Goal Reached: Master Level

Today I’m sending a finished journal to Art Journaling Magazine.  This is a goal I set for myself last year—to create a journal to their specifications, send it in, and see if my work is publishable.

It’s taken seven months to complete, which is about twice as long as it usually takes me to fill a journal.  That’s because it pushed my envelope like silly putty.

The book itself was a beautifully crafted, handmade journal with pages of mulberry paper that I bought a long time ago and never used.  Mulberry paper is handmade, wispy with lots of long fibers.  Pretty, but hard to write on.  I had to Frankenstein it to make the pages semi-workable, and then I added scraps of watercolor paper with the noble intention of doing a lot of my own drawing and sketching.  Not only did that not happen, it just added to the bulk and weirdness of the pages.

As per publishing requirements, a submitted journal must not use copyrighted material in the artwork (which means no Pretend Boyfriends, evocative National Geographic images or current advertising—basically, everything in my arting arsenal).

Sorry, Boys







I struggled with this monster for months, and then the binding broke.  Suddenly I could breathe.

I started journaling differently, using my words as design instead of Great Thoughts that needed to be preserved.  I wrote over previous entries, then wrote over them again.  I wrote on napkins and tissue paper that made the words practically disappear when glued to a painted page.  When written over and over with different pens, different colors, the background takes on a lovely Serial Killer vibe.  Mixed with the right images and some cheesecloth scrap, I found a whole new way of evoking Crazy (my favorite topic).

I’d go to antique malls and use whatever I found.  Mixed with a few scraps of my own, I could still tickle myself and make pages with hats.  Putting hats on critters just makes my day.

I found these girls and a deck of Slap Jack when I visited my sister over Christmas.  I made this spread while I was there, and it’s still one of my favorites.

I sent along a query letter with several proposals for articles—about how hard this was, about art journaling as therapy, about shifting from Writer to Artist, and the thoughts and techniques that went into some of the spreads.  I covered all my bases.  And if the good folks at Stampington and Company send my journal back with a “Thanks, but no thanks” note, I’ll still be satisfied.  I met a Big Goal.  I stretched as an artist.  It’s ALL good.


27 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Michelle at The Green Study
    Jan 29, 2018 @ 09:07:23

    Congrats, Sandy! Inspiring to the rest of us who are goal-challenged at the moment.


  2. BipolarOnFire
    Jan 29, 2018 @ 09:22:30

    I love everything about this


  3. jinjerstanton
    Jan 29, 2018 @ 11:45:08

    Unfrigging believable! I cannot imagine how I would even start something like this. I’ve felt this since you first started this art form. I am in awe. Humbly yours . . .


  4. pegoleg
    Jan 29, 2018 @ 12:55:08

    Love your slap jack hat chicks. I hope this publication gets smart and takes you on – what a fabulous accomplishment!


  5. Linda Noel Schierman
    Jan 29, 2018 @ 22:11:07

    Yes, this IS huge — a project, a goal, staying in the parameters, persevering, showing up and showing up, arrghhhhh …. and then your Artist breakthrough! and then all the Marvelousnes you created after that broken binding! My only concern: will the postal people be able to read the stunning address to the Stamping Place??!
    😉 You made digital photos of every bit of it, right?


    • Sandy Sue
      Jan 30, 2018 @ 12:42:56

      My “Mail Art” is super realistic compared to others I’ve seen (and got where it was supposed to go). Plus, the postal worker said, “Cool” when he processed it. So all is good.


  6. Writer Lori
    Jan 30, 2018 @ 07:43:46

    Terrific work, Sandy, and what an accomplishment! Fingers crossed that the good folks of Stampington and Co. recognize great art journaling when they see it!! 🙂


    • Sandy Sue
      Jan 31, 2018 @ 08:25:33

      “Real” artists use journals to experiment and test out ideas, products, etc. Then there are folk who only do artful art journaling. Neither of thos look much like my stuff, so I’m hoping that will catch their attention.


  7. Littlesundog
    Jan 30, 2018 @ 09:37:14

    I love your unique and jaw-dropping style of art. It’s freakin stunning and delightful! I loved the part about the binding breaking and, “Suddenly I could breathe.” It’s very liberating to lose something, only to discover a new, and maybe better way.


  8. Nancy Plagman
    Jan 31, 2018 @ 15:12:36

    Wow, Sandy, I like it! Good luck, keep us posted!!! Nancy


  9. Val Boyko
    Feb 01, 2018 @ 11:10:46

    Congratulations Sandy❣️It looks and sounds spectacular. I hope you get a positive response 😊


  10. Kitt O'Malley
    Feb 04, 2018 @ 16:45:37

    Love, love, love your art journal. If the folks at Stampington & Co don’t adore it, I’ll take a short trip to Laguna Hills (I live in neighboring Mission Viejo) and set them straight.


  11. marandarussell
    Feb 09, 2018 @ 21:49:45

    Looks great! I hope they use your stuff!


  12. Angela
    Feb 22, 2018 @ 09:34:10

    How incredibly BRAVE!!!! I love your work and thank you so much for sharing it here. I hope you get published and I hope you will let everyone know WHEN you do!


    • Sandy Sue
      Feb 22, 2018 @ 16:11:34

      I received an email from the magazine last week. While they consider my journal for the Summer issue, they wondered if I would let them publish the box I sent it in in the Mail Art column of the Spring issue. Pleased as punch, I am.


  13. journalingart
    Mar 01, 2018 @ 11:48:25

    Beautiful journaling. I just found your blog and so happy I did. I love to keep an art journal. Your journaling is very inspiring.


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