For those of you lovely people who follow me on Instagram, it may not be news that I've had a few hiccups lately and, as is the norm when life throws a spanner in the works, something has to give and it's usually my creativity that takes a nose dive when I've got a lot of other things on my mind.
However, past experience has taught me that the worst possible for thing for me to do would be mope around forlornly and do nothing at all. Inactivity for me is the greasy patch at the top of a slippery slope. A hazard to be avoided at all costs as I really don't like that bumpy ride down into the sticky mud that awaits me at the bottom.
After having a good think I came up with the idea of writing a journal. I've seen lots of beautiful examples over the past few years and even though I have never really been a diary keeper in the true sense of the word, these creative, hand written bullet journals hit lots of spots for me. Calligraphy, or more specifically the brush lettering technique that has appeared more recently, is something I have wanted to learn for quite a while and I've always wondered how difficult it would be make my writing look so gorgeous. So, after a bit of Googling for tips and advice, I toddled off to my local art shop at bought two 'Tombow' brush lettering pens in black which seemed a good place to start. The journals they had for sale were beautiful but quite expensive so I popped into TK Maxx where I was lucky to find just what I wanted on the clearance counter for £4.00.
I am sure if you are creative like me, you are aware that hobbies can be expensive pastimes and there is sometimes a temptation to rush out and spend an arm and a leg on new tools and equipment. After leaning the hard way, I now try really hard to curb my enthusiasm and just start off with the bare minimum just in case after a few weeks my new hobby turns out to be not for me and all that shiny new stuff ends up tucked away in box in the hobby graveyard, the cupboard under the stairs. If you can start off with just one or two good tools (tools not meant for the job or cheap alternatives will usually end up giving you unsatisfactory results which will not make learning enjoyable or easy, especially where art materials are concerned). A pack of Crayola markers have been handy for practicing on cheaper copy paper, but I've kept the Tombow pens for 'best' and only use them on some ancient, very smooth typing paper which will not fray the nibs and help them last longer.
So now I have pens, paper and journal so I am all ready to go! I've even got a new little office to work in. I bought an old pine table and chair from the boot sale last week that cost me £21.00 for both and after rearranging the furniture in the spare bedroom I now have somewhere bright and quiet to work on my own, instead of trying to be creative in the kitchen which meant having to clear everything away when we sat down to eat. My jugs of pens and bits and bobs can now stay undisturbed on my workspace, the little wooden shelf that I found in the shed was very easy to hang with a couple of screws and it's proving very useful for paper and books. I love it, it feels a very peaceful, calm space to be in I'm looking forward to seeing what comes out of it over the coming months.
As with all new things, practice really does make perfect and I am aware that I am going to have to put the time in to do my drills and exercises to become anywhere near proficient with my hand lettering. So far I have really enjoyed preparing the journal ready for me to start in September; I've dabbled with a little bit of fun drawing and been brave enough to write a few words in bold ink. There will certainly be mistakes and pages that I will inevitably look back on and wish I had done differently but that is totally expected and I'm not going to be hard on myself if I get the odd thing wrong. Although I will be sharing my progress on here with you every month, the journal is meant to be a stress-free creative outlet for me, enjoyable and calming. If it becomes a chore or something I worry about not being perfect that would defeat the object. We all have to start out somewhere and sharing mistakes and fails makes us all feel a little more human I think.
Filling in a 'Things I would like to do" page has already made me start thinking about of couple of other projects that have been on the back burner for far too long. For years now I have been promising myself to improve my French so I've dug out my old Michel Thomas discs and put them in the car. Instead of listening to the doom and gloom on the radio I can learn a few more ways to ask for a cake in the boulangerie. After months of guiltily ignoring an unused easel in the shed, I've eventually wiped off the dust and put it it my new office space to remind me to get out the oil paints that have been hidden in the cupboard for an age. It may appear I have given myself lots to do but there's no rush, I'm going to take it all very slowly and enjoy the process of getting my mojo back again.
If you are already a seasoned journal keeper or I have inspired you to have a go yourself please let me know and maybe share your photos on Instagram. It would be lovely to see how other people style their journals or hear how you have faired with your handwriting journey. Whatever you are creating this week - have fun and be kind to yourself!
Lots of love,