Saturday, August 6, 2011

Wreck This Journal: OMG, I can't actually DO that... can I?

I'm going to break away from the cosmetic goodies today to talk about something amazingly fun I've been playing with lately. A while back, a dear friend of mine sent me a wonderful package with awesome goodies inside. She'd seen a book that seemed like the kind of thing I'd absolutely love, so she picked it up for me.

When I opened it, I think the neighbors could hear my squeals of joy. Turns out, Din had gotten me a copy of Wreck This Journal, a book I'd been dying to get for several years! Isn't it fun when a friend knows you so well? As soon as I opened it, I couldn't wait to jump in.

This isn't your typical sketchbook or art project book. Instead, Wreck This Journal encourages the reader to stop thinking of it as something to be kept pristine and get messy with it. Crease the covers, rip the pages, fold corners down, spill things in it, tape sections together.

The concept is that in every act of creation, there is also destruction. If you're so worried about keeping something precious and untouched, you can never turn it into something else, something better... into art, for example, although I wouldn't call what I'm doing art. :D

I've photographed a few of my favorite pages I've worked on so far. For example, I absolutely love my little cheerleader! At the top of the page, you can see the instructions: Doodle over top of this page and in the margins. That's HARD to do! I got started with a tiny face with no boundaries- just eyes, nose, and mouth. Then came eyebrows, and hair, and soon I had a complete cheerleader! It was a bit surprising, even to me and I drew it!

The strange part is that I've always been slightly intimidated by a blank page, especially if it's in a nice sketchbook. There's something about sketchbooks that seem important to me, and I've always felt like anything I did in them needed to be worthy of being put into a nice sketchbook.

This, however, was just a page of gibberish. You can click the image to see it large enough to read if you like, and I read the whole thing before I got started drawing. Because it was unimportant, I felt able to let go and be free with my motions. Soon, I jumped into the other sections of the book.

One of the first instructions you're given is to scribble on the outside of the book, where the pages all line up. I decided to give myself a message with mine, and to the right you can see the three edges of the book in order, with the message readable.

Gel pens are fun for this, as are Sharpies. Also, I used nail polish over the blue heart at the bottom, mainly as an experiment to see if it would damage the book. It didn't, which is fun to know!

Speaking of nail polish... (oh come on, you knew I'd get nail polish into this post somehow!) There's a page that asks you to drip something onto the pages and then squish them together to form an inkblot of... well, whatever you dripped. Guess what I used!! :D

To the right, you can see the polishes I used. I dripped polishes in several batches, so that they wouldn't dry and would move well. I also closed the book, then massaged the pages a bit to encourage the polish to move and mix in interesting ways. I'm pretty pleased with it so far, and will be fiddling with it some more before I'm finished.

Once I took this photo, I realized I wanted to play with it in photoshop. There are several sections in it that really draw my eye and make me want to play. So... I did. This is one result.

I really like the color in this. There's just something visceral and organic about it, and I'd love to see it in a large print on my wall! Then again, the last thing I painted and put on my wall was a digitally-altered painting I made with cheap acrylics and typing paper. It came out awesome too. :D

So yea... If you like art at all, or doodling and sketching and drawing, definitely look at this book. It's actually changed the way I think about the things I make!

Til next time!

"Wreck This Journal" was given to me by a very dear friend. Hi Din!!
See my disclosure statement for more information.


  1. Now I'm going to have to check this out.

    My grandma had this old yearbook for a nursing school. I have no idea where it came from. But, we would haul it out and doodle in it. Mostly wrecking the faces of the nurses. LOL

    I can tell you are having fun.

  2. I remember one of my friends had this in middle school, and I always wanted to get one...I may have to finally do it!


  4. Kimberly- I hope it wasn't HER yearbook from nursing school!! she might be upset if she knew you guys were doodling on the faces! *grin* And you're right, I'm having an absolute BLAST!!

    Zara- It really is a lot of fun. I still have problems bringing myself to actually do some of the activities in the book. I mean, take it into the shower with me?! EeEE! Still... interesting.

    Nicole- Thanks!! It was a lot of fun. Tonight I set up a little cove so I could photograph my art doll! I even put her head on and everything! I gave her a temporary face, but she has no hair. I'm still not sure what I want to do with it, but there will be more photos soon! :D

  5. Looks like much fun!
    You should dare yourself to do all! You will see - you will find out much interesting about yourself thorough doing it ;)

  6. I want this book, where do I get it? Its so cool!

  7. MissMidnightBlue- isn't it?? I love it. I've seen it at both Barnes & Noble and Borders. With the sales going on at Borders now, you might be able to get it at a discount, although that just makes me feel sad and guilty.

    Also, you can get it at The author actually has several books in this similar style. They all help you look at the world differently!

    Wreck This Journal:

    Books by Keri Smith:


Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I may not reply due to time constraints, but I read every comment and I appreciate them all!

Please don't leave links in my comments unless they directly apply to a conversation. If you want a link exchange, feel free to email me. Spam links will be deleted.