Our Peek Inside… series takes a look inside people’s journals to celebrate their imagination and inspire others. This week we are happy to welcome writer and artist Imelda Wei Ding Lo (a.k.a. Fortunus Games), a multi-disciplinary writer, artist, podcaster and game developer from Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada.
A graduate of the University of Toronto and Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Imelda is passionate about literature, writing, podcasting, website design, technology, alternative health and, above all, storytelling mediums that explore character psychology and development. She has been published in several literary journals and zines, including the Victoria Literary Festival, Sixpence Literary Journal and Trash to Treasure Lit. She has also self-published two graphic novels, “Sam in New York” and “The Book of Joel,” which are currently being updated weekly on Tapas.io.
Additionally, Imelda is the co-host of the literary podcast “The Nuts and Bolts of Writing,” which is on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, Spotify and other platforms, which are all linked in the podcast’s Anchor.fm profile.
My first Paperblanks journal
I first came across Paperblanks in 2011, when I was a high school student looking for budget-friendly alternatives to Moleskine. My friend suggested Paperblanks to me, and I was immediately amazed by the quality of Paperblanks notebooks. My friend’s Lindau Gospels journal particularly struck a chord within me since I was a huge history buff as a teenager.
However, I didn’t actually buy a Paperblanks journal until 2021. That’s because I stopped drawing traditionally soon after graduating from high school. In university and beyond, I mostly drew on the phone or on my computer.
I didn’t start sketching traditionally again until 2021, when I was working from home and wanted to rest my eyes after work. As such, I decided to buy some journals for traditional sketching – and Paperblanks was one of the first brands that came to mind. In September 2021, I got my first Paperblanks: Peacock Punk, Flint, Zahra and Juniper.
I haven’t used all of my notebooks yet since it’s only been a year and several months since getting them. But these days, I’m mostly using my Juniper softcover Flexi notebook to make sketches for my upcoming tarot deck, the Fortunus Games tarot deck.
I’ve also used the Juniper notebook for storyboarding various graphic novels, such as The Shadow Self.
Why I love Paperblanks journals
There’s so much to love about Paperblanks.
First, I love the diversity of designs. There’s so much to learn just by browsing the Paperblanks site – all of the covers have stories and histories behind them, which I really appreciate as a history major. There are journals based on medieval manuscripts, Safavid designs and Renaissance book covers.
I also love the clasps on some of the journals and the ability to pick Flexi versus hardcover journals for the same design.
Finally, I love the paper. It’s great for watercolours as well as marker art.
Why I keep an art journal
Keeping an art journal keeps my eyes relaxed. Before I got Paperblanks journals, I drew everything digitally, which wasn’t strenuous when I was still in school. That’s probably because I was only spending one or two hours on the computer per day at that time.
However, once I started working full-time, drawing on the computer became incredibly strenuous, since I was already spending 8+ hours in front of the computer. As such, I got Paperblanks journals to draw sketches and line art. Once I finished the line art, I would scan and colour the drawings digitally. I also started using the journals to create more traditional ink art from scratch.
The biggest benefit of keeping a journal
The biggest benefit of keeping a journal is the ability to have all of your art and ideas in one place. Whenever I run out of ideas, I can just flip through the sketchbook and think about all the ideas I have already successfully executed. That often helps me come up with new ideas.
Start drawing and writing in your sketchbook! When I first got a sketchbook, I was too much of a perfectionist – I wanted to have the picture-perfect sketchbook where every drawing or sketch was a masterpiece. However, that daunted me from using my sketchbook. It also made me self-conscious of drawing “bad” art in my sketchbook.
To overcome this, I just thought of my sketchbook as an idea-generating platform rather than a finished artbook. Yes, some of my pictures are rougher than others, but my sketchbook is primarily for brainstorming and creating, so it’s only natural that some pictures will look rougher than others! Plus, people love seeing rough work, since it’s part of the creative process.
We are always looking for People of Paperblanks to feature in this series. Please send us an email if you have a project that you would like to be featured.