Journal Friday #87


I’ve continued working with my small artistic acts, and I tried to sit down each night this week and spend a little time adding to my pages. I normally grab my black pen to draw and doodle, and I did some of that. But I wanted to push myself a little bit, so I used a white paint pen one evening, and I pulled out the water-soluble graphite pencil another, as well as a red-violet pen.

These are not might acts, but they are consistent marks that build up over time creating rich layers.


Mapping the Journey

Mapping 1.jpg

I’ve been working hard on my latest project, Mapping the Journey, an online workshop that’s all about using life for the inspiration in making a richly layered two-page spread. Originally, I was hoping to have it done by the end of November, but now, I’m aiming at tomorrow. It’s amazing how busy life can be. I’ve completed and uploaded the videos, and now I’m finishing up the written step-by-step pdf. If everything goes smoothly, I can have it up on in the shop tomorrow morning.

But I wanted to give you a little peek at what I’ve been up to.

I created two different spreads for the workshop — one for the pdf and one for the videos. It was really interesting to see how two different spreads could emerge from the exact same process. In the end, the process involved twenty-two layers and four bouts of reflection, making this a very deep process technically and conceptually.

I hope that you can join me in this journey!

Journal Friday #86: One Artistic Act a Day


It’s been quite busy around here as I frantically work on my new online workshop and start planning projects for 2019. There’s just so much that I want to do!

But I’ve been feeling like my journaling and my art has been getting put on the back burner. I have been able to do some things in my journal, especially for Journal Friday, but it’s been too easy to ignore the artwork much of the other time because of all the things that I have going on.

But I keep going back to something that I have always said when others have complained about not having the time to make and do art, “We give priority to the things that are a priority” We can give lip service to how much making art is a priority, but unless we actually make the time and do it, it’s not a priority.

So, earlier in the week, I decided to make art a priority, and I stumbled across something that I had written a few months ago, and it really struck home. I came across this question, “What if we made one artistic act each day?”

Not one piece of art or one journal page or one post it note, but one artistic act. It doesn't matter how big or little, how much or how little time — just one, simple act. So, I decided to pull out my journal every night since then, and just try to do one artistic act. Most night’s it’s been with pen, and I’ve drawn circles, mandalas, patterns, lines, shapes, and much more. But one night I pulled out watercolor paint and sat at the coffee table and added paint to quite a few pages over a few hours.

By shifting the focus to this simple notion, I’ve taken a lot of pressure off of myself to find a copious amount of uninterrupted time to make grand pieces of artwork, and I’ve found fifteen minutes here and five minutes there. As I’ve always believed, these small actions accumulate into so much more.

I’m looking forward to trying to carry out one artistic act a day and seeing how long I can sustain it.

Journal Friday #85


Today was spent in the studio working on the video components of a new online workshop. Mapping the Journey is based on a workshop that Dave and I have taught a couple of times, but goes much deeper with the techniques and concepts.


As I worked on the workshop, I decided to create two different journal spreads — one while I shot the step-by-step photos for a PDF download and one for the video. Both use the same process, and the results are similar, but it’s good to see how different choices can lead to different results. I’ve gone through this workshop several times, and I always get something different from it.

The workshop is packed with different techniques, both for the art making and for coming up with ideas and concepts to explore. I’m excited to get the workshop wrapped up, and get it online. I originally was hoping to get it ready for release by the end of November, but I still need to do a lot of video editing and writing. I’m hoping to get everything done this week. So stay tuned for details.

Journal Friday #84: Planning, Plotting, and Scheming


As an Everything book, my visual journal isn’t just for making art. It’s for documenting life, exploring ideas, reflecting on whatever, and for planning and scheming. I use the journal as a tool for my art but also for my life in general, and it’s a perfect place to jot down ideas and plans and to work out details for projects and schemes.


For the past few days, I have been doing just that. As the end of the year quickly approaches, I am starting to chart the course for the upcoming year. I already have a couple of things scheduled for 2019, but since I am cutting back on in-person workshops, I need projects and plans for things to take their place. I’m also trying to reach new people and connect in new ways.


I’ve decided to focus on creating a variety of different content — from online workshops to themed blog posts, from a possible series of podcasts to a series of videos . All of that takes planning, and the journal is an ideal place for it. Sometimes, I find big empty pages and begin my thinking and writing, and sometimes, I find little spaces on pages I’ve already started. I like to employ a few different techniques as I plan, like mind mapping and making lists. Sometimes, I create elaborate outlines to work out specifics, and other times, I jot down vague notions.

Eventually, these ideas will get fleshed out more, and I’ll type up, edit, and embellish them on the computer, but for now, I enjoy writing things out and even doodling as I go. The physical act of the hand moving across the paper allows me to think differently than I can in front of an electronic screen, and I’m able to make connections and pull from different sources as ideas and directions develop.


The journal is where all of my ideas start, whether for works of art or for workshops and other projects. I can’t wait to bring some of these ideas to fruition, and I’ll definitely share the journey!

Happy Journal Friday!

Part 12 of The Journal Fodder Junkies Daily Challenges Available now!


I finally got around to wrapping up the last installment of The Journal Fodder Junkies Daily Challenge. I wanted to have it published a couple of months ago, but unfortunately other things just got in the way as I got ready for Art and Soul and worked to finish my new self-published book. The Daily Challenges just took a back seat.

365 Part 12 Sample Pages.jpg

But it’s available now! So check it out in the Shop.

Also, you can save 15% on everything in the Shop from now through December 1st by using the discount code holiday15 when you check out.


Journal Friday #83: Collaboration


Today was a day working in three small, collaborative journals. Though I most often work in a large 11 inch by 14 inch journal, I do have other sizes of journals to work in as well, and right now I have three 4 inch by 6 inch collaborative journals that I’m working in.


Perhaps you have taken part in a round robin where a group of people send their journals around to each other, working and adding to each other’s journals. Well, this is similar, but a little different. These journals are part of the tet[R]ad: Draw and Play Here project developed by two close friends and artistic accomplices, David Modler and Sam Peck. With this project, journals are usually exchanged one-on-one, so you always know who has the journal. Also, the journal is a true space of collaboration. In a traditional round robin, each artist has their own pages, but with the tet[R]ad project, any and all pages can be worked on and added to by each artist making the process about negotiation and response.


That means looking through what other artists have done, and deciding when and if to add to a page. Sometimes a page is completed by primarily one of us, and other times, a page is a blend of each of us as lines and imagery, color and text, style and techniques of different individuals merge and blend. This collaboration offers surprises and new directions, and it also offers risk and vulnerability. It’s like a conversation as I put something on a page and wait for a response, and so I’ll put down some watercolor or lines or a little collage. I might layer a few things together allowing room for the other person to add and expand upon the things that I’ve started. I also “listen” to what has been said by the other person and respond to the ideas, images, and elements already on the page, and I can continue a thought or change the direction all together.

It’s a challenge to collaborate with another artist when that collaboration is strictly on the pages since they most often live far away in a different state. It’s a collaboration with in the space of the journal since we don’t talk about, discuss, or plan what happens within those pages, and that’s what is fun and challenging about it.

To find out more about the project, check out the Draw and Play here website (which by the way, I designed!)

Journal Friday #81: Discovering Ideas


The journal is definitely a place for ideas to develop and grow, and I often pay attention to the things that keep popping up on my pages — images, colors, words, themes. There are always new ideas to discover, and over the past couple of weeks, I have been discovering something new.

And it started with my monsters. For the past three years, I have been drawing, painting, collaging, and sculpting cute, grumpy, sad, and silly monsters. I was inspired by a fourth grader my last year of teaching, and since then, monsters have been a line of inquiry that I’ve explored, often separate from my journal and my other work. However, over the past couple of weeks another idea or line of inquiry has been taking root.

Artwork by John Kenn Mortensen

Artwork by John Kenn Mortensen


Looking for new directions for these little beasts, I looked at the work of Danish artist John Kenn Mortensen. He draws monsters that are definitely creepier and scarier than mine, and he often draws them on sticky notes. Has has even published a book of these monsters called sticky Monsters. There is a quality about his work that fascinates me. But I don’t want to simply copy another’s work, so as I was looking through images of his work, and idea struck me. I noticed that some of his monsters didn’t seem scary or threatening, but rather more protective, as if they were guardians of sorts.

That notion of guardians got my creative juices flowing, and I began to doodle and draw, eventually adding these guardians to my journal. I don’t see these as monsters, but as spirits, and yesterday, I solidified some of these ideas as I added to my pages.


I’m not certain where these ideas will go, but I’m enjoying taking my art in a new direction.

Journal Friday #80: Animated Journal Spread


For this week’s Journal Friday, I just had to make an animated video of a journal page. Using Stop Motion Studio, I created a short video that shows the evolution of a spread.

I began with using Prang watercolor paint. These inexpensive paints are bright and vibrant, and are perfect for the journal. I then used purple Prismacolor watercolor pencil to add some rectangles on top of the dried paint. Next I used a black uni-ball Vision pen to draw rectangles and straight lines, and I outlined the shapes with watercolor pencil. Then I added some cut paper collage using Daler Rowney Cranford paper. I wrapped up the video with red ink spirals and a stylized face in black ink.

This was only my second attempt at animating artwork, and I am quite pleased with it. I hope that you like it!