I have several different Traveler’s Notebooks. Some, I’ve bought and some I’ve made. They range in size from the classic Midori down to passport and I even have some that are teeny, tiny. What I didn’t have was one that was really small, but still big enough to actually journal in. So I made one. I realize it looks huge in the image above, but the inserts are only 3” high by 2” wide.

This envelope arrived in the mail last Friday! I knew it had to be from an art friend, because of how it was decorated! I started pulling off the washi tape, to save it and then I realized I should take a picture first! I covered up the address, and here it is. This is the back. The orange scribble I added to the photo because the return address was written on the flap.

All the leaves are falling quickly. It just takes a bit of a breeze to knock them right off the trees. I guess I should go out tomorrow and clean up the yard. I’ll put all the leaves in the composter so that I can start with a fresh batch of compost in the spring! Last year, when the kids helped, some of the yard decorations ended up in weird places.

Welcome to Gnome-Vember! I’m starting a new mini art journal! This time, it is about Autumn, Gnomes and the month of November. The weather is getting colder, the plants and trees are shedding their leaves, and the garden is fading away, soon to be buried in snow. All of those wonderful garden ornaments have been forgotten and left to fend for themselves until spring! Instead of working in a micro Traveler’s Notebook insert, for this volume, I’ve made a little, self-contained book.

When all the monsters are vanquished, you can fly! If you don’t let all those children of the Inner Critic get in your way, or stop you from creating, just imagine what you could accomplish! I have to shove my monsters in a closet, force them to go away, or just not listen to them… and then I can pick up my brush, or pen, or colored pencils. And art is what brings me joy, so it’s very important.

The Micro Art Journal Facebook group is currently having a trading session where we are each making a blank micro art journal and then mailing it off to our trading partner. My partner sent me this tiny journal made from a Monopoly game card! I think it’s amazing! And it came in a fantastic envelope with a thank you card inside and a note from the sender. The envelope was sealed shut with washi tape, which I carefully peeled off and stuck to the Halloween dashboard that you see here.

Instead of showing you art, today, I want to show you something that I use to make it. I’ve been using watercolor a lot lately. I decided, since I’m making tiny pictures, to get a set of Daniel Smith Dots from Amazon. This is a set of small “dots” of every color of Daniel Smith watercolor paints. I wanted to be able to take them with me when I travel or want to work at the local coffee shop for a change of pace.

She’s the Mama of all the other monsters! We each have our own Inner Critic. It’s that voice in your head that tells you you’re not good at something, or that you need to lose weight, or maybe that you’re not pretty/handsome. You know, that voice that makes you feel bad about yourself, what you do, what you want to accomplish. That voice that diminishes your confidence with each whisper.

I really liked this until I spilled ink on it. Or painted that. Or drew this. How many times have I said that to my spouse or one of the kids. How many times have my students said it to me! But you know what? Short of a fire (and maybe not even then) almost anything can be brought back from ruin. Take this page. It had a beautiful rose on it.

Let’s assume you are human. You’re going to make mistakes. We all do. They are part of life. Without taking risks, trying new things and making mistakes, we don’t learn new things. However, if we never try, we don’t learn anything. So, there’s nothing I’ve done in my journals that I couldn’t change. It doesn’t matter if it’s a misspelled word, an icky color, or a smudged stamp. I can always glue something on top, paint over it, or simply incorporate it into what I’m creating.

I several different times, as a child, I had one of those super boxes of 64 colors of crayons. They were one of my favorite things. I would often just spend time arranging the colors in an order that please me. Or, I would color various combinations on paper to see what they looked like. I was always fascinated by what new colors appeared when I squinted at my scribbles, using my blurry vision to combine colored strokes in my mind.

I have a great deal of difficulty with handwriting. When I was in High School, my English teacher asked me to write out my homework, like everyone else. So I did, I handed in a paper in my best, carefully done handwriting. The next day, she told me I had permission to print, or type from then on. She couldn’t read my paper. So, I get it. I understand that you might be afraid to write on your page.

So many people tell me that they can’t do an art journal (or Zentangle!) because they think they can’t draw. But, just about everyone had crayons as a kid. And when they did, they drew all sorts of things, like Mom and Dad, the house they lived in, the sky, trees and flowers. The problem isn’t that they can’t draw… the problem is that somewhere along the line, they were probably told, “That’s not what a looks like!

Every artist and writer has times when the Blank Page Monster takes over and they just can’t get started! For me, I slay this monster by using a pencil, and drawing a border lightly around the page. Then I write, lightly, what I’m planning on doing on the page. That’s usually enough to get me going. If I don’t really have a plan, and I just want to do something… I grab my watercolors and paint in the background.

I’m starting a new insert for a Chris.W micro Traveler’s Notebook. I am using an insert that I made, rather than one that came with the book. This time, I’ve chosen the theme of Monsters, in particular, the ones that I have vanquished. Everyone has “monsters” in their lives. They are both internal and external. Some of them are the voices in our heads that try to tell us that we can’t do something.