Journaling into Spring with Helen Colebrook

Journaling with Helen Colebrook

Journaling is not going away. Not that we want it to..! Far from being a flash in the pan, it has fast become an intrinsic part of many people's lives; it's become a habit, a bit like brushing teeth or putting the bins out on a Thursday (other bin days exist). Some just use it as a way of keeping tabs on what needs to be done; others find it hugely beneficial in improving and maintaining their mental health; still more simply see it as a creative outlet, one that also has a practical application. And no doubt there's a fair few who see it as an excellent excuse to feed their stationery obsession. But we don't mind why people journal; we just like to be able to keep them equipped, especially when journaling involves such a lovely range of stationery!

Those who journal will be familiar with Journal with Purpose and Helen Colebrook; her creative, imaginative, visually-pleasing approach has inspired countless people to take up journaling. And what better time to take up a new hobby than right now? It's March, it's springtime (yes it is, despite this incessant rain) and the daffs and primroses are putting in appearances so we thought we'd go a bit botanical and invite Helen along to show us how to 'springify' our journals.

As some of us are - let's say - artistically-challenged, our first port of call was Helen's gorgeous book, which is full of illustrations, doodles and banners, including lots of plant-based examples.

Rhodia GoalbookRhodia's Goalbook is Helen's notebook of choice. The dotgid layout is versatile and user-friendly, and they're available with both hardback and flexible covers, and with white as well as cream paper. If you're worried about using watercolour pens or fineliners in them, don't be. Says Helen, 'The paper quality is superb. You can use a wide range of pens and inks, with no worries about bleed-through or ghosting.' And it won’t get damaged by mt tape, either, as the tape is low-tack and easy to peel off.

An obvious pen to use for the delicate process of producing a flower is Tombow's ABT Brush Pen and Helen's special selection was to hand. Helen says: 'They're perfect for brush lettering, colouring and using for fun watercolour-style projects.' One such project involves a bit of Cellophane (but anything with a plasticky surface will do). Simply scribble on it with an ABT of choice and then use a waterbrush to pick up the colour before applying it to your journal. Another, slightly more foolproof method, means simply turning over the coloured-on Cellophane and squishing it onto paper to create an instant watercolour effect. If you then want to add a bit of detail, to accentuate a bud, for example, or stamens, use a Winsor & Newton fineliner; as they're waterproof they won’t smudge, and they're available in an assorted pack of 5 or as single pens.

Fudenosuke pens are another of Helen's favourites. 'They're absolutely perfect for smaller brush lettering pieces,' she says. 'I use these for nearly all my journal headings and quote pages.' The fine tip also lends itself to simple flower-themed borders, especially as there are 10 colours to choose from and the black is available with both hard and soft tips.

As well as all the things we used in the workshop, there are a few more bits and pieces that Helen labels as 'must-haves'. One of them is Helix's Angle & Circle Maker. 'Really handy for circular trackers and creating mandalas,' it's one of those bits of kit that's worth its weight in gold.

Faber-Castell Metallic TextlinersZebra's Pastel Mildliners have proved to be a winner; Helen loves them, and so do we. 'Such pretty colours for highlighting text and adding subtle colour to your pages.'

Another way of adding subtle colour is with Faber-Castell's Metallic Textliners. At 20% off, and available in Gold, Silver, Rose and Ruby, they're still easier on the eye than traditional fluorescent highlighters but they contain tiny flecks of sparkly stuff, which will really make things stand out!

And still on the subject of subtle, what better way to fill in your journal's illustrations and borders than with Derwent's wonderful Watercolour Pencils?

3 March 2020

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