art Catch-Up

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve been so busy these past few days that I haven’t had time to update my blog. The little free time I have, I just spend with family , reading, writing, and the occasional update in IG or FB. For an introvert, I have a semi-bustling social media life, which sometimes I find strange, but other times I completely understand. While I’m very communicative (even quite chatty) in social media, I’m the exact opposite in person. Maybe it’s just a lot easier for me to communicate that way.

Anyway, even if it’s a seriously busy time at work, I find that it’s during these times when you really need to make a conscious effort to slow down. I find that doing this, breaking the monotony of work, in order to read the Bible, write my thoughts about it and a variety of other things, can spell the difference regarding how stressed out I will be during the day.

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I also realized that doing a little bit of artwork whether it’s as simple as scrawling something on a page with your brush pen or little watercolor paintings in your journal, or using stamps and washi tapes to decorate your page can be so relaxing. Of course, I know many people prefer to just write on their journal instead of decorating it or painting on it. It’s all good. I just personally prefer to have a visual of the little things that happen in my life. Like picking an espresso machine (and justifying it to myself through in an entire page’s worth of journal entry).

IMG_3944Documenting the simple joys has become an exercise in looking for the bright spots of life. I used to be so paranoid about putting only my best drawings in my journal when I was younger, but I realized that life isn’t made up of perfect moments. Sometimes pages get scrunched up, torn in some places, stained with a bit of coffee splashes…in the grand scheme of things, it shouldn’t matter. After all, you don’t live for the perfect moments. So fill up that journal with your drawings, no matter how imperfect you think they are, or how it isn’t at par with what you expect from yourself. I think it would also be pretty cool to see how your style evolves and improves through the years.

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The Velveteen Rabbit, one of my favorite books when I was a kid.

Back in my college years, there was never any color in my journals. I only used black ink and drew little creepy line art to match the perpetually sad poetry I used to write. Now my journals are filled with splashes of colors.

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That weekend I learned how to make Cafe Americano for my husband. 

These little watercolor paintings are so much fun to do. They’re a bit challenging because you need to include just the right amount of details with your brushwork to make it shine. I am also enjoying how great Tomoe River paper is for watercolor paintings (I use a Hobonichi for daily journals and planning, and made an insert for my traveler’s notebook as a supplement). The crinkling of the paper doesn’t bother me one bit.

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Ah. These past weeks, I also discovered the joy that is a Palomino Blackwing pencil. A friend of mine sent it to me as a gift, and I’m going to write a review about it soon. It’s amazing how pencils aren’t all the same.

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So there, these past few weeks have been pretty busy, but there are a lot of great moments too. I’m particularly excited with the range of paper, watercolor, brush pens, pencils, and other art stuff available locally. It’s an exciting time for art and stationery lovers in the Philippines. I can still remember when the options were very limited. Oh, how times are changing. 🙂

Write on!

The Castle

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It’s that time of the year, again. I’m going to try and read Franz Kafka’s The Castle and will give my best effort to finish it. This book and Golding’s Lord of the Flies are two books that really give me the jitters. It’s hard to explain why. Perhaps The Castle triggers my fear of being stuck in a place where people are unthinking and your appeals for reason are swallowed up by the thick cloud of bureaucracy. It’s like that season of American Horror Story about somebody stuck in an asylum. You went in with a perfect exit plan and then you get stuck and nobody listens to you. Then you get stuck for years when you really only intended to stay a few weeks. *shivers*

Anyway, I haven’t used watercolor on my hobo for a while so I thought I’d have a little fun before going to bed today. ^_^

Today’s Art Journal Entry

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I’ve been super busy these past few days with work, I hardly have time to really sit down and write. Today I was feeling under the weather, so I stayed home and rested. I wrote about this plan for a surf ‘n turf cookout with some friends. My friends and I try to go out and catch up regularly, and it’s something we really plan and look forward to. Sometimes we have themes, like Japanese, Pinoy, etc. It’s just something to look forward to. 🙂

 

DotDotDot–Discovering Stippling

It’s my first time to try the stippling technique, although I’ve always been fascinated by it. I was so completely intimidated by it that it took me this long to try it out. I’m glad I did, though. It only goes to show that you really will never know if you are going to enjoy something unless you try it. Of course my first attempt was a fish. I love drawing fish. It’s one of the most relaxing things to do, for me at least. For a first attempt, I’m pretty happy with it, and I’m surprised that I am able to draw different shade better with this technique. I don’t know how else to explain it but that it feels comfortable for me.

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I used the sketchbook insert from Midori for these drawings. I like the texture and the thickness of the pages. For once, I’m not worried about wrinkling the paper when I erase the pencil drawing.

IMG_3607Here is a closer look at how the dots were drawn for the koi’s eye. I’m fascinated by how grouping more dots together makes for a darker shade, and scattering them makes lighter shades. It’s a little painful on the hand, but it’s alright. I guess it’s also good that it forces me to slow down and think about what I’m drawing. It’s a lot of fun, and it’s very relaxing. I did a few more after this one.

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A dragonfly.
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A very chubby, fluffy sparrow (need to work on my proportions, lol)

My second favorite so far (after the koi fish, of course), is this drawing of a Philippine Eagle which I did today, during my break time.

There’s a lot of textures in the beak, so I spent a lot of time on that. I dunno why but it’s so therapeutic just poke-poke-poking on the paper with a pen. Haha. Here’s a photo of the eagle before it was finished.

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Here it is towards the end of my lunch break. I added a few more details on the wings after I took this photo, but I didn’t change it much. I kinda like it the way it is already. 🙂

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Of course, a Superman drawing for my husband. 🙂

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Stippling is lotsa fun! I wish I tried it sooner. 🙂

Midori Traveler’s Notebook First Impressions

Midori Traveler’s Notebook First Impressions

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I’ve been waffling about getting one of these since last year. I wasn’t sure I would like it, even after seeing some people’s TN setup. I honestly thought it was too expensive for a notebook cover, and I didn’t get all the fuss about it. This year, I finally took the plunge, promising myself that I will keep an open mind as I tried it out.

I forgot to take a photo of the packaging, haha. But I do like the way the starter set was packaged. It’s a reusable, recyclable cardboard case which looks really simple but oddly beautiful. I guess that’s part of the appeal of this TN. It looks deceptively simple but every little thing about it is wonderful.

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I prettyfied it a bit by attaching a charm of two leaves on the bookmark. I decided not to put a charm on the band that holds the covers together because I am not sure if it will be intrusive when I lay it flat on the table to write.

The elastic that closes the TN is attached through a hole in the middle of the back flap. You’d think you’d be bothered by the knot that goes in there, but surprisingly, it’s not really noticeable. The elastic that Midori uses for their TN is thin but feels sturdy. I compared it with some of the elastics that I found in bookstores and they’re much better. Those I found in bookstores weren’t rigid enough, and they were too thick.

I like the quality of the leather a lot. It holds its shape and feels firm but supple. It will age really well, I think. Smells wonderful too. 🙂

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The placement of the knot where the elastic pokes through, plus the stiffness of the leather, makes sure that the spine of the TN isn’t wrinkled up as it holds the inserts.

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Here’s what the bottom looks like. There’s no wrinkling on the leather at all. The leather looks like it will age really well, and take all the abuse and beating of being lugged around everywhere. I know you can fit more than 3 inserts, I watched some TN hacks on YouTube, but I think three is a good enough number for me. The inserts are pretty thick, and I suppose they would get thicker as I fill up the notebook with journal entries and photos. This is chunky enough for me. I’m waiting for the Tomoe River paper insert to be restocked at Pengrafik soon so I can replace the notebooks with the thinner Tomoe River refills. More on that shortly.

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The first thing you’ll see when you open my TN is a plastic card carrier, which I used to carry my favorite instax photos around. Six slots for both flaps mean I can carry 12 photos.

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The fly leaf of all TN inserts have this box where you can write a summary of what your notebook is about. Or, in my case, I wrote my favorite verse.

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The paper itself is good. I think I’m just too used to the Tomoe River paper to enjoy it that much. It shows of the shading and sheen, though the coating sometimes makes it hard for the ink to spread on the paper. I find the pages too thick but then again, I’m used to Tomoe River paper. There’s no bleed through or feathering, though. So that’s great.

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I’m pretty disappointed that it doesn’t take watercolor well. The paper just absorbs the water too fast, so I cannot work with wet washes at all. I cannot layer the colors. The paper is only suitable for pen and ink sketches.

IMG_3569 A good alternative would be the sketchbook insert, which is made of thicker paper. It’s still too absorbent for wet washes but at least it can hold up to simple watercolor paintings.

It’s a bummer since I can’t integrate watercolor paintings in my journal entries, but it’s nice to have a separate insert just for drawings and paintings. I like that it has perforated sheets, too.

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Here’s a stippling of a koi fish that I drew last night. On a side note, I did not know that stippling was so much fun! A closer look at my little fishy…

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The paper feels so nice for pen and ink drawings. It does add more chunk to the already chunky setup, though. Still, I like it and I decided I’ll continue to fill it up with pen and ink drawings. I think I’ll wait for the Tomoe River inserts for my watercolor paintings (which I prefer to integrate with my journal entries, anyway).

I also bought a locally-made fauxdori from a local leather artisan. I like it too, because it has a different feel to it. I’ll probably write about that in a separate blog entry and compare it with a Midori Traveler’s Notebook. Overall, I think the Midori TN is worth the price. I’m still learning how to maximize it, but I like my simple setup well enough. The size is comfortable, the leather cover is just gorgeous, and the simple details about it make it such a beautiful notebook cover. I’m happy I tried it out, looks like I’ll be spending a lot of time with it. 🙂

Yummy, Yummy Paper

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I love these Tomoe River journals. It’s part of the reason why I’m so excited about using my Hobonichi Cousin this coming year. It will double as my planner and art journal.

What I love most about this paper is that it’s delicate looking (what with all that subtle show through) but it’s tougher than it looks. It actually looks like tracing paper, and you can slip in a lined pad underneath so that you can write straight lines on the blank pages. I like that even when I include simple watercolor paintings on it, the journal entry I wrote on the back of the page doesn’t get smudged. You can even make watercolor paintings on either side of the page and both paintings will hold up really well.

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Sometimes I put layers of washes on it and rub my brushes vigorously on the paper and it just takes it. It’s even better than some of the watercolor papers that I tried. It’s a great paper for including art in your journal entries. I also read somewhere that the properties of the paper will make sure that the colors of your paintings don’t change over the years. I’m really hoping that’s right.

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Note to self…my detail brushes need to be replaced. They’re already beginning to fan out. These tiny brushes are super cool to use on small paintings. 🙂

(Curnow A5 Tomoe River Journals are available at Pengrafik.com)

Year 6

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Yesterday’s journal entry was in memory of the victims of the Ampatuan Massacre. Year 6, 99 arrests made out of almost 200 suspects, 3 witnesses killed, zero convictions. 🙁

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I’ve been drawing things with the oblique holder I got from The Curious Artisan and I must say, it’s really enjoyable to use for line art. I’m still trying to get a hang of it, but I love how varied the line widths can be and I like using Sumi ink. It’s a vibrant kind of black. Not waterproof, though.

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