Sunday, April 19, 2009

Fake Journal

Since April Fool’s evening, I’ve been keeping an International Fake Journal for the month, suggested and encouraged by Roz Stendahl ( My best creative work usually arrives from not thinking too much so I decided at the last moment to dive into this. Near the end of the day, I looked on my shelf for a blank journal, and got out a Sakura Pigma Micron black pen, brought up a photo I’d take on an Irish beach, and began—gasp!—sketching.

I don’t sketch! Well, I did play around with drawing when I bought the original Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. But I haven’t done much since, except when I sketch an idea in my Art Idea notebook. I don’t really count that as sketching because I’m not looking at anything as a guide to the drawing.

But, as soon as I did the first sketch, I turned the page and wrote the first entry. Slowly, a story unfolded, written by a married Irishwoman. The next day I discovered she had three children. Using either a photo of mine or one from a book, I would sketch an Irish scene. The next time I opened my book, something new would appear from the pen.

So, who is she? Her name is Ashling McDurmut, which means “dream” in Gaelic (perfect since she’s my made up dream person), she’s in her thirties, married to Ryan; their children are Sean Patrick, Ann, and little Kerry. The year is 1961. Frequently, Ashling doesn’t have time to finish a sketch or journal entry. Her husband wants another child but she does not want a large family, even though three isn’t considered large by any means in her time and place.

Choosing a blank book I haven't worked in before—a small Hand artist’s journal (3½" × 5½", portrait orientation) with a green cover (perfect!)--I find the paper is good for sketching but the Micron pens (05 and 02) are very scratchy for writing.

Last week I tested some Sakura Brush pigment pens, something new to me that I really liked, and was tempted to introducing them into the fake journal by suggesting Ashling received a gift of watercolors. But, I decided to keep this fake journal pure with just the black ink pens, which would be in any case heads and tails above anything available in her era.

Although we have little in common, although we are separated by time, culture, distance, and of course, reality, I think we have a connection.

I like Ashling and I’m enjoying my first fake journal.


  1. Excellent fake journal! You were so brave to jump in and try this challenge! I like the idea of a fake journal, because I think we might end up learning a lot more about ourselves as we live someone else's life!!!

  2. This is just such a cool idea! And I love what you're doing with it. Very inspiring.

  3. I really enjoyed the story.

  4. My Gosh, you're a natural at this.
    What a great imagination.
    Keep up the excellent sketching and faking.
    Happy days,

  5. What a wonderful, wonderful idea! I love the story that's spilling onto your pages, and the beautiful sketches. I'm itching to give this a try now.

  6. Hi Gina, thank you so for stopping by my blog & for your lovely words, so good to know folk are getting enjoyment from my ol photos. i love this idea of a fake journal, i have tried & am again in the process of trying to keep an arty journal ( feel it would be fittin as i am a visual person) but the perfectionist bit of me does cause problems!! maybe this would help me break the pattern. I am off to look at more of your work, love your creative explorations too.

  7. I had such fun with the fake journal, Mixed Media Martyr, it didn’t seem like any act of bravery to do. You are so right—I learned a lot about myself as well as had a different perspective on another’s life and problems.

    Hi Angela,
    This was so much fun to do! I encourage you to try your hand at it sometime.

    Thanks for visiting Sandy. The neat part about the story is that it arrived as I set pen to paper.

    Thanks for the encouragement, Joanie.

    Don’t let anything hold you back, BelleEnchanted. It’s way too much fun to have to wait another whole year to begin a fake journal.

    Hi Ruthie. Hope you can shoo away that perfectionist part of yourself. It would often defeat me in writing, but I have the upper hand in art! Thanks so much for visiting as I love looking at your blog across the big water.