June 05th, 2017
Art Journal Courage
Published by North Light Books
When I reviewed Dina Wakley’s last book Art Journal Freedom, I loved its approach to surface design, composition and use of colour. This book is about facing your fears if you have trouble getting over hurdles in your approach to surface design.
This book is also like its predecessor in that it is a really inspirational book. It broaches common stumbling blocks in this kind of approach to design, and provides step-by-step tutorials on how to overcome them. They are fearless in their approach, but effective in their results.
Most of us will have the general assortment of tools and materials that are required for surface design and journaling. Pens, paper, inks, paints, stencils, stamps and baby wipes make up the core materials that are used in this book, and these basics will cover you for some of the exercises. The book starts with prompts and encouragements to give you an idea of what you could include in your designs. Here there is a good section on using your handwriting, with encouragement to practice if you feel your writing is not of a good enough standard. Practice is the key word here, with particular attention to drawing. The suggestion that people ‘can’t draw’ is refuted and the emphasis put on practice, even if you just start with one shape drawn again and again, day after day. Saying that, there is no pretension show here and a section (and further exercises) covers tracing, with Dina Wakley assuring us all that many artists use tracing as a method of getting started or ensuring the correct proportions and perspectives are achieved. No-one need feel under pressure to do without some assistance if it gets you moving onto the next stage.
Dina Wakley’s work often contains portraits or silhouettes and the use of yourself in your art is covered in several ways, and there is a great tutorial for creating a stencil of yourself which I followed easily. This is a good section for including figures, whether by using photos which are incorporated or painted over, or by tracing or cutting out figures.
It is a great book to follow on from Art Journal Freedom and I think it encourages the reader not to make excuses, but find ways of finding your artistic expression.
This review was originally published in the June 2015 issue of Workshop on the Web.
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