Life in an Art Journal – Dylusions Creative Journal Flip-Through

An art journal page spread from Peony and Parakeet. Dylusions Creative Journal. See the flip-through video!

Don’t miss a flip-through video in the end of this blog post!

Four years ago, I purchased a new art journal – a big one. It was Dylusions Creative Journal, the largest size. In the beginning, I wanted to do everything “right.” I wanted my journal to have pages that are well-thought and carefully executed. The first couple of spreads went ok, but then, ugly pages started to appear. They were pages that I had just started but got tired on the way. Or pages which began so ugly that I didn’t feel like finishing them. But the longer I used my journal, the more I realized that I could have fun with those ugly pages. I could add more simple motifs and then color them all. I could add black paint and leave only some of the background visible. I could add more ugliness, and once it hit the saturation point, it became – something else.

Self portrait by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. Sign up for her class Inspirational Drawing 2.0!

I am interested in learning all kinds of visual styles. Art journaling has supported it. One day I played a fashion designer and made a quick line illustration with poodles and all. It didn’t look inspiring back then, but a long time later, I had a lot of fun coloring it.

An art journal page spread from Peony and Parakeet. Made in Dylusions Creative Journal. See the flip-through video!

That’s what I love with art journals. The pages don’t get lost, and the ideas don’t get forgotten. Sometimes the ideas are abstract and timeless …

An art journal page from Peony and Parakeet. Made in Dylusions Creative Journal. See the flip-through video!

… and sometimes they are illustrations about what’s happening around the world.

An art journal page from Peony and Parakeet. Made in Dylusions Creative Journal. See the flip-through video!

Filling the pages in a random order adds its flavor to the journal. A grid-like paper patchwork felt innovative once, but not anymore. It feels pretty stiff, especially when there are freely doodled elements on the opposite page.

An art journal page spread from Peony and Parakeet. Dylusions Creative Journal. See the flip-through video!

But I don’t want to rip off the pages that don’t seem to fit. I accept them all. They are all explorations on the land of Art and Imagination. Sometimes I didn’t get very far, but I believe that all the trips benefited each other. I also believe that when painting on canvases, I feel more confident because I have played freely in my art journals.

Dylusions Creative Journal – Watch the Flip-Through Video!

See all the pages of my large Dylusions Creative Journal!

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Moleskine Sketchbook – Another Full Art Journal!

Rococo inspired page on a Moleskine Sketchbook, by Peony and Parakeet.

I just finished my red Moleskine Sketchbook. It always feels like an accomplishment when an art journal gets full.  So I’m happy to show a couple of photos and a flip-through video of all the pages!

Moleskine Sketchbook as an Art Journal

Moleskine Sketchbooks are one of my favorite books for art journaling. The paper is sturdy, and it can be used with a variety of supplies. I use mostly watercolors, acrylic paints, colored pencils and PITT artist pens. But I also use inks, gel pens, hand-decorated papers for collages, etc. The small size is handy for quick pages and easy to put in a bag. However, sometimes the size is a little bit too small, especially for acrylic paintings. So I also use other journals, especially large Dylusions Creative Journals. The paper is very smooth, so it’s not ideal for watercolors. But I don’t mind that too much, I use a little less water to make watercolors work with the paper. Some prefer coarser paper for colored pencils but I love how effortless it is to color the pages in Moleskine Sketchbook.

1960s inspired page on a Moleskine Sketchbook, by Peony and Parakeet.

The Purpose of an Art Journal

For me, art journals are little more than just sketchbooks. I like to call them “idea books” as I often process my ideas further when I am working on the page. I don’t always make one page on the same go, but work with it several times, adding more ideas as the page progresses. However, I have quite low expectations on how my pages will look. They are not pieces of art but more like collections of ideas to me.

As you can see from the flip-through video, my ideas are often connected to art history and different styles. The first photo of this blog post shows a spread inspired by Rococo. The second photo shows a spread that I made after browsing designs from the 1960s. Even if I sometimes write short stories or make notes about my current thoughts, I mostly write about beautiful things that I have seen and visualize the ideas I have gotten from it.

My art journals are not chronological diaries but random visual notes that I process to full images. I can make a quick sketch of a rose one day and then continue the page with painting on the other day. When I am working with a new art class, I use art journals to record my visual ideas and practice the techniques. I also see creating art journal pages a route to bigger paintings. When I paint on canvas, I use the ideas that I have come up with when making the pages. Every artist should also be an art journaler!

Flip-Through Video

Create Step by Step!

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Video: Full Art Journal Flip Through!

Peony and Parakeet's full art journal. See the art journal flip through video!

There are two special moments in art journaler’s life: starting a new art journal and finishing one. As the latter is much rarer, I am happy to announce that I have just finished this journal! I truly feels a small victory!

From Decorative to Expressive

A spread in Peony and Parakeet's full art journal. See the art journal flip through video!

I purchased this Smash book in 2014 and intended to make it fashion and textile oriented. It has a lot of those, but also other stuff like little paintings, few cards that I have wanted to save and some collages that include photos. When I started this journal, I was very much into decorative style and the book has a lot of hand-decorated papers in it. Now, when I look back, I no longer see decorations as a self-purpose but a channel to move forward. Once I have got my imagination going, I have been able to move to creating more expressive art.

A spread in Peony and Parakeet's full art journal. See the art journal flip through video!

Art Journal Flip Through

Many pages of this art journal are a bit clumsy but I still wanted to celebrate the finished journal. I also think that this kind of “collage book” contains quite a lot of ideas that you can use in your art journal too.  So I created a flip-through video for you to watch. Hopefully it will inspire you to art journal every week, even if it’s just one little circle on the corner of a page.

Go deeper into art journaling …

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Imagine Monthly Fall 2016, an art journaling master class by Peony and Parakeet

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Art Journal Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect

Every time I buy a new blank sketchbook, I get the feeling that I should not make a mess on it. But then, my art journals are meant for maintaining artistic inspiration, and messy making is part of that too. I often create pages in many phases and my art journals are never perfect in a way that they would have high-quality art all over. But I think that the imperfections make the books more approachable and more inspiring.

On this video, I show pages of my two Moleskine sketchbooks. If you are new to art journaling or would like to introduce this wonderful hobby to your friend or relative, share the video!

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Finished Art Journal

In 2012 I bought a pink Smash book. Two years later, it’s now finished. With this video, I want to encourage you to continue art journaling. Whatever a single page looks like, it will be pretty and meaningful when being part of the full book.

Finished Art Journal – A Thick Book!

A Smash Book, a finished art journal by Peony and Parakeet.

I love handling full books, the thick, filled pages just temp to open them again and again! Smash books have a lot of pages and I had to remove several of them when my book grew thicker page by page.

House plant, a paper collage by Peony and ParakeetSee the blog posts written during the years about this finished art journal:

Pretty Art Journaling
the first pages and introducing the concept of the journal

There’s a Little Girl in All of Us
drawing faces

Smash Book or Handmade Journal
using Smash book as an art journal

Homemade Happiness
creating more pages

Art Journaling about Imagination
a spread celebrating imagination

Would You Try That
playing jewellery designer

You may also recognize some artwork on the video that has been shown in this blog. I often use art journals to save them.

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Here’s the back cover again which I finished on the video. I create decorated elements (like the centerpiece of the flower) now and then. They are stored with hand decorated papers and when I create collages they often work as jump starts. It always looks better if there all the elements are not made in the same day! The same is with the journal itself – keep on decorating, day by day, one piece at the time!

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