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Helen Capewell
OCA Learning Log
Student Number: 522802
Degree: Illustration
Current Level: 2

Exercise 5.3

Updated: Sep 20, 2021

Constructing a Visual Journal


My understanding here is to create a journal based on my journey so far using the works I've collected through the duration? Make notes besides drawings and include my action plan for going forward. Like a "How it started vs How it's going" meme.


I didn't want to destroy sketchbooks that I had used just to reassemble them for this exercise. It felt a shame to ruin moments captured loosely and in a scattered manner and re organise the originals into another format, and so decided to print work instead.


Part 1 of this course was probably the most exciting for me, well a few sections in different parts were also exciting, but part 1 I did something I hand't done before. I made a sketchbook from paper bags and filled it. It's something I like to hold, something I like look at and the work inside actually feels ok. I like the artists I researched, the images I had collected as examples, and overall felt this was a highlight. Feeling inspired by the process through this part, I decided on creating my visual journal in a similar style. I revisited the research I had gathered, and looked at the options on building a bounded book of some description. I then went on a scavenger hunt to find different surfaces I could use.




Without really having correct tools to make this an easy bound, I resorted to using a trusty screwdriver to punch holes through each pieces of paper. As some were thicker than others, this was a little challenge to get through!



What would make my life easier is if I had a thick needle that fits thicker string. At first I tried using parcel string used for wrapping, it would fit the holes nicely, however I very quickly learnt that it was going to be almost impossible to feed it through the paper without the assistance of a needle. Instead I had to raid my sewing set for some thin thread and a tiny needle as it was all I had available. I doubled the thread so it gave it a little more strength, and then embarked on my bounding. I would have liked to have used thicker string but this worked enough.


I found this super useful video on YouTube on how to make a Japanese 4-hole bounding technique. I really love how this looks, and I am pleased with the result.



I was pleased with getting it bounded, though it didn't come without the odd obstacle! Firstly, the paper was possibly too thick for such a small tight bound (the video leaves an inch from the edge, I am about a centimetre away). I had to bend the pages inside to make it easier to function as a book once it was bound, otherwise it looked as though it would tear through. It does feel a little insecure when operating, you do be cautious when turning pages, but it will hold up. To be safe, I added thermal tape to seal off the end which I hope would keep it bounded.


The final book:



The paper inserts I used are a mix of thick all purpose paper ripped from my A3 sketchbook, a brown paper bag and another cream paper that I had previously tested colours on. Those were going to be ground I would build my journal on. Now to print what I want to include!


Because the yellow spray paint became a reoccurring favourite throughout this course, I decided to cover every other page as a base to work on. This, as I have learnt, takes away the pressure of starting a fresh blank page. It has helped me break this impression that everything needs to be perfect, the page is already dirty, so I can add more dirt!



For the other pages I combined the ink block with the ink nib to see what results I could get when mixing them both. I felt as though I was able to bring an element of design to the pages as I made decisions on where to draw whilst thinking ahead on how I would lay the images. I'm really pleased with the results so far! Almost feel to leave it as it is without the wording, but I will finish it off with a few quotes and thoughts.



















A video look through the pages:




I had my doubts about this exercise, but it has been one of my favourites. I really love how this one came out, and I very much enjoyed the process. There's something rewarding about making your own book from start to finish. It was great to be able to think about the design of the book, the layout and how I was going to apply the wording along side the images.


The final page is empty, it awaits the final piece from the assignment which I will add to close the door on this course.


It has really inspired me to want to make more hand made books like this. Filling them up with photos and illustrations joint with quotes or other meaningful thoughts that suit. I just like the idea of making complete books based on themes. I might consider making another as part of the final assignment.


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