The Journal Diaries is a blog segment where we get a sneak peek into the journals, notebooks, organizers, and diaries from creatives all over the world. My special guest today is Roxanne from California, USA.
Hello! My name is Roxanne Coble – I’m a mixed media artist, illustrator, and ‘maker of things’ (as I like to say). I’m a California gal, and have lived in SoCal my entire life. I’ve always been learning and studying art in some capacity or another: from after school drawing classes as child, to graduating from UCLA with a degree in Art History, and later tackling my MFA (and even partially working towards a teaching credential in art). Now at age 29, I recently moved to Echo Park with my husband (who is a creative type as well) and our two adopted pugs Behr and Olive. Being back in L.A. and out of the suburbs has been an exciting transition, as I continue to work on building my business as a full time artist and art educator.
My love for art and art making starting at a very young age. I have my Mom to thank for all of that really, as she too is an artist and art educator. Growing up, our house was full of creativity, imaginative play, and boatloads of art supplies. I was my Mom’s guinea pig for all of her project ideas and lesson plans! So, from the get go I was exposed to quite an array of mediums, techniques, museums, and even art history. It all just snow balled from there really.
Ooh magic – I like that suggestion! But really, anything and everything can inspire or influence my work. If it’s something I’m drawing or illustrating, it could be as simple as a vinyl record I’m playing. If I’m working in my journal (which is usually when I get into a more meditative head space), it could be something I’m wrestling with emotionally.
There’s really no one specific technique or style that is my favorite. I think that’s why I love the format of art journaling so much – it’s a unique culmination of my various studies in art over the years. I guess the one consistent thing I do often (and love) is shoving as much as humanely possible into a journal spread: paint blobs, paper scraps, doodles, dots, brush strokes, etc. I’ve just been really stuck on this idea that the more ‘stuff’ I can get into a spread, the better it’s going to be.
- What would you say is your favorite medium to work with, and why?My response to this question changes on a daily basis, but it would probably be a tie between acrylic paint and pitt pens. I frequently go back and forth between a ‘painter’ and ‘illustrator’ role when I’m working. So acrylic paint feeds my need to be painterly and more expressive. Whereas using pitt pens comforts my left brain side of things, where I want to be more detailed, precise, or employ specific types of drawing techniques.
For my art journals, I really rotate between a number of surfaces and books. So one day I might be in an altered book, or a blank mixed media sketchbook. Maybe another day I’m in a tiny cheap sketchbook for kids I found at a craft store. In not ‘playing favorites’ with my journals, I’m able to keep things fresh and interesting while I’m working.
Oh absolutely – and it would be very bizarre if it hadn’t! I mean, you look at the work I was doing five years ago or even a year ago and it is completely different. For a long time my work remained stiff and figurative, and that is heavily influenced by my time in art school. The farther I get away from my more serious art studies, the more real and sort of raw my work gets. But even then, it’s always evolving. I would be terrified if my art were to remain stagnant. That shift in my style reflects the fact that I’m growing as an artist - who knows what it will turn into next.
I’m definitely not a morning person I can tell you that. But then I also have an old lady side of me who likes to go to bed at 9pm. So, I don’t know if there really is a set time of day when I’m most creative. I either have the urge to make art or I don’t. And when I don’t have the urge, I force myself and usually find some sort of creative groove.
- Curious to know if you keep a writing journal as well?
It’s funny I get this question a lot – and the answer is no! Over the years I have always wanted to keep a writing journal but can never seem to stick with it. My husband has tons of them, and I admire how disciplined he is – but it’s just not something I can get into. I’ve come to accept that for me, my visual journals and illustrations act like a writing journal – they encapsulate and express more for me than words would.
Black usually, and that crosses over into a lot of areas in my life – artwork, home décor, wardrobe, etc. But if I had to pinpoint another color in my work, it would be ‘primary magenta’ (specifically the liquid acrylic color by Golden).
- What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
The one thing that would surprise people the most is that I struggle with pretty horrible anxiety. When I’m teaching, students are shocked when I share this because I come off social and confident in front of the classroom. But deep down, I have a really hard time going to new places or being in social situations. I have only recently started to publically talk about my anxiety and be more open with how it affects my day to day. I’m learning that the more I talk about it, the more I am able to cope with it and meet others who experience the same sort of thing.
I’m grateful that I’ve received a lot of great advice and have had inspiring mentors over the years – including professors at UCLA and AAU (where I went to art school), or even my own family, including my Mom and husband. Long story short, I think I find and live by advice pending on where I’m at in life. Lately I’ve been looking to the masters throughout art history, and maybe that’s because I’ve been teaching so much and want to pass on that kind of knowledge to my students. At the current moment I’ve been really stuck on this quote from Chuck Close where essentially he says to ‘just get to work’. I’m paraphrasing here because it’s long, but it’s this whole idea that you can’t just wait for the clouds to part and a lightening bolt of creativity to hit you. You just need to sit down and get to work – that’s where things really happen.
- What advice, tip, or suggestion would you give to anyone looking to start art journaling themselves?
JUST. START. JOURNALING. The best part about the realm of art journaling is that there really are no rules. There’s no right way or wrong way to journal. If it’s something you want to start doing – just do it! Journaling for me was my escape from art school and really intense figurative art making. Working in my journal was a safe place where I could do anything I wanted to, and I always encourage those who are new to journaling to adopt that very same mindset!
It’s so funny, I had to think about how to answer this question because my life genuinely revolves around ART! But outside of that, I would say pugs are my other big interest. I have a pretty serious pug obsession, and am very passionate about pug rescue (and animal rescue in general). I frequently volunteer, help, and donate to a pug rescue organization here in CA – Pug Nation Rescue of Los Angeles. Working with rescue group has positively influenced a lot of other areas in my life, including going cruelty free with my beauty products, and even being a vegetarian. Who knew that my love for little squishy-faced dogs would turn into something so wonderful!
Roxanne, thank you so much for sharing your art journalings and creations with us!
For all you wonderful readers looking to connect and to continue being inspired by Roxanne's artwork, you can find more of her creativity here:
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