Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Review: Ellie Claire Art Journals

Here's something different and fun! Just in time for Christmas, I got three art journals to review. Each is geared toward a different type of person, but all are fun!

Here's the first thing you should know about me as I get into these reviews: I do not have an artistic bone in my body. I can barely draw stick figures. So I'm maybe not the target audience for these journals ... or maybe I am! If they can teach me to do hand lettering or how to draw illuminated letters, then they can teach anyone 😉. (The third journal is a coloring journal; I'm pretty good at that, so I figured that journal could provide stress relief after I tried—and failed—to create pretty and/or illuminated letters.)

Journal 1: Illuminate Your Story

 Learn to create your own beautiful illuminated letters with this how-to journal.

Use the almost-lost art of illuminating letters to enhance your writing, Bible journaling, or sermon note-taking. Rich illustrated manuscripts in the Museum of the Bible’s collection inspired these gorgeous letters. Easy to follow instructions, practice pages, and encouragements guide you through the creation of amazing start letters, flourishes, and more.

This is the journal that most attracted me at first glance. I've always loved the look of illuminated letters (though I never before knew that's what they were called!), so I was eager to try out the journal, even though, as I said before, I am not artistic. I quickly found that, even though this journal contains step-by-step instructions for creating these letters, it's far too advanced for me. For someone who does possess artistic talent, I think this journal could be a great push into a different direction with their art, but this journal would just cause me more stress and frustration, I think. I do think it's a beautiful journal, and I love the debossed cover. 

I was so intimidated after looking through the journal, but I decided to give it a shot. So I picked out one of the easier-looking letters ... and this is what happened:

It's not horrible, but it's certainly not good, either! This was, admittedly, done quickly and with only two colors, but still. It was stressful and not fun ... so this just isn't the journal for me.

Journal #2: Faith & Lettering Journal by Krystal Whitten

New from professional letterer Krystal Whitten! With guides, instructions, and tutorials, this is a fun and inspiring way to create beauty with words. It is the perfect place for journalers to practice Bible journaling, lettering quotes and verses, or decorating a page with original thoughts and plans. Exploring your God-given creativity has never been so rewarding.

I love, love, love hand lettered pieces, and I never thought I possessed the talent to make them. This journal, though, may just change my mind! Author Krystal Whitten provides full-alphabet examples of several types of lettering, along with arrows showing the order of the lines when necessary. There's plenty of practice space, and the grids on the practice pages make it easy to tell just how tall or wide letters should be. (It was certainly easier on my brain to have the reference of the grid to bring order.) There are also full phrases to practice, first by tracing, then by trying them out next to the traced phrase. Plus, the journal contains several full-color lettered verses, and I'll probably remove some of them from the book to frame and place around my house!

I actually found the practice I tried to be fun, not stressful, and it was way easier than I anticipated. No, the letters and objects I drew aren't perfect, but all resemble the original enough to keep me practicing. I actually have hope that I might one day be good at this!

My letters are recognizable 🤣

Journal #3: The Illustrated Word

Create your own masterpiece with this journal that has forty glorious illustrations from ancient manuscripts that have been recreated as line drawings. Just as medieval monks brought Scripture to life through intricate inked illustrations in handwritten manuscripts hundreds of years ago, you can now create your own stunning keepsake that will be treasured for years to come.

Methinks I smell a little hyperbole here—I suppose there's someone out there who will treasure their coloring pages for years to come, but I can't imagine doing that myself. That said, these coloring pages do look like a lot of fun. I like the intricacies of the designs, and the fact that they're taken from ancient manuscripts definitely adds interest.

I'm not crazy about the non-coloring pages; the page before each coloring page has a small picture that shows the manuscript that provided the inspiration for the coloring page, along with brief information about it. The page after the coloring page shows a zoomed out shot of the manuscript. I like the idea, but the pictures are sometimes cropped oddly and can even be blurry. They detract from the overall attractiveness of the journal, unfortunately. Still, this is a great idea, and I think certain people will really enjoy it.

Bottom Line:

These journals are all attractive with thick paper that most pens/markers won't bleed through. The covers are all eye-catching and beautiful. Each journal definitely isn't for everyone, but all would make great gifts for a specific type of person. I definitely recommend them!

Buy the journals: 
Illuminate Your Story Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Faith & Lettering Journal Amazon | Barnes & Noble
The Illustrated Word The Illustrated Word | Barnes & Noble

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received these journals free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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