I’ve recently bought a new Bible specifically to journal in – actually I’ve purchased two (NIV & NLT). There are probably some people who think that drawing in a Bible is sacrilegious, but I see it as creative worship, and an extension of my sermon sketchnotes. As a pastime, it seems to have become very popular and perhaps a spin off from the adult colouring trend. Some journaling bibles even have illustrations waiting to be coloured. I christened my new NLT bible this evening:
I’ve been asked to review this book by the publishers, Design Originals, and have been provided with a preview copy. Other than that, this review is independent and I haven’t been paid for it.
Florabunda Style is billed as the next generation of zentangle, and the author should know, as she has written more than 200 craft and hobby books including the popular Zentangle series. With the rapid rise in popularity of colouring books for adults, this book seems ideal for those that are looking to create their own illustrations to colour and benefit from the relaxation that that affords.
The FloraBunda aesthetic is based on simple nature inspired doodles. The book is printed on high quality artist paper, and readers are actively encouraged to draw in the book with plenty of white space to practice in around the examples. The paper is of a sufficient quality to decorate with markers, pens, coloured pencils, watercolours and more. As well as providing more than 200 different designs the book also includes a selection of craft projects with step-by-step instructions. The reader is actively encouraged to experiment, have some fun, be eclectic, be whimsical and above all have some fun.
The book opens with a chapter on the various tools that you can use to draw the elements as well as colour them in. The following chapters follow a similar pattern, opening with a preview of all the designs, step-by-step instructions to draw them and examples of finished artwork by other zentangling experts. There’s a basic guide to plant anatomy, and every element of a typical plant is included, including stems, vines, tendrils, flowers and seed heads. There are tips and tricks scattered throughout the text, as well as snippets of encouragement to develop your own style and creativity. The book finishes with both a visual and written index of all the designs and projects. The author has a chatty style of writing, and even if you don’t dare draw in it, the book is well worth the read in it’s own right.
In the first of what I hope to be regular book reviews, I’d like to offer my thoughts on:
Art Journal Kickstarter: Pages and Prompts to Energize Your Art Journals (2015)
Kristy Conlin (ed.). North Light Books. 144pp.
First off, it’s good to find a book on art journaling that doesn’t regurgitate the various way of working with mixed media in a book. This one is illustrated with ‘back-to-back journal pages’, each accompanied with a Q&A summary with the artist. The questions tend to follow a pro forma – what was your inspiration; which mixed media artists inspire you; what interesting or unique techniques did you apply to this work. Alongside these ‘interviews’ are quotes and sayings that are more than suitable to include in your own work, or to stimulate creative juices. There are also some gems, suggesting the artist was less than impressed with the interview questions – such as describing art journaling as their ‘yoga mat’.
There are 99 contributing artists, resulting in a true variety of styles, subjects and techniques. Just about every mixed media technique is covered, including watercolour, collage, image transfer, acrylics, stamping and inks. It’s also nice to see carefully assembled pages alongside cathartic explosions of emotion, exploring the range of uses of an art journal from experimenting with materials through diarising one’s day to illustrated quotes and expressions. There are also various sizes and types of journal leaving the reader no excuse when trying to find a suitable book to work in.
The illustrations are in rich colour (as they need to be) and aren’t annoyingly cropped to fit the page. This does result in loss of detail on some of the larger spreads, but this doesn’t detract from the overall impact of the featured journal page. Each image is also accompanied by a short summary of materials used, which is often enough to work out the techniques used if this isn’t included in the Q&A section.
If one were to follow up all the artists who have inspired, many months could be lost online – and would be a great way of using the book as a further reference for art journaling inspiration. The advice to other art journal makers are pretty much of a muchness: it’s your book, your own artistic expression, and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise, including yourself. This in turn does lead to the implied rule: don’t compare your own pages to those featured in the book – that’s not what it’s for!
One other thing I noted – certainly less than 10%, and may be even just 5% of the featured artists are male based on the names. Is this because few men journal, or are less likely to submit work for publication, or some other reason? I’d love to follow one piece of advice given, which was to form a group to journal with – so if you’re a male art journaler, please get in touch!
Am I glad I bought it:
Who’s it for:
Someone already used to working in mixed media, looking for inspiration.
Estimated time spent reading:
Three to four hours – a fascinating insight into the artists, as well as the art.
Overall rating: 5/5