I’m finding it an interesting journal to work in, for sure. The paper is hand-made so it has a very interesting texture to it. Almost like old U.S. paper currency. It is very cloth-like in feel, too.
The ink from my pen flows onto the page differently, as well. It almost feels like I’m writing on a sponge.
The cover of this journal also creates interesting challenges to work around. It is hand-tooled leather that has been bent and stiffened to create not only the spine but the closure flap.
It is not hinged in any way. And that means the closure flap continually wants to flop over the top of the book when it’s open. I find I have to tuck the flap under several layers of pages to keep it from getting in my way.
This is doable for now since the book is thick and thus the flap gets buried really well and doesn’t cause an odd drawing / writing surface for now. But when I start getting to the end of the book it may be a different story. I’ll have to find another way to keep the flap out of the way.
That is a long ways off from now, however. I think I counted that the book had around 240 pages in it. And I’m maybe finishing a drawing a week – if even that fast. So I won’t be officially done with this journal for a long, long time!
This particular layout is inspired in part by what I’ve been reading in The Master Key System. I’ve been reading it and doing the exercises now for about five weeks, and I’m really enjoying it.
One theme keeps popping up in what I’ve been reading thus far, and it can be very simply summed up as “use it or lose it.”
A couple of examples were given for this such as if an athlete wants more strength, the athlete must use the strength he or she has. If a financier wants more money, he or she must use the money they have.
I put that concept to art and creativity. If I want to be more creative I need to make use of the creativity I have.
If I sit on it and do nothing then I’ll get nothing.
To take this a step further, I feel I need to work when I have inspired thought. If you’re a fellow creative, you know what I mean when I say we seem to have urges throughout our whole day every day to do something creative. It’s that hungry, creative beast I’ve mentioned in the past.
And the beast must be fed. What happens when you don’t feed something? It withers and dies.
Creativity needs to be fed by doing creative things. And the more you feed it the stronger it gets.
This leather journal I am working in is a tool to help me stay creative every day. I pick it up and do gradual work on a new drawing every day. Even if I only get to spend 10 minutes working in it, it still does amazing things for me.
It is important I have this since I am working two jobs now and have other various service and social commitments through the week. I rarely have time on weeknights to spend working on layouts in my art journal, which involve a lot of preparation, drying times, and clean up.
This leather journal along with my travel Moleskine are important tools to feed the creative beast between times I have available to art journal (or bind books). It provides it little snacks between the main meals and keeps it sharp and thriving.
If you’re having a tough time getting creative, or keeping up creative momentum with a busy lifestyle, here are a few things I’d suggest you try:
- Have a small sketchbook and pen or pencil on hand at all times.
- When the creative urge hits, use it at the first available opportunity that same day. Yes, sometimes this means waiting for your lunch break, or when you can sneak a moment away. If anything do it just before your head hits the pillow. But do something creative that same day the urge hits.
- Start a habit of doing something creative every single day. Even if you only spend 10 minutes working on a huge piece of work. Do it.
- Remember the mantra, Use it or lose it.
- When time permits, make sure you work on something “big”. Meaning do something where it requires more than just your daily 10 minutes. This allows you to focus and really practice your techniques and skills to their full extent.
- Most important is remember you’re not doing this art to meet anyone’s approval but your own, and even then it still may not be your idea of perfect. This is you practicing your art, so expect mistakes. It’s all good because you’re getting better at it every day.
Happy creating everyone!