Sunday, May 1, 2016

Alicia's Aquarium Journal -Wrap - Up

This is the 6th time I have participated in IFJM. I didn’t get my inspiration for my theme this year until a few days before I needed to start. Although Roz suggested “a shift in place “ I decided to do a storied theme like I have done in the past. My character was working in an aquarium. I started by compiling a list of creatures that would be found in an aquarium and possible events that would take place there. For each sea creature I selected I did some research on facts or something that could be put in as a detail in the story. I did use photo references that were “royalty free” if possible and if not I changed the image as well as the setting quite a bit. At times I wasn’t sure I would have enough creatures for each day of the month, so I perused many aquarium websites for creatures to include. I ended up having one possible post that I didn’t use. I knew I had to be willing to do quite a bit of research to make this work, but I knew it would be worth it.
As the month went on I had a serious family medical problem to deal with. My father-in-law was at the end of his days with cancer, and my husband and I were helping out at his apartment nearly every day. I just brought along my computer and sketchpad and worked on the journal when he was sleeping. I think it was good for me because it gave me something I could control and concentrate on in the middle of a terrible time. He passed away on Thursday. While I was there and he was still aware of what was happening, he enjoyed seeing the pages I was creating.
I am happy with the way my journal came out. There are several things I need to remember or think about for next year.
• The sketchbook I was using didn’t have enough pages so I bought a second one thinking I would just add the additional pages to the spiral as I did in the past. However I didn’t get the second sketchbook until I had already started the journal and will now have to remove all the pages from the filled one and put the last 4 pages behind them so they are all together. Maybe I should just do individual pages and have them bound at Staples after I finish.
• When I was nearly done I wished I had used a material that was different from what I usually work with. I always use watercolors and some ink. I rarely experiment or go out of my comfort zone. Maybe next time I will think about using gouache instead, since I have wanted to experiment with that for a while. Working on a collaged background might be fun too.
My thanks to Roz and all the participants. It has been a joy to follow your journals this month! There were days that I was able to find time to comment, but not always…be assured that I did look even if I didn’t comment. It is great to be in the company of so many talented people.
When I have a bit more time I will go to Roz’s page and find the blogs that are listed and revisit them to read them together. I hope to see all of you back for IFJM 2017!


  1. What a wonderful journal you've created Joan. You research paid off... I learned a TON! And that you could do all this while coping with your father-in-law... well, I'm impressed. I'll be following your "real" blog until we can meet up again next April!

    Just a thought... I've taken the spiral binding off two sketchbooks and joined them into one using those binder rings you can get at office supply stores. They just loop though the ring holes and clip together. They come in bright colors too!

  2. Thanks for that idea, Dana. I'll have to check that out!

  3. Great journal, Joan! I enjoyed reading about all your sea creatures.