(If you are interested, I wrote about the workshop here.)
What appeals to me - and has always appealed to me although I couldn't really say what it was until now - is the layering of papers, colors, words, images, sketches, watercolors, pen and ink drawings, calligraphy, and textures on the pages.
Journal Your Way: Designing & Using Handmade Books offers the best instructions and examples in all of the four or five books I have found on the subject. Not only does author/artist Gwen Diehn give clear instructions on making different journals, she guides the reader through a series of questions to discern what type of journal would best fill his or her needs.
She asked eight people to choose a journaling activity that appealed to them - creating a travel, garden, new project, or learning journal. She then designed a book for each of them to use for three months and presents their reflections on how the journal worked for them and photos of the finished/ongoing project.
It is fascinating to see the different types of books that Ms. Diehn created for each person. For example, one holds daily watercolor paintings; one incorporates information about different spices and tiny vials containing certain seeds and herbs; and one uses tiny envelopes within its pages to store memorabilia.
The section on The Basics explains the tools and materials needed for creating your own journal. The Page Building Materials and Techniques section is full of great ideas on paper choices, using colored pencils, watercolors, stencils and stamps, and crayons. There is even a quick tutorial in drawing.
Ms. Diehn then offers instructions for making sixteen different journals from a simple pamphlet type to sewn hardcover books. Although some look quite complicated (the finished products are gorgeous), the instructions offered are clear and one could work up to the more sophisticated journals and covers.
There is a wonderful section on journal keeping past and present with samples from ships' logs to Leonardo da Vinci to Thomas Trevelyon's Miscellany from the 1600s. Photos of present-day journals are rich with images and ideas.
This is a terrific book to have on hand. I love looking at the photos showing how other people have used their journals to document their lives and they have certainly given me ideas for my own artistic journal endeavors.