Not everything you put in a journal turns out exactly like you imagined it. Proof: the above page titled “A Flock of Fairies.” I like the background just fine: I dripped walnut ink down from the top of the page, and since I thought it looked like trees I added green watercolor, which made the walnut ink bleed nicely, creating a nice foresty feeling. I added some stamped leaves for depth.
The fairies started out pretty good too. I really like the triangular dresses cut from text paper, and the wings punched out of backgrounds from the Unicorn Tapestries.
But it all went wrong when I tried to do faces. All. Wrong. I’m trying to stretch myself in my art journal by doing my own drawing and stuff, instead of only relying on cut-out images, but faces are just giving me fits. Which is weird since I spent a month a couple years ago doing nothing but drawing faces and got fairly good at it. Now it seems I can’t even make two dots for eyes and a curvy-line mouth with consistency. Very frustrating. I hate the way these fairies ended up.
But, in keeping with my personal goal to 1) include more self-created imagery in my journals and 2) just have fun playing and experimenting I decided I could live with it this time. It’s supposed to be fun, right? But the truth is I actually ended up liking it a bit more than I thought I would.
Here’s what saved the page for me: after doing terrible things to the poor fairy faces (and let’s not even mention the fact that I misspelled “fairies” in the page title) I figured, “what the heck” and decided to add an impromptu piece of poetry to the page. Now, I’m no better at poetry than I am at drawing faces—it takes a lot of trial and error and erasing before I’m even remotely happy with any verse I come up with, so for me to commit a raw piece of poetry to ink is a big step for me. I just started writing, beginning with the idea of a flock of fairies, and here’s what came out:
(I’m warning you, this is a very silly poem, but I’m sharing it because I think it gets a point across.)
I met a flock of fairies while roaming in the wood.
They told me if I was patient and very, very good
They would bring me to their fairy king and he’d have me for his bride
And though I didn’t believe them I felt a bit of pride.
I strolled along beside them pretending to be queen.
I pinched my cheeks, and primped my hair and like a peacock preened.
The fairies, they did giggle, a humor to their glow
But I paid no mind to them, I was putting on a show.
We came at last to Mirror Lake and there I saw afloat
A silver barge, a galley grand, and many other boats.
“Go on up,” the fairies said. “He’s waiting for you there.
You’ll know him when you see him for the crown upon his hair.”
Those fairies they were giggling still as I climbed upon the barge,
But I let them have their bit of fun and wore a smile large.
Never trust a fairy, I know that’s what you think
And sure enough I ended up just splashing in the the drink.
But let me tell you something I learned upon that day:
It’s always fun to play with fairies no matter what you play.
Let them have their little tricks, their games and jokes and pranks,
And if you even end up wet, you’ll still be saying thanks.
Get it? I didn’t, not until I sat down to transcribe it here (because I knew a couple of you would want to hear the poem). Fairies or art journals: it doesn’t matter what you end up with, so long as you’re having fun along the way. That’s today’s lesson, folks. Sorry you had to survive the bad poetry to get it!