The last few months I’ve been reading as much as I could by the cartoonist/author and professor, Lynda Barry. First “What It Is”, then “Picture This: The Near-Sighted Monkey Book”, both interspersed with her comics, and then finally, “Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professor”.
I know, I know… I tend to dive into the deep end.
I’ve been fascinated with her fascination with the brain, especially what makes up an image and where do stories come from? And of course, memory.
Memory… What is it and where does it come from? That’s what I explored in my 2016 Fake Journal.
You can glean my thought process either by reading the entry in the image above or you can read the news release of Kristiina Kompus’ doctoral dissertation in Science Daily.
The pages I’ve included here are from my daily carry journal/sketchbook. Ever since my first IFJM I’ve chosen to complete my wrap up outside the Fake Journal, preferring it to be a stand-alone artifact… no clues or explanations within it.
Having no experience with pencil other than using it for rudimentary line work I had a lot to explore. I discovered that there was such a thing as a blending stump, sometimes referred to as a tortillon. Not only does this wondrous stick of compressed paper smooth out the pencil strokes, but it makes the area darker.
The second important think I learned was the importance of shadows, especially the power of a cast shadow. It’s always darkest along the border where it touches the object. Sometimes the demarcation line is visible and other times the object’s edge is lost in deep shadow.
Thirdly, I found that I do not like smudgy pages and working with graphite certainly creates smudges. My character didn’t have issues with them, but I did! I sprayed it with some fixative I had left over from another project but that created the issue of why isn’t it smudging! Well… I created a daughter for my character… let “her” do the spraying.
This year the journal narrative came easily. I wrote slowly using an unfamiliar cursive style as I reflected on the drawing, letting it trigger memories. The deliberateness of my writing allowed the memories to surface effortlessly. This has not always been my experience. I’ve often struggled with what to write, as if it needed to be “meaningful”.
This year had other surprises. Pencil work requires patience and I found that I had more than I realized. I have a newly found appreciation for graphite, not so much that it will become my media of choice, but I won’t fear using it to get a desired result. I also found I became quite fond of my character. I’ve always had some distance between myself and the characters I’ve created so this was unexpected. I’m going to miss her.
I hope I can take what I’ve learned about the workings of my brain and memory and use it in my own journals and again in next year’s IFJM.
Again, If you just came upon this post by chance and you’re wondering what IFJM is and what all the fuss is about please visit Roz Stendahl’s Official International Fake Journal Month site. And if that appeals, please check out the Blogs, Flickr, Instagram and Tumblr sites of the other fantastic “fakers” who also participated. You can find links to their work in the sidebar on Roz’ IFJM site.
Hmmmmmm…….. What will 2017 bring?
May 4, 2016 at 11:40 pm
I loved your sketches for this year’s IFJM!
(and I totally know what you mean about withdrawal… 🙂 )
June 21, 2016 at 1:12 pm
Thank you Evie! I finally got around to putting that journal away; it seems so final. But now that the withdrawal has passed I guess we can plan for next year!
May 18, 2016 at 10:57 am
I loved your wrap up Dana, and your set up for your project. It’s always fun to see what you do during IFJM. I love that you will miss your character!
June 21, 2016 at 1:16 pm
Thank you Roz. Even though my character never got a name I feel as if I know her. I guess I do as she’s total mash-up of friends and neighbors… but they’ll never know! I already have ideas for next year flitting though my head; maybe one will take hold.
May 18, 2016 at 3:38 pm
I love this journal. I, too, have read much by Lynda Barry (100 Demons being my favorite). I was lucky enough to take her workshop last summer. If you continue to be interested in all things memory, you might enjoy the lectures for this course:
It is free, and no commitment unless you happen to want to do the homework.
Thank you for sharing your journal this month.
June 21, 2016 at 1:18 pm
Thank you! Ah… an in-person workshop with Lynda Barry. Wow! And thanks for the link.
May 19, 2016 at 3:32 pm
This really is a fabulous journal! The small simple items are so well drawn, and your journal writing is very thought-provoking. Love that phrase: “does the drawing come from the same place as the words?” I might have to steal that and put it in one of my journals….lol! Great work!
June 21, 2016 at 1:21 pm
Thank you Dianne! I took a pretty deep dive into the workings of the brain this year and loved every minute. It was the first year I didn’t know what I was going to write until I put the pencil down. I may just have to do something light and frothy next year. Hope to see you and four fabulous artwork next year too!