An Old New Path Begins: Part 3 - Giving the Journey a Name

After that initial journaling session on November 28, that one where I sat back when finished and exclaimed "Holy Sh*t! This is it!", I began serious consideration of where it was I thought I needed to go. I looked back through my old blog posts and old journal entries for confirmation and then I began to try and clarify the path. Here's some of the notes I took so you can see my thought process:

* Journaling (as I've done it before) = a representation of my voice, my story

* I am ready have been ready for something new.

* All roads have led here.
  • I want to tell the stories of others: characters I've known, loved and/or imagined
  • I need a process to communicate those journaling but not...
  • A marriage of two passions: 1) illustration 2) art journaling
  • Need a simple way to frame this concept
  • 1st word that came to mind: tribe (as in "Find Your Tribe")
  • Maybe not so much find as acknowledge the one already there...
  • I am not/have not been as alone as I thought I was...
  • My tribe has been with me since the beginning...the very beginning...aka childhood
Precedent exists:
  • My own work & words (Fiddlestick Hollow, World Within, blog, Year of Fairy Tale, 365 characters, monsters, robots, journal pages, sculpture work, Girl Who Spoke, Estrellas story etc) 
  • Other artists who create characters (ie. Karen O'Brien, Mindy Lacefield, Juliette Crane)
Important Criteria:
  • Structure + serendipity
  • Emphasis on illustration 
  • Messy mixed media approach mashed together with detailed drawings
  • Look behind to see ahead (the characters are already there; they just need release)
  • Still need a place for "me" (journaling within background...private...hidden)
  • Ultimately, MY OWN STYLE MUST DOMINATE - inspiration OK but needs to be viewed cautiously - look for generic technique not artist-specific steps

After a few days of thought-gathering, a word for all of this rose to the surface: Storybooking (aka "storybook journaling.") As a quick Google session revealed, it isn't a wholly new word. There are sites that use the term "storybooking" to describe the process of adding narrative to photo books and scrapbooks. And "storybooking" can be found in the Urban Dictionary, an online resource with often dubious information. I take that particular reference with a very large grain of salt. 

I am using "storybooking" in a completely different context, one that I could not find elsewhere so perhaps, I am coining something new. My search wasn't exhaustive so let me know if you've heard this word used in this way before. Here's my definition/description of storybooking:

Storybooking is a form of art journaling that focuses on character depiction and/or development; characters can be pulled from previously published classics or can be newly-invented. Storybook pages tell a character(s) story: broad or narrow, obvious or obscure. The journaler's own life and thoughts can be contained on the page but are subordinate to the character's tale. 

So why (you may ask), do I feel like I need a label for this process I am now exploring? I'm not angling to develop a product line, start a new trend, or trademark a word. This is strictly for my own edification. 

First, I want to distinguish what I am doing now from what I have done before so I can let go of that old way of thinking. New roads seem more comforting to travel down if they at least have a name. Secondly, an encompassing label/definition really helps clarify the clues my subconscious has been dropping for years. (Interestingly, my own brainstorming session revealed that I have several "storybooking" projects already in progress, dating back almost a decade. Time to revisit those old friends to see what I was trying to say to myself.)

Giving the process a name or definition doesn't add limits; in fact, I think I'm only doing this right if the road is always a mystery just around the bend. As I work, I can see a little ways ahead. I work towards the next curve, unsure if the path will turn left or right, remain straight, or turn back on itself. The path will be in constant flux. That is the way it should be.

And now, dear readers, I leave you until January. At that time, I'll reveal my storybook pages in full and babble on about where I'm at so far. Besides exploring this new direction, I'll also be visiting family, binging on Netflix, crafting, drinking copious amounts of cocoa, chai, and coffee, listening to the rain, planning lessons and blog posts, relaxing, and generally making mischief in the studio. I hope your holidays are filled with beauty, bliss, and bounty. 


Anonymous said…
Thanks for sharing your journey to your journey! I love the concept of "storybooking" and am looking forward to seeing where it has brought you so far. Enjoy your time away from the digital world!
Loulou in Texas said…
Thank you so much for taking the time to write such interesting, inspiring blogs to share with us. Reading the notes about your thought process made me think about how excited you must be to have this storybooking project being revealed to you. It's like your passion and energy are visibly bouncing there on the screen! So when you say that you'll be making mischief in your studio, I've just got this mental picture of you and your characters having a big holiday art party.

Wishing you peace, prosperity, happiness and good health,
Aimeslee Winans said…
Hi Michelle. I am happy for you that you've figured all this out. I like how you are using your own definition of storybooking. For the last year almost, I've been turning my old Southern Living cookbook annuals into altered books that tell stories using my stamps, collage images, drawings, etc. and my narrative. They are smallish books, 5.5x8". I haven't yet finished any of them, but plan to put them out as my version of coffee table books in my family room. So, like, I'm thinking that is MY version of what you are planning for yourself. Scrapbookers who use Stacy Julian's Photo Freedom method create scrapbooks based not on chronology but on stories using an mixture of photos needed to illustrate the stories. If anyone ever comes upon your journals in the future, they will want to know stories. They won't care what paper you used or supplies or style or technique, Same goes for fictional characters, I think. And I like just being whimsical about it all, too. Have a wonderful holiday! xoxo
Dorlene Durham said…
I started following your blog this year and truly enjoyed your work and posts. Creating ART is such a fabulous way to express oneself and I love how everyone's art is so individualized and inspiring. Happy Holidays to you and looking forward to another fabulous year of my own artistic endeavors and to get a peek into yours.


Take a peek into my art if you find any time.