About Me & FAQs

About Me

Hellooooo! Thank you so much for stopping by, I'm super stoked you're here. 

I'm Jenny, otherwise known as Jennibellie in this, my lil corner of web-land. 

I’m a mixed media artist, avid art journaler (journaler of every kind really) bookbinder and a campaigner of eco-friendly creativity; meaning I seem to say ‘use whatever you have – go recycle something!’ daily. 

babby Jennibellie

I have been creative all my life, which is something I denied or simply didn't realise for many, many years. Despite suppressing my creativity due to thinking it was worthless it would still burst out of me in many ways. Painting, creative writing, drama, dance and journaling were just a few of these ways, and always there was an element of recycled creativity mixed into that (where I would make things like recycled sculptures out of tissue paper and dried out pens). It went on this way until one day in my mid twenties after I had been drowning in pain and heartache for some time, it burst out with such totally it could never be suppressed again.

Now I am 100% totally creatively free I enjoy teaching & encouraging creativity in others and believe everyone has a solid creative instinct; it might just need a little cajoling like mine did to break free occasionally. It is due to this reason that I am the host of journalworkshops.ning.com which is a fabulous art community of beautiful creative beings who play, share and inspire one another from all over the world (I am so proud of the space & everyone in it I cannot begin to tell you!). There are free classes and group activities to join so if you are one such creative being you are more than welcome to come play with us!

I have a much loved sidekick called Sweep (iebum), who I believe is loved more than I...no sulking though, he is completely adorable so I totally get it. 

His hobbies include plastic bottle chasing, waking (via leaping on) me at 3am and being too cute for school. 

Frequently Asked Questions

I've created this FAQ section as I’m beginning to get more emails (and questions on other online sites) than I can answer; please do not be offended if you have sent me some questions or requests that I have not yet answered. I am only one person, with one set of hands and 24hrs in a day…plus I also need my sanity away from the computer! So I’ve come up with the below, filled with links and videos to places where I have previously addressed the questions too, which will hopefully will answer many of your wonderings and ponderings =)

If I get many questions relating to the same subject I often answer them via videos so please check out my youtube & vlog channels for this - in all honesty 80% of questions I get I have usually already answered somewhere in video =)

Where do you get your ideas from? 
From looking around me, from looking online but mainly from creating; from getting into such a creative groove that my mind then continues to create things once my hands have stopped. I get bombarded with ideas, more than I could ever accomplish, so I dutifully write them ALL down. Every SINGLE one is important…for though it might not be one you pursue today, who knows what it will turn into tomorrow...

When did you start art journaling? 
I started art journaling a few years ago, when I was living in London and going through a pretty rough time. Art through necessity I think it was, and if you used to follow my free weekly artist interview series I used to do on here you’ll read that it is a common denominator in many of us – pain forces the creative instinct to come out; through a need and a desire of escaping, but also exploring, our current emotional state.

Art journaling is my way to deal, 
the latter half of this video below explains this some more...

If you want to know more about the specific personal circumstances and emotions hidden within my art journal pages then that’s what my new zine, Jennibellie’s Journals is all about, click the image below for more info.

What do you write about in your art journals?
Whatever is on my mind at the time. I have kept a written diary for years so may be that makes it easier for me. If you find it difficult may be do an exercise to write your emotions/day/life daily before bed to get into the habit. I do use quotes too, but often my words are just my own as they flow through my head & not always understandable to others (which is perfectly okay! Your diary, your rules)

What kind of art supplies do I need to start art journaling? 
For me, it is more important to put your arty focus on what you are doing rather than what you are doing it with, but that answer is probably because you asked a recycle artist lol but I know, I know we all love our supplies so inevitably we will want to build our collections, so to answer this question a while ago I did an Art Journal Supplies 101 series consisting of the two videos below. You may notice from my more recent videos that my own supplies have somewhat increased, and certainly the arty marketplace has also increased it's offerings of goodies, but the series still holds the basic info for beginners.

Where do you get your art supplies from?
Mainly online, an easy place to start (possibly the easiest) is Amazon (click the image below to go to the art section). I return there time and again for my supplies as I don’t live near any good art supply shops so only buy instore when I’m visiting a city or happen across one.
I don’t spend a fortune on supplies but I don't go without, because I buy smart. 
I spend where quality is needed and save money by shopping around and picking the best suppliers for each component I need. For example I buy my adhesives from a card-making shop as it gives great bulk prices (due to how much adhesive card makers go through). Just google what you want, then spend a bit of time looking. For my more unconventional shopping tricks check out this post, it’s one of my first ever blogposts and tells where I get lotsa unique supplies really super cheap! 

What white pens do you use in your art journals? 
A selection, I recently did a blogpost & video to answer this question where I compare the white pens available on the market, all info can be found here.

Have you been to art school?
Nope. In all honesty I cannot remember having an art lesson (out of nursery anyway!) and while sometimes I wonder at what might have happened if I had, I am glad that I did not. I create art that I want to create, to me it is all about the creation and do not feel bound by any rules and regulations that have been installed in me. If you want to know more about my story with art you can find it out my reading this blog or watching this below video which gives some details of my history with art:

How do you draw so well/are so good at art if you have not been to art school?
I certainly don't think I do draw well or that I am good at it, well certainly not according to any art school standards anyway. BUT I have learned to let go of my expectations and criticisms in regards to my art and that is where I have found not only the process of making art more enjoyable, but also the results. I am rarely disappointed with my art efforts because of this, and the only way of achieving that IS to release self criticism which I think happens with practice - practice, that age old thing I harp on about, but I think for anyone to become good at anything (to art school or no art school standards) it's really is all about the practice.

Will you ever do online classes for us? 
I will =) I have =) All classes will be hosted on my Ning site Journal Workshops - click here to join. I have a free class called Inspiration Station (click on the image below to be taken to the information page)

Here are some tasters of the other art classes that I offer - click on any of the titles to get more info on the class:

Again all classes are hosted on Journal Workshops, so please sign up there to take any or all of these classes and be the first to know when I'm offering special offers on them:

I want to sell my art/homemade wares, can you give me any advice?
I do not sell my art 'in person', meaning I do not take it to craft shows or sell it in shops etc so I might not be the best person to answer this question for that but I think you need to make the decision of where you want to sell (and to whom, as this will also determine where it might be best for you to sell). When I first chose to sell my art by far the best option for me was to sell online, as I still do via my etsy shop. Initially I started selling one off journals handmade from recycled materials and remember having requests to sell them physically in a shop, back then I chose not to as the items were so unique the wear and tear of being picked up constantly by shoppers was not the best idea for these one off items. Now online is the best way for me to do it to reach the people who know, and want to buy my items, from me.
If you think Etsy might be the best way for you to go too then people click this link to open your shop, it will give both your shop and mine 40 free listings so that you may do the initial actions of opening and stocking your shop fee & risk free (if you don't go over your 40 items then your first fee will only be when an item sells) =)

I will only also advise you to charge what your items are worth! I think many of us under-price our items (and I have fallen into this trap too) because we do not believe our art is worthy enough to warrant 'proper' cash. I am not saying price your pieces ridiculously (well you can if you want, I see a lot of blobs on canvases sell extremely well lol) but consider all the hours, energy and vision you placed into your items - if you were sat at a desk doing nothing but admin for that long would you expect to be so reasonably underpaid? I expect not. Do not undervalue yourself, or your art, by undercharging - it rarely even increases your items value in the eyes of the customer. Charge what your items are worth and what you would be happy receiving for them.

What is that handheld hole punch tool I see you use in lots of videos? 
It’s called a Crop-A-Dile from WRMK (We are Memory Keepers). They do one called the Big Bite and a handheld version too. I use both, they are both useful as the Big Bite reaches further but the handheld is my go-to tool. You need to buy one of these two versions though (I or II) as there is also a The Crop-A-Dile III, but that’s a die cutter & doesn’t actually punch. 

What is the traditional type of bookbinding thread? 
Waxed Linen Thread is the traditional kind of bookbinding thread, it’s strong and is coated in wax to limit damage to the paper as the thread it travels through it. It comes in different thicknesses and colours and can be expensive. Therefore if you are starting out I suggest you by small amounts of many kinds to find out what you best like working with, rather than investing heavily in one. Go to an Etsy or Ebay shop and help out an independent seller that sell small selections, while helping yourself not to break the bank! 

What is a signature?
A signature is just the term used to describe a collection of papers folded together to be bound into a book.

Like this, here's several signatures:

which got turned into this:

Correctly though a single sheet is called a folio. So a signature is actually several folios together.

What book binding machine do you use?
I use the ‘Bind-It-All’ by Zutter. But WRMK also has ‘The Cinch’ available. To be honest I have read good and bad reviews for both machines, but I think ultimately the issue is we are wanting industrial duty punching and binding machines to do the same job for us in an all-in-one compact tool, so I think there will be cons to both machines but that doesn’t out weigh the pros to having these personal use binders, we just have to learn the quirks of our own machine…and may be sacrifice a piece of paper or two along the way. 

What camera do you use?
For my stills I use a Nikon Coolpix S8200. For my video I use a Canon Legria HF G25. These are both good, I recommend them but were brought a couple of years ago now so may by no means be the best on the market etc.

What editing software do you use, because mine’s rubbish? 
Whenever I get asked this question it’s usually with the ‘because mine’s rubbish’ bit on the end but honestly every single piece of video editing software that is out there DOES THE SAME JOB. They might occasionally give different effects or transitions but they still DO THE SAME JOB. I cannot stress this enough because what people are really asking me is for in a magic bullet; a piece of software where they can upload some footage then BOOM they get a fully edited video out of it. Sorry, but it just doesn't work like that. If you have a piece (any piece) of video editing software then you already have all you need to enable you to do the job, but it will NOT do the job for you. You have to sit till YOU’VE done the job yourself, and yes it can take hours. I’ve stopped giving out the info on the exact software I use (though yes if you really wanted to you could trek through my past video and blog comments to see where I’ve previously answered the question!) firstly because I don’t want a bunch of art videos popping up that look exactly like mine (it’s already happened, and frankly it sucks! Having your ideas, time and energy ripped off totally sucks; don’t do it to someone else, be unique and be yourself – otherwise what is the point?). And secondly because the internet has created an instant gratification culture where too many people think that the stuff that is on there just *creates itself*, sorry it doesn’t. It takes hard work, like anything else that is worth creating. But that’s fine, if I can do it so can you. 

I have a video request for you, can you do x,y,z? 
I get video requests every other day now, so for my sanity I have to say no to further video requests. Next to my own super-duper long list of videos ideas there’s just not enough time in the day, but hey the list is reeeeally long so the chances are your request or something similar is probably already on it. Just sit back, watch and enjoy the surprises. 

I want to, but I’m scared to put myself out there online, how do you do it? 
I nabbed an old camera (off of my mum, at least 3 years old already and would only take 20 mins of footage before the old - not-HD - SD card would need unloading). I created a youtube account. I posted a video. I posted another. And another. Then I created a blogger account. I created a blogpost. Then another. Then another. Let’s get it all clear here, the internet scares the CRAP out of me. I’m no good at this techy stuff…it’s not where my skills lay. But I wrapped up my limited skills in my picnic blanket of no-whiny-self-conscious power, took them to my computer and I just did it. One thing followed by another. No fancy equipment, no overthinking, no extraordinary talent.

Later I started thinking properly what my videos and blogposts would actually have in them. I then ‘executed’ them how I myself would want to watch/read them, but not in the beginning. I just wanted to, so I did. My first 80+ videos are done on that old camera. 
Every SINGLE person who posts stuff is scared of the results and reactions, but THEY DO IT ANYWAY. If you want to, just do, and you’ll learn the rest on the way…

I'll add more questions as they occur/come into me
much love

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