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new pages

I started art journaling for the first time in spring of last year, gradually filling my Totoro sketchbook with doodles, collages, freehand patterns, written and found words poems, thoughts, ideas, and inklings. Some things I enjoy flipping back to and others that make me cringe a little.

And to my surprise, I've just reached it's end. Looking down at the final page, I feel a bit incredulous because it rather snuck up on me. I didn't set out to fill its pages within the year. I didn't even fully notice that I was getting close until I had only a few spreads left. It just sort of happened.

At some point in 2022, I decided to purchase a sketchbook to have ready just in case. I was afraid that if I filled up my Totoro one and didn't have a new volume at the ready, I might get out of the habit of turning to it as I have so enjoyed doing all year long. I did a little searching for something that would lie flat without spirals or lines, where the paper was nice and thick with a little tooth to it. I remembered that Rifle Paper has designed some larger-sized sketchbooks and when I found this one, I was drawn to the tactile nature of the embroidery and how it tickled my love of plants.

So, I snagged a coupon code, purchased it, and when it arrived in the mail, I tucked it into one of my studio shelves, assuming it'd be quite some time yet before its turn would come around.

Yet here I am before 2022 is even finished, closing my Totoro journal and marveling at what art journaling has brought to my days this year. How much it holds and releases. How it never seems to feel like one more thing to do, and instead, I find myself reaching for it an unexpected moments. Thoughts pour out of me onto its pages in whatever form feels right in that given moment, saying whatever I needed to say.

Part of me wants to make this new art journal begin in a nice-and-tidy way- opening it's first page precisely on January 1st, and trying to neatly pace myself to throughout the year to arrive at it's end in a punctual manner at the close of December 2023.

But, I won't confine it- despite the dreamy notion of a steadily chronological journal that spans exactly one year. For one of the loveliest things about working in my Totoro art journal this year has been that it had absolutely no rules, restrictions, goals, or parameters of any kind. It was simply an outlet- whenever and however often I needed it.

So, I'm going to let this new volume breathe in the same way. And if I find myself reaching for it before the first of the new year, I will enjoy the delight of doing so.

Do any of you friends journal in any way or format? I'd love to hear!

♡ Kimberly Kuniko

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© Kimberly 國子Taylor-Pestell

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Welcome to the personal blog of of Kimberly Kuniko, a Nikkei American illustrator, collage artist, poet, and host of cozy, virtual guided creative retreats with a new theme each month.

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