I truly live a charmed life. I have absolutely crazy amazingly talented friends! I have never met Linda or Karen in person yet, both of these two talented gals have influenced my own art and perspective in truly profound ways. As an instructor, I am always keeping my eye out for resources that will help my students take their art to the next level. Both Visual Chronicles and Journal Revolution are wonderful books chock filled with real people documenting their stories in ways that reflect who it is they are. One of the many things I appreciate about both Linda and Karen is the way that they use the things they have on hand to tell their story. It is such an amazing honor for me to introduce you to Linda Woods and Karen Dinino…..
I always ask this question but, it is something that I myself am interested in. How do you define Scrapbooking? What does it mean to you?
We may not be the best people to define Scrapbooking, since we do not “Scrapbook”–we do art journaling, which many people think is quite different. We think of Scrapbooking as an artful, creative way to preserve and present memories or life events. To us, Scrapbooking means a book with ‘finished,’ thematic pages, photos, borders, tags, embellishments, and writing, and typically not loose pages with paint, watercolor ink, graffiti-style writing, or an unfinished, spontaneous feel. We often joke that scrapbooking is about preserving your memories and that art journaling is about preserving your sanity.
What are the things that inspire your work?
Really, being alive is what inspires us. What we feel, what we see, what we taste, what we are laughing at (or crying about!) is what inspires us. Life is art.
What are the art supplies you simply cannot live without?
Linda: My thoughts, my observations, my cameras, and tape. I like tape!
Karen: Definitely my camera, expressive fonts I download, and junk I find on my travels—fortunes, receipts, bottle caps to ink and stamp with, funny notes flying in the wind.
How does being a Mom influence your work?
Karen: Having children reminds me to see as a child again. Ordinary, boring things and events become fascinating when you look at them as if you have never seen them before, when you question what they are or hold them the “wrong” way. We can make art from anything, anywhere, when we look at life with curiosity.
Linda: Karen being a mom has influenced my work because I think I have to do more work since she is busier being a mom. HAHA!
How is it to work with a relative on a project?
It’s the best thing ever! It’s great to be able to work with someone who you know will not let you down. We totally get each other and while we each have different strengths and compensate for each other, we agree on everything. For example, when we have to stay up all night working on a project, there is never a discussion about whether or not there will be pie to fuel us. We know, on our way to where ever we’re going, we’re scheduling a pie stop!
So, how does one do what you do? What are the pros and cons of being an author? What is it really like to be in your shoes?
To write books about creating art, you have to be prepared to…WRITE! Writing does not always come naturally to artists. To sell a book, you must research the market, the publishers for different types of books, the competition in that market of art books, and exactly what the procedure is to query publishers regarding your book idea. Then, you must stifle your desire to be creative and artistic, and follow exactly the rigid procedure for contacting publishers.
Artists can have a bad rap for being flakey, unprofessional, bohemians; the tough thing is showing publishers that you can be professional, organized, detail-oriented and reliable. Writing a book requires creating and meeting deadlines, being flexible when the publisher changes the requirements for the book, and being able to quickly create new art and new written chapters to accompany the changes. We have met wonderful people through writingJournal Revolution and Visual Chronicles, loved doing book signings and lectures, and had so many great experiences because we had published books.
It can be great fun to write a book! We love working together, and can share the writing and art-making jobs. We must point out: artists do not make much money from writing books, and many do not earn any money at all from their books. These are expensive books to publish, and artists earn little from them. You have to do this for the fun of creating the book, and the joy of sharing art.
There are many scrapbookers who want to pay for their addiction by selling their work or scrapbooking know-how? What advice would you give them?
Linda: Do your research! If the market is already over saturated with the thing you want to sell, find a way to make it uniquely yours.
Karen: If you want to get published, follow the publisher’s or editor’s rules. Present yourself in the way that the publisher wants to see you. The editors receive so many submissions; they will review the ones that are easiest and respect their time.
So, tell me about your books….I know why I bought them, tell me why you wrote them and what you wanted to accomplish by having them published?
With our first book, Visual Chronicles, we wanted to knock down all the fears keeping people from creating art. Visual Chronicles is subtitled: The No-Fear Guide To Creating Art Journals, Creative Manifestos and Altered Books, and that exactly what it is! Its chapters are devoted to busting each of the fears our students raised in classes, when they would tell us why they had not, or could not, create the art they felt in their hearts or saw in their minds. It is full of ideas, projects and prompts to create art that is uniquely yours. We continue to tell people: HAVE NO FEAR! You are art!
Journal Revolution, our second book, takes off where Visual Chronicles ended: having set free the creative genius, you now can learn how to express the many ways that you are art. In Journal Revolution, we use color, texture, font, and design to express our full range of emotions, challenging the idea that a journal is a boring notebook for botany field studies. Journal Revolution encourages everyone to Rise Up and CREATE! With Journal Revolution, we created The Art Army~get inspired, and join!
What trends do you see emerging? Why are they important or not?
We see people using fewer purchased products to express themselves and we are thrilled about that. People want to show themselves, rather than to decorate a page. Who we are often cannot be found on a store shelf. Art journal pages do not have to be pretty, they just have to be honest.
To more people, our planet matters. Art journalers see that those little pieces of paper in your purse, and the pieces of the bag that your new dress came in, they matter, too. They tell the story of YOUR LIFE. Those are the things we encourage people to use and reuse in their art journals. One person’s trash really is another’s art. Seeing this is important for our environment.
In your personal art, what style defines your work? What kind of papers, embellishments, and such do you gravitate to? Better question, where and what do you spend your own dinero on?
Linda: I think what defines my work is that I don’t really use a lot of purchased embellishments to tell my story. I want the emotion in the drips, scratches and shapes to come from me. It’s my art, it should reflect me. I use a lot of Dr. Ph Martin’s Concentrated Watercolors and acrylic paint to make my own background papers with techniques from Journal Revolution. I spend money on camera supplies…and chocolate!
Karen: I don’t use much embellishment, either. I focus on words—my thoughts and realizations—and pictures. My embellishment typically is a fortune from a cookie I had at lunch, a receipt, a note from someone, or a rubber stamp image. I love fonts, and sometimes I must purchase one. As a mom who works from home (I am a lawyer, too), my art must be fast and easy to create.
Lastly, I hear you are working on a new book, care to share?
We are very excited about our new book! This book features photographic art, provocative essays, and some of our favorite women from around the world, as you’ve never seen them before!
Linda and Karen’s Blog: http://visualchronicles.typepad.com
Linda’s etsy shop: http://lindawoods.etsy.com
The Art Army: http://flickr.com/groups/artarmy
By sarah hodsdon