I thought you might be interested to see how I create my journals. It is quite a lengthy process that occurs both on the computer and in the real world.

I begin by thinking about topics or themes I’d be interested in researching. Having got a theme, I create a color palette and if it requires specific fonts, than I source those. I create a digital cover design as I have the covers printed by Spoonflower, and it can take a week or so for the fabric to arrive. It is in the process of finding a photo or drawing and fonts that the concept for the journal really starts to solidify in my mind.

I look for sketches and public domain art that could possibly be incorporated, then start to lay out the pages. I often use drawings as brushes in Photoshop, so you may notice an image is used several times and in different ways. As these journals are intended to be used, I also look out for pieces of my own art and papers I’ve collected over the years that might fit in with the theme. I have created a number of templates for creating ephemera, so open those files and slide in designs and drawings behind to see which ones work best. Finally I print out all the pages on nice paper and trim them to size, then print the ephemera on card and cut that out and fold it as needed. Below you can see pages, words, cards and some tags I created for the black and white journal.

With the ephemera and pages cut out, I create the cover. The designs are printed on canvas, but to make them sturdier, iron on heavy interfacing and additionally reinforce the area where the pages will be sewn in. I add a loop of elastic to hold a pen, then sew the parts together, turn them right sides out and sew up the gap. Here you can see the finished cover before the pages are sewn in.





The next task is to create a pattern for sewing in the sets of pages, or signatures. I have decided to add 4 signatures, each holding 10-12 pages depending on the thickness of the paper and card. I punch the sewing pattern into each central page and also onto the cover. I use bookbinding thread to hold the pages securely and sew using five holes so each page is securely fastened inside the journal. Below you can see the journal when the pages are sewn in and also the view from the top:

Now comes the fun part, deciding what to add to the pages to create secret places to write or tuck in =notes, cards, or mementos of your own. I want you to make the journal your own so while I aim to add all kinds of elements for you to enjoy, I don’t want to set it up so you can only use it in one way. My goal is to create a journal that is personal to you. You may use the elements I add, but want you to choose how to sue them. This journal has a number of sketches and designs I created for coloring books, so if you like to do small colorings, there will be little treats scattered through the journal for you to find.

Next time I will show you how I add to the pages and create places to encourage you to write and preserve your memories. Since this book is all black and white – except for the beak and feet of the puffin on the cover – if you like color, there is plenty of space for you to add it!