Skylark Karma

… Fake Journals… not me, but close.

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2018 IFJM – The Artist

April 2018 – International Fake Journal Month – Dana Burrell

The Artist

I couldn’t stand the saccharine covers on the 6 in. x 8 in. inexpensive sketchbooks I bought at Michaels so I altered them first with layers of gesso, then acrylic paint and finally a few layers of assorted stamps. I also took out the saddle stitching and replace it with a 5-hole pamphlet stitch using maroon waxed linen thread. The inside covers had lots of maroon splotches so they were muted with a layer of blue acrylic paint.

I can’t say enough about these little sketchbooks. Michaels sells a pack of 2 for 6$ USD. They hold up beautifully to wet media as you can see by my pencil and watercolor sketches.


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#IFJM2018 – Wrap-Up

Since 2019’s International Fake Journal Month begins tomorrow I won’t go into much depth with this review. Believe me, I should have done this months ago while it was still fresh in my mind… but better late than never I guess.

The journal I used was an extremely inexpensive store-bought sketchbook from Michaels that I adapted by removing the stitched binding, adding more pages from the other sketchbook in the pair and restitching the binding. I painted both the outside and inside covers with acrylic paints to obscure the pre-printed floral pattern. At 6 in. x 8 in. this journal was easy to carry with me at all times. That, a pencil, a size 8 travel round synthetic brush and a small Whiskey Painter’s Palette with 12 half-pans was the extent of my kit.

I was pleasantly surprised how well this sketchbook handled watercolor. Yes, there’s a bit of rippling but that doesn’t bother me. In fact it causes a wonderful crinkling sound as the pages are turned. I found that the art doesn’t have to fill a page… small sketches, thumbnails and vignettes can be more than enough to tell a day’s story. And my character journaled in the spaces between the sketches adding context.

Roz Stendahl, the organizer of IFJM – International Fake Journal Month, had selected a theme for 2018… Translating the Inevitable. She also provided a series of prompts each day that we could have our character respond to in their journal. I chose not to use any of the prompts… I find they don’t inspire me as they used to.

2018 was the last year Roz would organize the public celebration of International Fake Journal Month. She explains her reasons eloquently in her final post on the Official International Fake Journal Blog. I will miss her inspiration but realize that everything has its time… its season.

I’m going to continue to keep a Fake Journal and post it here… this’ll be my eighth year!  Will I continue into 2020 and beyond? I think that decision will have to wait, but 2019’s journal has been selected and everything’s ready to go. Vamos!

#2018IFJM  #IFJM2018

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April 30th, 2018



April 30th,

4:10 p

looking east. soon I hope.

7:45 p

can’t stop thinking about the beach. when we stop in tomorrow I’ll ask what they think of us getting away. Ned has always loved sunrises. told me that he and Sam often took a minute or two to watch when in Vietnam. so long ago. but never far from their minds. We can visit the shore again. it’s hokey I know but it won’t be the same. it can be better. each sunrise is a new beginning.

#IFJM2018   #2018IFJM

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April 29th, 2018



April 29th,

1:55 p

it’s a snow white party. I can count six of them already. children don’t care if they’re wearing the same thing as their friends. ooops…  2 more just arrived.

<—-  snow white splotch from closing the book before dry.


8:15 p

started with her hair & glasses. we’re watching Jurassic Park. original. I was inspired by Laura Dern’s hair and glasses but that’s all. should have drawn a velociraptor instead. wonder if I could do that from memory too.


#IFJM2018   #2018IFJM

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April 28th, 2018



April 28th,

1:50 p

shopping with Beth. we’re trying new things. she’s got the cold brew coffee while I’m trying the Chai Latte. sweet & spicy. like me. hardly. well sometimes I guess.

they’re still looking to hire. not me. I’m beyond that. a teacher’s grading tests as he has his venti. I remember those days.


2:10 p

and she’s gone. think it’s a wig. just hanging out with friends. prettier than I can make her.


#IFJM2018   #2018IFJM

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April 27th, 2018



April 27th

12:30 p

they’re everywhere with their silly orange feet. eyes too.


9:20 p

friday night. watching the Red Sox. losing now. Sam came & we had dinner together. volunteered to help cat sit when we finally get away. friends have called but he’s the only one to really be there day in and day out. He and Ned have known each other longer than we’ve been married. been through a lot together.


#IFJM2018   #2018IFJM

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April 26th, 2018



April 26th

5:45 p

Lion grrrl. except she’s sweet.

vacation. holiday. whatever you want to call it, it’s on my mind. Both Eva & Beth separately asked us what’s next. Well 1st off we need to get Ned’s strength up but we both want to fit in a little time away. a driving vacation would be perfect without having to meet any timelines. I’ve always been able to drive for hours. the atlantic coast? beach walks would be good for both of us. fresh air & seafood. but how far afield should we roam? if we do Maine we could be home within the day if we wanted. two if we went farther like MD. I love Annapolis. too early though.


#IFJM2018   #2018IFJM

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April 25th, 2018



April 25th

3:15 p

heart shaped face. needs more forehead.

prepping for tonight’s portrait session. only have an hour and I’d love to be able to blast out one without my pencil lines. they’re too prominent on her nose. not too bad elsewhere. eyes still too big but not bad considering she’s from memory. maybe more life drawing should be my next goal.


9:05 p

harsh lighting. it aged her.

Wanda modeled tonight. used my spiral watercolor book.


#IFJM2018   #2018IFJM

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April 24th, 2018





April 24th

2:30 p

way too much going on this morning. took out my book but not able to even open it. everyone stopped around to congratulate Ned! He’s a fan favorite there and being as outgoing as he is, he’s made friends. We’ll give it a couple weeks and we’ll stop in.

Maple Buds.

came home to see Sam sawing down the branches that came down last month. said he’ll take them down to the landfill later. They’ve rented a chipper.


3:40 p

dead tree against the sky. clouds rolling in.

hemlock cones the size of my thumbnail.

squirrels are tame already. it’s early.

goldfinch male.

beautiful day. deep blue skies punctuated by thin white clouds. mackerel sky to the south. tried adding them to my dead tree thumbnail but they just don’t read like anything except squiggles. We pulled out some chairs so we could sit in the sun for a while but Ned went in when it started to cloud up. I can’t. it’s our 1st day in the 70s. even our neighbors’s daughter is out. we’ve lived here since she was born and I probably can count the number of times I’ve seen her on one hand. never see her mom either but Ed and I talk a bit. all started when I called Ned and he answered.


#IFJM2018   #2018IFJM