Monday, January 17, 2011

"Real Life Journals. Designing and Using Handmade Books" by Gwen Diehn Published by Lark Books

 * * * * *
  • Hardcover: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Lark Books;  (August 3, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1600594921
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600594922
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 9.3 x 0.9 inches

Gwen Diehn is one of my favorite journal artists. She is the author if the "Decorated Page", among others,  which is one of my all time favorite books about journaling.

Real Life Journals is mostly about the business of making and designing journals for your artwork. I have to confess that I am not that tempted to make my journals - but this is probably one of the most creative, well written and illustrated, book son the subject that you will find. That being said, aside from the construction of the journals the book  includes a  lot of creative, useful tid-bits about the art of journaling itself. 

The inside front flap includes a mini-book-in-a-pocket-titled "Choose Your Own Bookbinding Adventure. The enclosed booklet is a very handy that leads you through the basics by asking questions and then a "if yes turn to page____, if no, turn to page___" formula that I like a lot. The back flap provides an excellent foldout chart entitled "Book Binding Essentials" - and it explains, just as it says, the basics to get you going on your journal". This is an extremely well presented, well thought out volume. I am always particularly pleased with the format and high quality of Lark Books. When they publish a book - they make everything pretty special.

The table of contents pretty well spells it out:
Design Inventory
Personal Journals
The Basics
Bookbinding Instruction (16 different methods)
Cover Instructions
Journals Past and Present

What the Tale Of Contents does not tell you about, however, is the wealth of ideas for journaling that the book includes. Watercolor, pencil, writing paired with sketches - so many great ideas on how to fill the pages of the journal that you make. I love this book - as I do all of Gwen Diehn's work. If you want to start your own journaling adventure this is the book to get. It's chock full of information and ideas that are beautifully presented. Just paging through the book can make you happy - and motivated.

For me journaling is a way to to gauge where I am by being able to see, and read about, where I've been. Journaling gives a perspective on my life that I find invaluable. I bet it would be for you to! Check out the price too - it's a real bargain now!


I am honestly not sure if this book was provided to me by the publisher  (since I do review books for Lark from time to time)for the purpose of an honest review - or if I purchased the book myself (which is what I think I did). Either way, my review is honest - I loved the book!

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