The Decorated Journal

The Decorated Journal: Creating Beautifully Expressive Journal Pages
-by Gwen Diehn

Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Lark Books; New Ed edition (August 28, 2006)
ISBN-10: 1579909566 / ISBN-13: 978-1579909567


comprehensive and enjoyable workshop in a book

The Decorated Journal attests that Gwen Diehn, not only competent at binding and embellishing beautiful books, also finds her niche in writing them. From the first page onward, it is evident that Diehn, who teaches journal-creation itself as an art form, takes great pride in sharing the details of her creative knowledge and experience, as much as she enjoys putting them to use.

In this inspiring companion to her previous book, The Decorated Page, Diehn effortlessly initiates and encourages the flow of creative juices with regards visual journaling (complementing descriptive text with visual art), beautifying and personalizing pages/covers, and basic book-binding as a form of artistic expression.

Brimming with instructional gems, each page — amply and colourfully illustrated with expressive images and beautiful examples of creative journal pages — builds gradually on the preceding pages, allowing the reader to progressively observe how the core pieces of the project fit together and visualize the finished product.

The Decorated Journal includes various uses of materials such as watercolour, pastels, coloured pencils, crayons, liquid acrylics, ink, and a vast array of techniques to get the most out of your materials. Also helpful are Diehn’s detailed and practical comparisons of various types/weight of paper, varieties of adhesives, and brushes. Other design suggestions include the use of cut-outs, copier transfers, gouache, collage, colour washes, stamping, etc., to enhance the beauty and interest of your journal. The author touches upon dry/wet processes, use of transparencies and drop shadows to add an interesting dimension to the journal’s pages.

One of the book’s highlights is the comprehensive section on creating an actual journal from scratch, using basic easy-to-find materials. Even the most hesitant of bookbinders will appreciate the chapter entitled “The Reluctant Bookbinder” which walks you through the fundamentals: an easy-to-complete 3-minute pamphlet, the 6-minute double pamphlet, the 30-minute multiple pamphlet journal, and ultimately, the beautiful yet functional 2-hour leather-bound journal. Diehn’s tips are also helpful in customizing an unimaginative store-bought blank book that could use a personal touch. Instructions also include altering book covers or using an old book cover to create a new blank book.

Diehn generously offers her readers a comprehensive workshop in a book, which will be sure to delight journal enthusiasts. Whether you are a novice or “journal veteran”, an occasional journal reader/writer or an avid daily archivist, The Decorated Journal will prove to be a valuable creative resource, overflowing with inspiration and imaginative ideas.

— Reviewed for Sterling Publishing Co., NY

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