Friday, December 26, 2014

New year, new ideas...

I have been horribly neglecting my blog.
I have my excuses, but the truth is that if I want, I'll find the time etc., if I don't, I'll find excuses.

Enough about that.

I found several courses for this year that sound amazing, but - alas - I don't have the money. Yet.
And they say the best way to learn is to teach, so in stead of indulging myself in courses and learning and growing and all that, I'm going to indulge myself in all the free resources I can find online, and share them with you.

One thing I have learned is that I shouldn't promise anything.
I wanted to say "I commit myself to post every day of this year - 365 blog posts"
Then I thought about it and realized that so far I have managed to write blog posts once a day for a month. That's it. So 12 months, cold turkey, isn't realistic. It would be nice, but it isn't realistic.
So - what about once a week? 52 blog posts... I should be able to do that. It's just a little less than twice the posts in a month.
But - I won't promise anything, and I won't commit, because I don't know how to do that, so I'll do my best, try and see what happens.

So, enough about that as well :-D

I am going to make an effort to grab myself on the skin of my neck (I wonder if that's a Finnish idiom that doesn't work in any other language...) and make myself create something every day.
Yes, every day. Every day is a possibility to create, and even when I'm sick and tired, I can create.

So, this year, I'm going to focus on me and create a sort of Self Searching Journal, healing, creating, some expressive art journaling, learning to know me better and becoming more ME. Fully egocentric, egoistic, egotistic and all things EGO. I love Ego. Frankly, I believe we have been born to be an Ego as fully as we can. That's why we all have our own skins, personality, preferences etc. etc., we have our own friends, kinsfolk and tribe, we have our own dreams and wishes - we have all our own lives. If we were supposed to stop being ourselves, stop being Egos, we wouldn't be separate. We would still be part of the Great Whole without any separation. We do have the separation, and I cannot believe anything God given is bad.
But I have been brainwashed as the rest of the humanity, to believe that focusing on oneself, one's self, is egocentric, egoistic, selfish, very, very bad. Of course, a highly spiritual person may not even think anything is "bad". :-D The truth is that even people speaking themselves blue about ego and how to get rid of it, don't really know what they are talking about.

Nevertheless, I'm going to have a Year of Me, and I'm inviting you all to join me. Everything I do I share freely on this blog so that you can do the same.
And as I already said, the road I'm going to take is through an art journal.

An art journal is a visual journal or diary or log book about your days.

The least you need is some sort of paper (or cardboard or canvas or what ever it is you like to put your painting on)
and something to make a mark on that paper. Pencil, markers, paints, crayons, glue and magazine pages, what ever you like.

But - there's a big list, too... if you want to make sure you have it all ;-)

There are hundreds of different paper sorts, paperboard, cardboard etc. etc. ALL OF IT can be used in art journaling.
Don't forget:
tissue paper (silk paper)
glassine (pergamyn in German, rather popular hobby paper there, but they have this st.Marten's tradition of making paper lanterns, so... anyway, Finland was closer to Germany than USA when I was growing up, and had these hobbypacks with tissue paper in lots of colors, metal foil paper in lots of colors and this glassine paper in many colors... I loved it, and I think it's a pity that's no longer available, as everyone is "scrapbooking" in the US style products - it's all the same, and very boring. :-( - So I'm going to go to Germany to buy some paper.)
cellophan and the different foils, metal and plastic, like overhead film
Crepe paper, scrapbooking paper, magazines and newspapers, all the different commercial papers like butcher paper; household papers like pergament and wax paper; squared and lined papers, graph paper, ledger paper, wrapping paper, napkins (all layers are good, not just the printed layer), all the possible envelopes and file folders etc. etc.
Also, don't forget the tracing paper! I loved that stuff when I was little :-)

Pens, pencils, markers, crayons, pastels... anything like that, from the kids versions to high artistic quality stuff. Experiment, and choose what you like best. If you only can afford one, get a black one. Or one in your favorite color.

Most art journalists love the watersoluble crayons, colored pencils and markers.

Dry pastels are different from oil pastels, but which ever you choose, go for quality. Cheap pastels are totally different from the pricy ones, and if you have ever used the pricy ones, you won't ever be happy with cheap kids' crayons. The pricy ones are soft, have a lot of pigment and very little cheap fillers, so they will leave a good mark on paper without much job, and they will be easy to use, a pleasure to use.

The colored pencils are their own art form, and there's an ocean of information about them. But I don't like using them on art journals, because they are very special. I would recommend something like pastels in pencil form, inktense pencils, colored graphite/charcoal pencils that are water soluble. Those are as far as I know most usable in art journaling. See that you have a white colored pencil, of a very good quality, because that will be very useful for highlights etc.

One should have a good journaling pen, and some colored markers for detailing, etc. Most markers are translucent, but there are some opaque variations too, like acrylic markers and poster-paint and water-based paint markers.
Also, there's a world of variation when it comes to markers. So - experiment, test, find what you like.
I would like to say that even though Copics are amazing, they are a bit too expensive for people who just like to play with their colors and materials... Of course, if you have the money, you can buy the copics, as they are refillable and even the tips can be changed, and the color variation is unbelievable, and they are lovely to use, but if you would prefer to use your money to something else, you can get yourself something a bit cheaper, like Promarker Letraset - there's plenty of colors there, too, and they are nice to use.
I think one must is a white marker or white gel pen, what ever that's called.

It is a good idea to get a box of drawing pencils, graphite pencils, chalks, charcoal, charcoal pencil with a thick, watersoluble charcoal etc. etc. There's so much out there!

Like this Koh-i-Noor Giogonda artist set 
with a graphite stick, charcoal pencil, white and red chalk pencils, 
black and dark sepia (charcoal? chalk?) and black and sienna soft pastels 
with kneadable eraser and paper stump.

Then there are the paints; acrylic, watercolor, gouache, finger paint, poster paint, different inks and printing colors... oh, go wild! And there's a constant flow of new colors to the market, like stressing inks and shimmer mists and whatnots... the world is your oyster there :-)
But - as everything costs... get a couple of testing colors of those mediums you are interested in, in your favorite color(s). Then, at least, if you find out you don't like the medium, at least you like the color and it's not wasted ;-)

Have also good paint brushes for application.
A lot of people love the fillable paint brushes, those with water tank. (Water brush, aqua brush...)
I also recommend having a couple foam brushes, a bunch of cotton tops - or the makeup application tools, which are basically just different paint brushes and sponges :-)

Glitter, glimmer, shine, sparkle, metal wax, mica, there's a lot of ways to add some of this to your page. Don't forget eye shadows. Those things can be used as pastel chalks or glimmer powder as they are, or mixed with some adhesive.

basically, anything designed to dye, stain, color paper, wood or fabric can be used on paper.
Experiment with some things that are not...

Also, there's a British brand of materials that produce things that are not known outside Britain - but these can usually be found in online shops... so go visit foreign shops. ;-)

There are different glues and stuff like that. 

Which ever you use, remember to use a cheap paint brush that can be destroyed and thrown away without much bother. (Not too cheap, or you'll end up picking hairs from your work). But don't use your best artist quality paint brushes for glue and gesso! Or masking fluid.

Most art journalists swear in the name of matte gel medium for acrylics. It's apparently "dry", so it won't warp the paper, so you can glue anything with it, and it apparently keeps anything in place when it has dried. So - sounds really good.
It's good to have a glue stick, too, and I like the rubber glue.
I also think it might be a good idea to get a glue spray, with not a lot of hold, to use when you are to print on tissue paper or napkins. (Yes, you can.)
Also, white glue or milk glue is good to have, for all these recipes :-D
"mod podge" or some other decoupage paste/varnish
Packing tape is quite useful
masking tape
a lot of art journalists love washi tape. I haven't found any, so I don't know what it is and how it works and whether I like it or not... it doesn't sound like something I'd be very fond of, but you might like it. It can be used as fastener of your extra papers or photos; as ribbon to decorate the page; to add texture; etc. etc.
Some like staples. I don't. Some like brads. There's apparently a lot of embellishments like this made for scrapbooking, and of course you should go and see what they have, and perhaps you find something absolutely adorable and so you, that you just have to have and use on your pages. I'm a bit minimalist when it comes to embellishments. I like to make the impact with colors and patterns and composition rather than decor and accessories.

gesso. There's white, black and transparent. All of them have their use.

Clear nail polish. Nail polish is sort of polymer resin and can easily be used on paper, as glue, as shiny varnish, to add a bit polish to details etc.

Some sort of rags to quick clean up when mess happens, or to gather excess liquids etc. One can use kitchen paper, but old, clean rags, like flannel or old cotton t-shirts, or old cotton sheets, are equally useful, and reusable :-D Just make sure they don't lint. That's why "old". Used and washed many times, and natural material. It must be cotton or linen or some other plant fiber.

stickers are part of this scrapbook-y embellishment list in my mind. I'm really bad at using them.

transfer, rub-ons and other
there's a whole world here, too, about how to make them, how to use them etc. etc.


You can even use the decorative scissors for different things, like making combs to add texture, or to make masks

the classics, ruler, eraser, pencil sharpener

some sort of heating/drying tool, like hair dryer or embossing heat tool.

baby powder or very very fine sand or other such dust. Some things won't dry unsticky. They need some sort of powder to bind the stickiness. Like in the olden times they powdered the letters to get the ink dry... that was very fine sand.

rubber stamps and ink pads

one thing that's very useful, is alphabet sets. Stamps, transfers, stickers, stencils, all go.

stencils and masks
masking fluid, masking tape - learn to use these

some sort of palette, to mix the paints, cups, bowls, plates, jars, bottles... apparently small spritzer bottles are really useful.

palette knife (knives)
plastic cards (like credit cards or hotel keys or gift cards) to be used to mix and spread the paint or gesso or what ever, in stead of a palette knife. Sometimes a plastic card is better ;-)

"journaling bits, embellishments, ephemera"
playing cards, collectible card game cards, tarot cards, oracle cards, old game pieces, post cards, old greeting cards, stamps, bubblegum cards, advertisement ephemera, photos, old tickets etc, paper dolls, paper ribbon, string, yarn, ribbons, tapes, bands, buttons, gems, artificial flowers, visit cards, leaflets, booklets, coasters, book pages, prints, note cards, notepad paper, flash cards, vintage lotto cards, tags, recipes, receipts, patterns, dictionary pages, lexicon pages, other book pages, children's picture books, scraps, envelopes, catalogs, calendars, almanacs, paper doilies, music sheets, maps...

doilies and lace - paper or thread, doesn't matter.

embossing paste, embossing powder and adhesive, modeling paste...
One thing I have been really happy about has been my embossing tool. It's a little metal tool with changeable heads, like a small ball, bigger ball, cup, edge, etc. for embossing paper or metal foil. I love it! But I have always loved embossed paper... my favorite scraps were the embossed ones. And those with glitter, of course, those were the finest :-D

mesh tape from hardware store; made to cover the seams in walls. That's great to add texture, and other things.

I really, really want a circle punch (and hole punch). All these fancy-schmancy cutters etc. are not necessary and in my mind 100% waste of money, but if you have the money - or someone throws these machines at you - go ahead. They have their use, too, and are fun.

Paper cutter. Really nice.

One important thing you are going to need is photos of you in different ages. If you have nothing else but current photos, then that will have to do, but you must get photos of you. Go to a photo booth if you don't know anyone with a camera.

I'm sure there's more, but we'll discover that on the journey :-)

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