Visual Chronicles and Fast Art Journaling

In the newsletter sent 5th November, I mistakenly sent a wrong link, here’s the link to the latest video

An art Journal page spread by Peony and Parakeet

In Finland, the weather got colder last week and I got a terrible flu. It is so frustrating to be able to do nothing but sleep. Being healthy feels so important then!

If there’s anything positive in lying down and doing nothing, it’s the creative break. It is weird how much processing time some things require. In 2006, I saw a new book in Amazon.com. It was called Visual Chronicles. It was nothing like I had seen before and I felt strangely drawn to it. I was mesmerized by the concept of creating relaxed pages combining text, paint, simple illustrations and photos. Art journaling was a new word in my vocabulary.

Visual Chronicles, an art journaling book by Linda Woods and Karen Dining

I took the book everywhere. While reading it, I tried to understand what it is actually about. I picked a blank book and tried to fill its pages. It was so disappointing to see how horrible my pages looked and furthermore, I did not have good time when I created them. I browsed the book over and over again. I could not get it!

But I did not give up. During the time I bought more books and made more experiments. I also noticed that there seemed to be other people doing the same thing. I took some online courses and finally… My first art journal was finished in 2010! (See the journal and my first blog post about art journaling)

Four years of agony! And now when I read Visual Chronicles, everything that I had learned stands there so clearly! However, there was still one thing that had been bothering me from 2006. The pages in the book are very simple and still I find most of them visually appealing. But if I tried to do the same, the end result was nothing alike.

After sleeping two full nights and the day between, I finally figured it out! It is the stamped journaling that makes the pages stand out in the book! I had never tried to stamp the words as I have always hated handling the alphabet stamps. But I do own two sets and had many pages waiting for journaling!

Using alphabet stamps in art journaling

Now I am hooked!

My mind is like a paradise, an art Journal page spread by Peony and Parakeet

“Sometimes my mind is like a paradise”

My life, an art Journal page spread by Peony and Parakeet

“My life, my problems”

Small changes, an art Journal page spread by Peony and Parakeet

“Small changes, big impact”

Swim like a bird, an art Journal page spread by Peony and Parakeet

“Swim like a bird”

Visual Chronicles by Linda Woods and Karen Dinino is still one of my favorite art journaling books. It does not take art journaling too seriously. Linda and Karen also have a blog which is written with the same humorous attitude. “If you are alive you have succeeded” is one of their recent advices. While still recovering, it feels very relevant at the moment!

Tips for fast art journal pages:
1) Divide the making of the page into three phases: a) doodling with a black pen b) coloring the doodles c) adding the text
2) Use colored pencils for easy coloring. A Moleskine Notebook and the colored pencils work really well together.
3) Add the text by grouping stamped words with the doodles. Use big and small stamps to create contrasts.
4) Let your personal history of art journaling get recorded into your journals! If I could turn back time, I would not toss those first pages.
5) Buy the book: Visual Chronicles

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10 Responses to Visual Chronicles and Fast Art Journaling

  1. Lynda says:

    I bought that book years ago too! Thanks for the review and now I need to dig it out of the book shelf! Love your pages.

    • Päivi says:

      Lynda, thanks! Great to hear that you have the book too! That means that you must have loved art journaling at least as long as I have! I think the book really captures the essence of art journaling. Have fun browsing the book and creating new pages!

  2. Kimberly Norman says:

    I recently found your work through pinterest. I love the colors, and the freedom in your work. You have helped my attempts at this form of art. I really enjoyed the tutorial on making paper for collages. This was helpful also. I’m new to paper/mixed media, I painted in acrylics for 45 years, it was time to do something new! Thank you for sharing.

    • Päivi says:

      Thank you, Kimberly! It’s not a long way to go from acrylics to mixed media! A painting and a collage can often share very similar concepts. But I think that art journaling is a bit different, that’s why I wanted to review this book, I love the way it explains art journaling without going too deep into making fine art or to the other end: scrapbooking!

  3. Ruthie Stonehouse says:

    I am so blessed to have found you on Pinterest two months ago and look forward to your new emails every week. You give me lots of new things to think about. Hope you are feeling better now.

    • Päivi says:

      Thank you, Ruthie! I love writing the weekly emails and it’s great to hear that you like them! And yes, now feeling a bit better! Have fun creating!

  4. Judy M says:

    I also have the book you mentioned, but thought it was too simple. Funny how we try to make something harder rather than just loving the simple steps to begin art journaling.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and tips.

    • Päivi says:

      Judy, thank you! What I love with the book is that you can create as complex pages as you want with the advice! But yes, for me it took too many years to figure out using alphabet stamps!

  5. Mary says:

    What a coincidence to come across this post today! I just checked Visual Chronicles out at the library. Interestingly, I had checked it out before but returned it before I really dove into it. You’ve inspired me to work with it, especially as I am quite new to art journaling and art in general really.

  6. saundra weed says:

    you are both mentally and visually stimulating with your art work and comments inspiring all of us to experiment with new ideas and materials