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.
Giveaway: ENTRIES ARE CLOSED!If you made it through this lengthy review, congratulations! Now, if you reside in the United States or Canada, leave a comment on this post and you'll be entered to win a copy of Alternative Art Journals provided by the author's publicity agency. A winner will be chosen at random on Friday, November 2 at which point you'll have 48 hours to provide me with your name and mailing address.
Note: Although the book giveaway is only available to residents of the U.S. and Canada, I don't want to leave out my international readers so if you live overseas, please feel free to add a comment and I'll put together a wee goodie bundle for an international reader chosen at random on Friday as well!