Friday, January 13, 2006

illustrated journaling


Last night, while on the phone, Sarah and I somehow got on the topic of my illustrated journal and how she wishes she could make one.

She then said she couldn't draw.

What's interesting is that I thought the exact same thing back when I stumbled upon Moleskinerie, a fan-blog for Moleskine notebooks. From there, I found myself exploring more and more websites and picked up a few book recommendations.

There's something amazing about keeping an illustrated journal. It allows you to look at the world differently and to explore a side of you that rarely comes out.

I've always classified myself as a writer -- my friends could draw, I could write. I never tried to draw because whenever I did, my drawings came out "bad" or "wrong" when compared to my friends'.

But when I read these books on creativity, I realized it doesn't matter if my drawings are good or bad, just that I draw them. And amazingly enough, when I look back through the last month of entries, my drawing skills have improved! Now I have paints spread out all over my desk and tons of markers and brushes and scraps of paper to glue into my notebook.

I encourage all of you to try it. Just draw something, anything, every day for a week. Don't write journal entries about what you've done, or about depressing feelings, but about what you're experiencing at the moment. In the now.

Here are a few book and blog recommendations to get you started:

The Creative License - Danny Gregory
This book really changed my life. Danny Gregory touches on all the apprehensions and reservations you might have and gets you past them. He has a weblog he updates regularly.

If You Want to Write - Brenda Ueland
This book is for ANYONE who writes or wants to. It's more a general book about creativity and spirit, and it REALLY gets you to let go and get out that writing I know a lot of you have inside.

How to Make a Journal of Your Life - D. Price
D. Price is a man who has actually made a living off his creative impulses, and gives you examples of how he started journaling and gives you ideas to get you started.

Wish Jar Journal
Keri Smith is an illustrator and all-around creative spirit. She finds creativity and excitement in the simplest things. Check out her list of 100 things to do when you're bored. I also recommend her book.

Ninth Wave Designs
This blog is awesome. Lisa Laughy has the most diverse interests I've ever seen and an amazing artistic talent to boot. She's inspired me so much with her posts.

I hope you give it a try! *grin*

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Anatomy of Type

Anatomy of Type

My father started working in the printing business right out of high school, going to work for a press on the north side of Chicago. Since then, he's worked his way up, but still has those roots. Still works in a place where large presses shoot out hundreds of copies.

Which is amazing, if you remember that sequence in Newsies when they had to spend all night placing the letters by hand in a tray, then pumping the machine manually to make their newspaper.

I guess you can say I have printing in my blood. So when Borders put out a coupon a few months ago, I seized the opportunity to pick up Type: The Secret History of Letters by Simon Loxley. I'd been spying looks at it every time I wandered over to the Dover Art Books, marveling at all the history contained within its pages.

Type is often ignored. Until a few years ago, I didn't understand what serif and sans-serif fonts were (serifs are the little "feet" and such on letters, such as on New Times Roman) when adding new ones to my computer. I just saw the pretty designs of those I'd picked up from free font sites to use on fanart and digital art.

What's amazing is that many of the fonts we use today were created long before the invention of computers or the modern printing press. What else is astounding is that many fonts named after people (such as Garamond) weren't even created by those people.

I remember, when reading Eats, Shoots, and Leaves, how it was said that printers are the ones who ultimately created punctuation.

And today, everyone can typeset -- just open Word. And everyone can print. But back then, innovative, passionate men closely guarded their methods and created typefaces not to look cool (okay, some did), but to convey whatever message they had more clearly.

If you're interested in typography at all, or are just interested in how letters and fonts evolved over time, I certainly recommend this book. I have yet to finish it -- I'm currently on the chapter about Monotype machines (even though I know a lot about them from my father).

Perhaps it's time to go retrieve that typesetter's drawer I snagged from my father's office and find a place for it in my room.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Creativity Abounds!

Yumi Climbs Mt. Moleskine
Originally uploaded by Kira_.

I've always considered myself a creative person. I've written a novel. Spent who knows how many hours writing fiction to share with others on the internet and beyond. Went into television to write captivating shows and perhaps bring that comic book asthetic I love so much to the small screen.

But I don't think I ever really knew what creativity was until I stumbled upon the HUGE group of Moleskine users online. After that, I wandered from weblog to weblog, exploring the sites of illustrators and laypeople alike.

And you know what I realized?

I wanted to do that. I wanted to have a journal full of wonderful memories. To be that person sitting on a park bench or under a tree writing in a journal. To be the kind of person to play with paints.

I CAN draw. And write. And now have confidence that I can do anything I set my mind to.

Something I read in a book made me think about those who post their journals online for all to see -- that by doing that, you take extra time since everyone else can see the image. The pages. And maybe then, you'll do better work with only a little extra work. A bit of incentive.

So here's mine.