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book review:Dreaming from the journal page

Dreaming from the journal page
by Melanie Testa

Paperback:128 pages
Publisher:North Light Books (May 8,2012)

This book covers everything you’ll want to know about how to begin your art making journey through the pages of your sketchbook.  Broken into 5 main categories opening with a chapter on “the what” Melanie starts with a  choosing a journal,paints &brushes,pens &pencils,glues and more.  You’ll find a very helpful chart that cross references techniques with both paper and cloth so you can see at a glance which techniques are compatible with paper or cloth and in some cases both.

Chapter 2 is all about color and she has several fun and easy exercises designed to help you get to know the colors in your paint box and how they interact with each other when mixed.  Learn wet and dry techniques for working with watercolor and for those who want to incorporate textiles into their art journaling she has directions for easy low water immersion fabric dyeing techniques that include how to create two color gradations and how to create your own hand dyed color wheel.

Chapter 3 is jam packed with techniques that include working with resists such as frisket and mediums,transfers using tracing paper and saral paper,carving your own stamps and making them from fun foam as  well as working with a ruling pen and stencils and more.  You’ll also find a section on soy wax and how to use it as a resist on both paper and fabric.

There are tips and techniques for drawing covered in chapter 4.  She starts with some simple loosening up techniques and learn some easy shading techniques and then moves into some fun and easy drawing exercises that are sure to inspire you to pick up the pencil and start drawing.  For those of you who prefer using stitch as your drawn line you’ll find directions for using your sewing machine to draw your images on cloth to create stitched outlines you can add color to later using the techniques from Chapter 3.

The last chapter is the “Throw Downs” chapter and it’s here where Melanie encourages you to create journal pages rich with imagery and complexity by combining and layering the techniques that she’s covered in the first four chapters of the book.  You’ll find single,double and triple technique challenges that are designed to help take the guesswork and fear out of where to begin and which techniques to combine with each other.  The gallery of Melanie’s work at the back of the book is rich with eye candy and is sure to inspire.

Melanie has an easy conversational tone that makes the book an enjoyable and engaging read and the entire book is illustrated with clear,bright,beautiful photographs of step by step directions,examples and artwork. This book is sure to become the one “must have” book for art journalers so whether you’re a beginning or experienced art journaler I highly recommend adding this book to you personal library!

4 comments to book review:Dreaming from the journal page

  • I’ve been resisting journaling,but since I love to make books it seems a natural progression to leap from blanks to journals. The Sketchbook Challenge ( thank you Sue) and Jane Davies’Sketchbook Practice class have helped me over my fear of marring the blank page so I am eager for Melanie’s latest nudge into journaling.

    Julie-Anne McDonald

  • Great to read your review. Going to order it now!

  • Jeannie

    Melanie’s book is one that I knew I would order as soon as she announced she was writing it. The excitement built,but there is always that question in the back of your mind –will it be as good as I hope it will be? I opened the package and the book “felt”right in my hand. Then I started my usual routine of scan the photos and phrases that jump off the page. Melanie’s book exceeded my expectations. I agree,it will become a classic for those wanting to enter the world of journaling or for those wishing to challenge themselves.

  • Sandy Jandik

    She does seem to be a delightful teaching,so the book must be too.