Saturday, November 01, 2008

my journal

I don't remember how I discovered journals. When I finally decided to invest both money and time into one, it started out as a source for inspiration. I would cut out images and whole articles, gluing them onto the pages and adding my own notes. My journal process moved to drawings, then writing, and now it's a combination of everything.

For some reason, I never finished a journal. What happened is I started using it and realized after a month or even a few months that the book wasn't accomodating my needs. My journals have included the following:

a purchased leather journal - about 6"x9", with a leather tie that wrapped around the journal a few times to keep it closed...{concern}...too big and became too heavy as more collaged elements/pages developed

handmade/retail hybrid, version 1 - front/back cover and spine of a watercolor sketchbook, with thread-bound signatures of newsprint...{concern}...I did a poor job of binding and the signatures were too heavy for the paper, it was also too uncomfortable to use

handmade/retail hybrid, version 2 - front/back cover and spine of a watercolor sketchbook with a handmade accordion pocket inside with various types of paper...{concern} was annoying to pull out and return individual pieces of paper, cut out articles, etc using the accordion pocket

moleskine - 3"x5", too small...didn't last long

handmade - handmade paper cut into two pieces for the front and back cover, contained different types of paper, bound with binding screws...{concern}...too fragile

Well, I've finally found one that I consistently enjoy! It is, in a lot of ways, the best parts of my previous journals. I think what I like best about this one is its flexibility and simple binding.

current journal - relaxed leather for the front/back cover and spine, bound by a strip of leather tied off at both ends, contains different types of paper

details: when I purchased it, I took out most of the paper it contained and began my quest for custom paper. I cut pages out of newsprint, charcoal paper, packing paper, and white drawing paper (as well as used some of the paper it came with); I cut the sheets in a sloppy manner on purpose, inspired by the deckled edges of my old watercolor sketchbook.

Once i punched holes in all the pages, I re-bound the journal. Now I had a custom journal with a variety of papers. And once I fill this journal, I can re-bind it with new papers and re-use the leather cover/spine as many times as I want.

Here are a few shots of some of my favorite pages...


first page

random writing

random drawings

For those of you that don't use journals, I recommend you start. You don't have to be an artist, designer, writer, etc to use a journal. If you enjoy traveling, going to antique stores, or enjoy keeping track of various activities, a journal can be a fun and personal way to accomplish that; it's also interactive so more than one person could use the same journal.

Although there are a number of places to purchase a journal, it all depends on what you want. Here are some helpful links to get you started:

My Handbound Books

Barnes and Noble



Cavallini & Co.

journal content © 2008 joe blend. All rights reserved.


E-J said...

Love the look of your leather journal with its brown pages. I would really like to see those contents close up!

Waiting... said...

Congradulations that you weren't bound by the "I bought it, now I HAVE to use it" rule! I, too, have many partially used journals--but I found that none were wasted but part of the journey that is helping define my "style" etc.
Thank you for taking the time to encourage all of us with your post.

Joe said...


Yeah, it's tough to buy a journal and then stop using it but like you said, it's part of the journey.

I'll try to post some more images within the next couple of weeks.