Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Book Review: Journal Bliss

Title: Journal Bliss
Subtitle: Creative prompts to unleash your inner eccentric
Author: Violette

Number of pages: 128
Publisher: North Light Books

Introduction: "I invite you to join me, don a pair of magical boots and come along on an exhilarating adventure to find Journal Bliss."

Violette first appeared on the internet creative arts scene in 2007 via her YouTube channel, with videos on Visual Journaling, Collage, Doodling and Mixed Media projects. In 2009, the book "Journal Bliss" followed, with Violette enticing readers to "follow your bliss" by creating and working in an art journal.

The book itself is in Violette's characteristic and colourful style, with each page containing a drawing or work of creative art. There are no photographs, all the images, including the step-by-step pictures, are hand drawn or copies of Violette's journal pages. Most of the text is also hand written, apart from the one-page introductions to each section, which makes the book seem more like you are reading one of Violette's journal themselves.

The sections in the book are as follows:-

  • Introduction
  • Silencing Your Inner Critic
  • Fanciful Lettering
  • Bodacious Borders
  • Doodling
  • Groovy Backgrounds
  • Funky Envelope Art
  • Image Transfer Techniques
  • Journal Bliss
  • About Violette

Each section loosely covers the topic in question. The introduction is a one page description of what the book will attempt to show you and two pages of (hand drawn) suggested supplies. There is no real breakdown of specific supplies, just some pretty sketches of art supplies and some notes on a creating a portable journaling kit.

And the whole book carries on in this same 'loose' way, for example the 'Fanciful Lettering' and 'Bodacious Borders' sections are really just pages of Violette's hand drawn words and borders. Some of the pages are in fact blank, apart from a hand drawn border around the edges. This almost gives the book a "colouring book" feel, or a book that you could turn into a journal by adding to the pages yourself!

The sections that cover techniques are, again, a little loose and sketchy... cartoon character drawings (not dissimilar to those in children's art books) attempt to show techniques such as a gel medium image transfer... and don't quite pull it off. I prefer to see photos of such processes and clearer how-tos... but then again I didn't buy this book to be a tutorial and as such feel it doesn't necessarily have a place here.

In conclusion, the book seems to me to be a little indulgent, with a little too less content and a little too many cutesy images. It's not a book you can dip into and read a section, as every time you open a page it feels like you are flipping through Violette's personal sketchbook/journal. Maybe that was the intention... and if you like Violette's style and images, then you will like this book... it's certainly a pretty picture book and would certainly appeal to those wanting to teach their children about art journaling.

However, if you are like me and prefer a bit more substance and a lot more inspiration then maybe this one isn't for you.