Monday, October 29, 2012

Book Review: Alternative Art Journals

A few weeks ago, I received a complimentary copy of the new book, Alternative Art Journals by Margaret Peot and I was fully prepared to write a carefully measured and objective review but let me just say that I love this book! I also need to say that even in the glut of art technique books on the market, I think there are few geared towards advanced art journalers.  Personally, I'm not interested in shallow eye candy books or books that trudge through oft-trudged material (i.e. how to use an old credit card to create backgrounds.) I am looking for books that challenge me, that offer a different approach.

Now that my bias is out of the way, let's take a look at what this book is about and what you can find within its pages. 

Theme:

In short, Alternative Art Journals is all about creating new formats and containers for your journaling.  In Ms. Peot's words: 
This book will show you a wide variety of ways to collect and express your ideas.  You will not learn how to make finished artwork, but rather alternative ways of collecting and storing your creativity and inspirations along your journey to self-expression. 

Contents:

In this book, you'll find inspiration for creating journals that hold a collection of items such as an altered accordion-file folder, shoebox, or a bound envelopes journal.  Chapter Three discusses ideas for journals made up of individual cards and Chapter Four is all about journals that roll out, fan out or fold out.  I love Chapter Five, "Correspondence Art Journals" because it gives lots of ideas for collecting old-school correspondence like letters and postcards.   Subsequent chapters discuss journals housed in boxes or tins, faux scrapbooks that tell the story of a fictional family, and journals made up of tags or charms.

Techniques:  

Scattered throughout the book are a variety of techniques for creating journal structures (i.e. scrolls, Tibetan books, or simple boxes.)  You'll also find some instructions for creating images that can become the beginning of a journal.  I played around with one such activity "Creating Appaloosa Stone Tags."  In addition, inspired by one of the author's creations, I created some watercolor "eyes," swirling pigment and water around in quiet bliss.  I'm not sure yet what I'll do with the end results but the process was fun & fulfilling.  


Additional Notes:

I also have to say that the writing prompts and journal content suggestions (provided in words or via photos) in Alternative Art Journals are superb!  Ms. Peot works in New York as a costume painter for Broadway, dance companies, television, film and the circus.  Her imagination shines through in the prompts and projects she showcases, challenging readers to flex their creative writing muscles.  In my opinion, this is the book's primary strength and definitely something I've been looking for in a journaling technique book.

Criticisms:

At times, I felt the organization of this book was confusing, largely a result of some of the chapter headings.  For example, Chapter One is titled "Traditional Sketchbooks" but all it really contains is two demonstrations of background techniques that can be used in any journal, traditional or alternative.  Chapter Two, titled "Shoebox Weeks: Collections Art Journals" is different from Chapter 6, "Box Art Journals."  I'm sure that continued perusal will build familiarity with the format and resolve any lingering confusion.  However, I did want to note any negative impressions of this book.

In Sum:

All in all, I feel my journaling practice will benefit from having Alternative Art Journals in what I call "My Essential Library."  I've been ready for a while to take my journaling to the next level and this book will be accompanying me on that journey.

21 comments:

  1. I love your honest review, and the book sounds interesting to say the least! Thank you for the chance at the giveaway! Your work is brilliant as always as I see in your older posts.

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  2. Ooo, thanks for such a cool giveaway! This book sounds awesome and right up my alley!

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  3. Love your reviews! This looks interesting. Thanks for the opportunity to win.

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  4. The book looks inspirational! Thanks for the opportunity to win such a great prize! -- Tina

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  5. I am interesting in the ideas for non-traditional "binding" ie: tins, etc. Sometimes the things you want to include do not lend themselves easily to book form. Looks like an interesting book and as far as I am concerned, there can never be too many art journalling books-I like peeking at what other people have done!

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  6. Not in Canada but appreciate great book reviews, so heads up!

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  7. Cool book, Michelle! Thanks for the review and the giveaway!

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  8. Thanks for giving this informational review of this book. I would love to win it.

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  9. I'd love a copy of this book, it sounds right up my alley since I have many of the same thoughts as you do towards eye candy books or ones that teach the same things.

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  10. This sounds really interesting. A great book to own. I would love to win a copy. Thanks for offering it to your readers. susann

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  11. Thanks for your review. The fact that you think this book will help you grow in your journaling journey, which seems thoughtful and serious to me, impresses me and makes my want to read it.

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  12. oh, thank you so much for considering not-US-residents, too!
    I live in Italy :)
    The book is lovely!

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  13. I really appreciate your thoughtful and enthusiastic review. I've stopped getting more art journaling books because they all seem to have same techniques just different pictures, but this one seems to be more appealing. I'd love to win a copy thanks for giveaway!

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  14. Thanks. For the review. It sounds like a book I will want to read!

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  15. I would love to win, I live in Canada, your book review was really good

    lee

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  16. This looks great! I agree with your statement about the more "fluffy" books geared to newbies... not that there's anything wrong with that, but I would enjoy something more challenging. Thanks for the contest!

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  17. Peot's book was so good that after I gave away the reivew copy, I purchased one for myself. I've done some of the work in it, and it's great! Meanwhile, congratulations to you for being in Featuring #2. I'm doing a giveaway on my blog tomorrow.

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  18. I would love to check out a book that is for more advanced art journalers. I have been looking for ways to reinvigorate and liven up my journal practice these days, so this book sounds like it would be ideal for this. Thanks for the giveaway and review!

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  19. Oh, I would love to win this great book! Thank you!

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  20. Just found your blog and I am already intrigued. I have the same issue with a lot of the books out there -- same techniques. Thanks for the opportunity to win the book, and I look forward to following your blog.

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  21. Thanks for review! I just found your blog and would love to win this book. I am still trying to get the courage to journal everyday. I have done about 4 pages! You are soooo talented I love your work!!

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Thank you for visiting my blog and taking a moment to comment! If you would like a response to a specific question, you are welcome to email me directly at lostcoastpost@suddenlink.net

Thank you again for the time you've spent here. Most sincerely, Michelle

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