About my Illuminated Journal

(This is a recovered post from 2013~It has been edited to take out broken links. I have tried to replace the pics as well!~S)

To get my creative juices flowing again, I have revived my daily (or at least several times a week) exercise of the illuminated journal. This means that I sit down with the specific intent to write and draw something in my world. This has always been a good exercise for me, as I have had a diary and/or a sketchbook of my own for almost as long as I can remember. But I only put the two together back in 1991 when I bought the book A LIFE IN HAND: Creating the Illuminated Journal, by Hannah Hinchman.

That was a particularly interesting time to buy a journaling book.  Soon afterward, in 1992, we bought our first house, I switched jobs, and I had my first child. I tried to keep up my journal, but dang.. I was TIRED.  Still, my first illuminated journal has drawings of my newborn babies, my cats, things in my first house, and even a couple of drawings of my husband. It also has my frustrations of being a young mother, my inlaw frustrations, my angst at leaving my kids in daycare and going off to work. Not my finest moments to be sure, but genuine. And mine. And I cherish that little book.

I didn’t keep up the journal regularly. I wish I had but life is busy, especially with a young family…by the time I could make the choice to stay home, the internet had arrived any sit-down time I had was spent exploring the “information highway” as it was called back then. Though I had picked up and put down journals throughout the years, it wasn’t until both kids were in school that I started doing illustrated journals again, but not in the same way.

I was creating a diet journal and decided to do it as a comic strip.  Since my online nickname was “Bewitched” my journal comic was about a fat witch housewife … Yeah, that’s how Life’s a Witch  was born. When I decided to go public with it (thanks to the kind encouragement of my diet buddies), I kind of got away from the journaling and real-life part. I really missed that genuine outlet for what was in my heart! Slowly, I worked back into journaling more often, but all the drawing practice went toward the comic, not the life around me.

With or without my documenting, Life. Got. Interesting. The comic, and a lot of things that were just for pleasure got pushed aside in favor of more immediate concerns. But the dust has settled about as much as it is going to and it is time to welcome back some of the things we enjoy doing. In my case, that includes being creative with words and images.

Baby Alex from my first sketch journal

In the coming weeks, I will be posting journaling exercises (one or two a week) from A Life in Hand and other books and sites. While I probably won’t post the journaling part all the time since some of it is personal, I will definitely be sharing a lot of the pictures. (If you have been following along this blog, you have already seen some of the journal drawings)

Would you like to make an illuminated journal along with me?

All you need is an easy-to-carry around sketchbook and a pen. Don’t go all fancy schmancy or you will be too scared to write in it! A spiral bound one is fine. Ideally, make sure whatever you use has unlined paper. (Since we’re trained to write on the lines, having lines inhibits.)

If you’d like to send me scans or pics of your drawings, that would be GREAT! Let me know if it would be okay to share them on the blog (but I won’t unless you tell me it’s okay to do so).

Still not sure you want to commit? No biggie! But my next post on illuminated journaling will be about all the great reasons to start this wonderful habit. HINT: It’s good for you.

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