Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Decorated Page Book Review

Was so thrilled to finish reading a journaling book I have been savoring a few pages at a time over the past few months. Going to intersperse my review below with pages from my journals. Hope you'll share some of your journal pages and favorite journal making supplies with me in the comments...

The Decorated Page: Journals, Scrapbooks and Albums Made Simply Beautiful, by Gwen Diehn, got me with the cover! From postal stamps (I have a collection of about 1000 from around the world for my artwork) to watercolor illustrated pages to the ubiquitous Micron pen, the cover promised to help me turn my excessive supply of blank journals into expressive albums using Gwen's simple techniques.

The beginning of the book has an excellent description of different journal book types (with advantages and considerations of each kind) and a thorough discussion of mark making tools and paints; Gwen's favorite journaling paint is watercolor and mark making tool is the micron pen! My favorite tools are spiral bound Aquabee Super Deluxe 93lb paper drawing books (will take dry and wet media well), woodless dark/soft graphite pencil, Pitt black markers, Derwent ColorSoft pencils or Koh-I-Noor woodless colored pencils, and Penguin pan watercolors. Sometimes when I am travelling and don't want to take both the colored pencils and pan watercolors, I substitute water soluable Derwent colored pencils.

I love Gwen's 9 ways to prepare journal pages so that I'm not looking at a blank page to start. (A favorite of mine is to create a watercolor wash over a crayoned image to get a very interesting effect.) She later gives great examples of different page layouts (including text) such as bleeds, grids, borders, organic... Very well described and demonstrated with sample pages from many other artists. I especially like the idea of cutting and using my own stamps from wine corks (which I have a lot of after drinking copious bottles of wine!) which is beautifully described and demonstrated in the text.

One of my favorite parts of the book is a section called "Writing Small" by guest contributor Ann Turkle. It discusses ways to develop free flowing writing skills. She suggests springboarding by making mundane lists, describing everyday items in detail, observing, listening, and more. I learned A LOT here...

With so many pictures of journal pages from different artists, it was easy for me to get inspired to write, no matter what I think my handwriting looks like! As a bonus, I later found in Gwen's book a handwritten font I've fallen in love with!

Recently an arts magazine asked its readers if they were marooned on a desert island with only one art supply, what would it be? Mine would certainly be a big fat soft dark graphite pencil so I could journal on everything!!!

Happy Journaling!  Trisitna :)

1 comment:

  1. Hi Trisitna-- Thanks for that good review! I need to tell you that The Decorated Page went out of print a while back and has been increasingly hard to find. HOWEVER, Sterling/Lark, the publisher, is bringing out a revised version of the book THIS SPRING in which it is bound up with a newer book of mine, The Decorated Journal. They asked me to add some new material and help with the revisions (few). I insisted that they retain all images and material from the original books except overlapping sections, which we combined. So if anyone is having trouble finding The Decorated Page, I would appreciate it if you would tell them to check Amazon every now and then as the revised and re-issued book will be available very soon. I hope it proves as useful to people as The Decorated Page seems to have done.

    Gwen Diehn