There’s nothing quite so intimidating as a blank page. Except, maybe, the first blank page of a brand new journal or sketchbook. I don’t know why it’s so terrifying to make that first mark, but I experience a distinct feeling of dread blended with uncertainty mixed with more than a dash of insecure anxiety when I crack open a new journal. That’s true even though I’ve managed to fill dozens of journals over the years.
Dad came out for a visit to my place in Canmore and we spent almost a week together making marks and experimenting with new mixed media techniques. One of the first things we did was head down to Policeman’s Creek and Spring Creek to do some rubbings on the big flat stones and the weathered wooden railings beside the creek.
We weren’t intending to use the rubbings by themselves, but rather as elements in another project.
Crayon Rubbings on Stone
Though the patterns were random, a couple of them immediately suggested natural forms – mountain ranges and river deltas. Having something to start with made a huge difference when it came time to sit down and start to work. Over the next week we layered our rubbings (done with peeled wax crayons on plain old copy paper) as backgrounds, cut them up and used them as textured layers in mixed media pieces, and then filed the extras for future projects.
Meanwhile, back at the condo, we transformed the place into a wild and wonderful (and very messy!) creation space!
What we didn’t worry about was where we were going… we both just dived in (dove in?) and tried a whole bunch of stuff… Some worked, some didn’t, but along the way we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, playing and experimenting.
Tip of the Day: Cheat
If you really can’t bring yourself to make a mark on the first page of a brand new book, create something on a piece of separate paper and then glue it in. That’s what I did with my new Art Journal/Sketchbook (see the Paris mixed media page above). And, once that first page had something on it, I was off to the races and have already filled the next several pages! Another trick is just to leave the first page blank (for now) and come back to it later. Perhaps your journal will develop a theme and then you can do a title page that suits the content several weeks (months) down the road.
I have several journals where the first page is still blank, years after I started them.
Do you struggle with figuring out what to put on that first page? How do you overcome that block? Add a comment below – I’m always curious to hear how others deal with getting started…
Come! Join Us: Create in Provence!!
Want to come play with us and learn all kinds of tips and tricks for banishing that fear of creating something – anything – to break in that new notebook? Check out our creativity retreat in France next spring!