Skylark Karma

… Fake Journals… not me, but close.


IFJM 2016 Wrap-Up

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?


Leave a comment

IFJM Withdrawal!

It’s been a weirdly quiet day. I haven’t looked for a small item to draw and I haven’t picked up a pencil all day.
I will go over the journal in a few days and do a full write up but today I want to highlight the items I used. 

  • Rifle Paper Company Notebook, blank, 6″ X 8″
  • Set of six Staedtler drawing pencils… HB, 2B, 4B, 6B, 7B, and 8B. 
  • Brass bullet pencil sharpener
  • Kneaded eraser
  • Blending stump 
  • Erasing shield

I’m sitting at my desk… hmmmm… I could draw……….

Nope!  Not till next year. 

See you in a few days for a full review. 


reflection – 04/30/2016

April 30, 2016   1:27 PM

I keep putting those drops in my eye but the floaters haven’t gone away. On a better note I’m finding it much easier to get my brain to talk to my hand. My writing is faster now and closer to how I used to. My synapses are connecting again. My father used to say “getting old ain’t for sissies”. I found out later that it was a take-off on a Bette Davis quote. I guess these quotes don’t hang around unless there’s some truth in them. I thought I’d bounce right back after the fall but it’s taken much more time than I expected. My reactions just aren’t fast enough now. When Emily talked about me not driving anymore I was furious but I guess she’s right. At least I haven’t had to move. Yet. There’s always a “new normal”. Tomorrow is May 1st. May Day. The flowers have started blooming and I have a new Rifle Paper book to fill. Pink Flamingoes on it. (sic). They always make me smile. I remember the flock of them at that hotel Tom and I stayed at in Las Vegas. 


Leave a comment

keys – 04/29/16

April 29, 2016   10:39 AM

Remembering when we had two car keys and we actually had to touch the car to make it start. Tom kept his first car keys. It was a Ford Maverick. They always had a thing for horses. First the Mustang. My first car was a Chevette. It was small but it was perfect for city parking. 


1 Comment

again – 04/28/16

April 28, 2016   1:06 PM

I can still remember the summer afternoon march when we got these. It was back in our radical days in Madison. We both had long hair then. I smile when I think about it. Long hair on men is more common now even if they’re old. Meryl Streep may have played Karen in the movie but I think Cher stole the show. 


Leave a comment

buttons – 04/27/16

April 27, 2016   10:15 AM

All the buttons my mother saved and most of my buttons went with Emily to her knitting group. She thought they’d use the largest ones and the small ones they’d donate to the co-op’s sewing group. I only kept the bone buttons Tom brought back from his trek in Nepal. 


Leave a comment

pins – 04/26/16

April 26, 2016   2:36 PM

Eyedrops now, but that’s okay. I don’t have a detatched (sic) retina. That’s what Alice had. The doctor said that she probably had flashes and not floaters. She’s totally blind now in that eye. I may not be able to drive but at least I can still see where the bus takes me. 


Leave a comment

spine – 04/25/16

April 25, 2016   6:30 AM

Eye appointment this morning so I’m up early and ready for my ride. It’s only the second time I’ve used the senior center bus. It’s free but I need to come and go on their schedule. I didn’t want to ask Em or Peter again. The boys have gone back to finish their years and I don’t want to change my date. I’m having floaters in my left eye. more than my usual and that’s a lot. 


Leave a comment

another – 04/24/16

April 23, 2016    12:52 PM

Another single earring but if I’m remembering correctly, this one is supposed to be single. Emily went through a Star Trek phase when she was a child. We watched all the reruns. She just had to have an earring like the one on TV. Tom wore it one Halloween and must not have returned it. 



earring – 04/23/16

April 23, 2016   8:09 PM

Why on earth do I feel the need to keep things?  Like this lone earring. I can’t even remember when or where I lost its partner. I only remember that it was one of my favorites. Black goes with anything. Back into the drawer.