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Colour-themed journals

Updated: 20 hours ago

If you have been following me on Instagram for a while you probably noticed that I have been playing with the idea of colour-themed journals. It’s not the most original one and you probably have found someone that played with this very same idea already. But I couldn’t help myself to bound my very first handmade journal just for that. That way I could experiment with two things at the same time: bookbinding and colour practice.

Let me say that binding my first journal was a much more enjoyable experience than I imagined. I was sure that I was not up to the task, but I had to try it. I’m the kind of person who only says that is not able to do something after having tried it. So, fortunately, the process went very well, and I loved all the steps, from spending days choosing the different papers to learning how to bind the signatures and finally add a cover. I will not say it was not challenging and that I didn’t make lots of mistakes throughout the journey, especially during the stitching phase. But it was very rewarding in the end to know that I now can bind journals exactly the way I want them to be.

Once I had the journal ready, I defined some colour rules as to how I would address filling its pages. The first one was to pick the main colour, in this case blue, my favourite one. And by blue, I mean, all shades of blue, from classic navy blue to vibrant turquoise blue. Then, I decided to let one colour out of the journal, green. This rule I discovered to be even harder than the first one because I was tempted to use green for leaves all the time! Finally, I allowed myself to explore some complementary colours that included pinks, purple, and reds as well as all sort of metallic shades. Black and white I considered neutral or basic colours.

One main benefit that I found from using this approach is that the journal ends up having a much more harmonious look because of the lack of major colour contrasts. It gives coherence between the pages which I really like. Don’t get me wrong, colour contrast is great, it brings a very interesting dynamic to journal pages, but for this specific project, I simply decided not to explore it. I also found that working with a more restricted colour palette has the advantage of freeing me up to think more about other aspects such as the type of media or the style of the page. So, with this journal, I was able to concentrate on exploring a bunch of different techniques that I hadn't tried before without colour worrying.

This first experience was so pleasant that I decided to keep exploring it and I bound a second journal, the Green Journal. This time, as the name says, the main colour was green, and blues were avoided. The other rules were also applied. However, I added an extra layer of complexity, which was to use this journal for the Get Messy May challenge. This meant that I had to respond to the prompts, thirty of them, according to the colour rules established. Oh, boy, this was way more challenging than I had expected and I found myself many times thinking about giving up. But you know, I’m also the kind of person who can’t leave things unfinished, I must go all the way through them. And I went! I finished the challenge, and it was a roller coaster, with me having epiphany moments and others just hating the page and ripping it off the journal because I just couldn't bear to look at it.

So from this experience, I learned two things about myself. First, I hate long challenges. Thirty days is too much for me and I prefer short challenges of 5 - 7 days or more spaced challenges such as Flowers Magic that give 2 days between prompts/classes so people can catch up more easily. Also, I will never add one challenge to another again. It complicates things more than they should, and this is not helpful. I don't want to feel pressured when working on my journals. I want to feel relaxed and enjoy the pleasure of creating something just because. With that in mind, I kept filling the remaining pages of the Green Journal, at a much easier pace and with a feeling of self-enjoyment that was always the main goal of my art practice.

All in all, working with colour-themed journals has been a great addition to my art practice and I will definitely explore more of them in the near future. I'm also planning on doing a full flip-through video of both journals as soon as I finish the Green Journal. So stay tuned for more insights about this approach and how it can benefit your art practice.

Take care,


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