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?


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underside – 04/17/16

April 17, 2016   11:14 AM

I keep turning this little fellow over and over in my hand. even his underside is finished. It reminds me of some of the tops and sweaters they sell where the pattern is only in the front. I’ve always hated that. only buy clothes where even the back looks nice. You never kow know who’s looking.

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frog – 04/16/16


April 16, 2016   12:06 PM

Tom used to carry this little worry frog in his pants pocket. I tried to do the same but I thought I lost it one day. Found it in the wash. it’s been on the desk ever since. Sunny today. the goldfinches are changing color. 



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strawberry – 04/15/16

April 15, 2016   1:53 PM

appointment this morning. why do we always wait. I’m supposed to use better punctuation and remember to capitalize first letter in a sentense. She wrote it down so I’ll remember. It slows me down even more. I have to think hard and practice more. Peter took me so Emily could go to burlington with her girlfriends. they’re shopping and then picking the boys up at the airport. spring break.


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scissors – 04/14/16



April 14, 2016   2:48 PM

i almost wrote 4:48. no, it’s not that late. there are 7 pairs of scissors in this drawer. why do we say pair. isn’t each one a scissor. singular. i’ve wondered about this for years. when i worked with Andrew he always said scissor. but he was from Montreal. is it singular in French. i I need to work on capitals.




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glasses – 04/13/16

April 13, 2016   1:54 PM

when I pulled this out of the drawer I remembered the time i lost my glasses in the river. we were watching wood ducks floating down the connecticut when i leaned too far over the railing. and then they were gone. i was blind without them. now I have new lenses. the cataracs (sic) gave me that.



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opener – 04/12/16

April 12, 2016 11:41 AM

smells better today. i put it on the porch to air out after Emily went home. thank god she didn’t see how slow i still write. this is suposed (sic) to help. brain to hand. how do they connect. does the drawing come from the same place as the words. i don’t think so.


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feather – 04/11/16

April 11, 2016   2:10 PM

Em surprised me. stopped in early today. she said school vacation. i was doing this and she saw. i tried to hide it. now she is bossy. have to do this. have to do that. such a school teacher. poor kids. went home to get spray. raining again. pigeons don’t mind. still eating all the seeds i put out. squirrels too.
back now. says not bossy olny caring. (sic) now book stinks.


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chocolate – 04/10/16

April 10, 2016   2:42 PM

dark chocolate they say is healthier. but is chocolate healthy ever. if i’m going to have a piece it’ll be milk chocolate. i’ve been saving this for a long time. i’ll keep it out here on the desk so I won’t forget again. words coming better today. handwriting faster too.


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flossing – 04/09/16

April 9, 2016   3:37 PM

at least i still have my own teeth. i tried some of those sling-shot flosser things but they were hard to get in and they shredded when i tried to get them out. they’re all jammed in there together. i got them fixed when I chipped the front one when i was 12. it doesn’t look too bad. i still smile.