Top critical review
21 people found this helpful
Homogenous collection of personal journals
on 25 September 2012
As someone who has recently started "art journalling" I have purchased a few books about techniques and some showcasing other artists' work, hoping for inspiration. I had high hopes for this book based on the reviews and the "look inside" (always much appreciated). Unfortunately I was terribly UNDERwhelmed by the variety and character of the work shown here. I kept turning the pages and encountering very similar work - almost as if half of the artists had attended a workshop together and employed the same techniques to their pages. Techniques like drawing wavy lines and hand-lettering variable sized text to fit in the lines; stamping 'headlines' in alphabet stamps; marking out 'calendar squares' on a page and writing short daily entries over a month; lots and lots and lots of pages covered in colour washes with inspirational words or quotes pasted on them....
And one of the last things I'd expect to ever hear myself complain about - but the majority of artists featured (at least 90%) are female. Generally injecting more female power into any perspective is a positive, however in this case I feel that it contributes to the sense of homogeneity that pervades this collection. The work here is very skewed towards people who are making their personal journals artistic, rather than artists who are keeping personal journals. For me, this was probably the key to the problem. If the title were "1000 ARTISTIC Journal Pages" it would be much more accurate. I'm not keen to say who is an artist and who isn't - we all have some creative ability and should be encouraged to express it. I would not call myself an "artist" (I could probably be defined as someone trying to make a personal journal artistic!) but my heart yearned for more variety and inspiration than I found in this book. Also it's worth mentioning that due to the number (1000) of pages displayed, they are small - on average four journal pages to one page of this book, and many artists have multiple pages represented. There is no information about the artists but there is a list of names, with web site links where available at the back. I am sure there are people who will find this book fits the bill but it's not what I needed.
Personally I found An Illustrated Life: Drawing Inspiration from the Private Sketchbooks of Artists, Illustrators and Designers to be much more inspirational, varied and exciting - and it includes short interviews with the artists who answer questions about their journals, what notebooks they use - and in some cases includes photos of their workspaces and collections of note/sketchbooks.