Draw Your Life: Intro to Illustrated Journaling | Mimi Chao | Skillshare

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Mimi Chao, story + illustration | mimochai.com

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10 Lessons (35m)
    • 1. Hello! Intro Trailer

      1:43
    • 2. Our Project

      2:09
    • 3. Tools Used (Pt. I): Digital Tools

      4:36
    • 4. Tools Used (Pt. II): Analog Tools

      4:39
    • 5. Step 1: My Week in Review

      3:33
    • 6. Step 2: Planning & Layout

      6:59
    • 7. Intermission: Basic Drawing Tips!

      4:10
    • 8. Step 3: Flush Out & Finalize

      2:14
    • 9. Bonus: More Examples

      4:25
    • 10. Final Thoughts

      0:40
210 students are watching this class

About This Class

Update 7/2020: If you enjoy this class, I welcome you to check out the workshop and Q&A I did with Skillshare on illoging: Skillshare Illustrated Journaling Workshop 

Combine your journaling and drawing practices into a great creative exercise for any level! Illustrated journaling, or "illoging" as I like to call it, is something anyone can benefit from.

I'll show you my full process and how to make it work for you!

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What You'll Get From This Class:

  • My recommended digital and analog tools
  • How I turn my week into an illustrated journal entry
  • Planning different types of layouts, with LOTS of examples
  • Basic drawing tips and advice
  • Access to lots of examples for inspiration!

Bonus Material

Here are the blog posts I mention in the class that provide extra reference:

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Why Illoging?

  • Has all the benefits of regular journaling: saving memories, reflecting on thoughts, chronicling life events
  • Two Birds, One Stone: Simultaneouslyincorporate practice on lettering, graphic design, portrait and figure drawing, storytelling, infographics, whatever it is you want to work on. Efficiency!
  • It's Fun: Slowly build up a graphic novel of your life!

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More Creative Exercises

If you enjoy this class, you are welcome to check out my other Skillshare classes on Making Chat Stickers and Drawing on Photography :) They're all digital illustration-based creative exercises that are accessible to any skill level.

Happy learning!

-M

Follow: @mimizchao | Visit Mimochai: www.mimochai.com

Transcripts

1. Hello! Intro Trailer: Hi, guys. I'm excited to share one of my favorite creative exercises, "Illustrated Journaling." Illustrated Journaling, or ILogging, as I like to call it, is fantastic because not only do you get all the benefits of regular journaling from remembering events to chronicling your life, to reflecting on issues, but you can really also use it as an opportunity to simultaneously work on skills that you want to improve on. So, whether that's portrait and figure drawing to landscape sketching, to graphic design, and lettering, or even just doodling and basic storytelling, you really can make it work for you. As an added bonus, as you make more and more of these, it really turns into a fun visualization of your life. Almost like your own graphic novel. For those of you new to my Skillshare classes, my name is Mimi. I'm an Illustrator, and I make for my story studio, Mimochai. In my free time, I love sharing illustration-based creative exercises that are accessible to people of any level, and this class is no exception. I'll be taking you through my full process starting from the tools that I like to use, to going through a week of my life to turning those memories and events into the final illustrated journal. I also have a ton of examples to show you ranging from simple to complex using paper and digital so you can really follow along on whatever method suits you best. I will be sharing some basic drawing tips along the way, but this is really more of a creative thinking process class. I hope it's beneficial to anyone at any level. So when you're ready, let's go into the next class, where I'll show you exactly what we'll be making together. I'll see you there. 2. Our Project: So, what are we going to make? Together, we're going to make an LCD journal entry covering whatever time period that you want. It can be a day, a week, or month, even a year. This is not about setting up timelines to make you feel guilty about missing them. It's about having fun. For my personal example, I'm going to be showing you a week just because that's what I have intended to do and what I find to be a good amount of content for me to put onto a single illustrated page. I want to emphasize that the first step is to let go of any expectations. This is not about making you feel bad that you can't draw as well as you want or strongly to make it look like what I've created. This is about having fun, and taking this opportunity to have a creative exercise that also benefits you from a journal link point of view. I would recommend thinking about what you want to get out of this that would really help guide you in terms of how you want to structure and how you want to think about these journals. For example, are you a beginner that just wants to write your journal entries and add a little bit of flourish on a site with some doodles, that's totally fine. As you start getting more accustomed to doing that, then you can start to make them more and more complex and further increase. It's really best to get started with something simple so you could actually do it, and when you do it, you have fun. So you want to do it again. On the other hand, if you are an amazing drawer and you're so good at illustrating already, then that's also awesome because this is a great exercise for those types of people as well. You can really think about what's that thing that I would really love to do more of, such as, is it landscape drawing, is it portrait drawing, is it graphic design, is it lettering and typography? You can really start focusing and turning those exercises and adapting them into what's happened with your week. Finally, I'm going to provide some templates for you if you're just the type of person that doesn't want to think about how to lay it out and just wants to get started. So I'll link to that in the class description, and hopefully you guys find that helpful. But I really encourage you guys to come up with your own, because for me, that's half the fun. Okay, let's go to the next class. I'll see you then. 3. Tools Used (Pt. I): Digital Tools: Now, let's quickly go over what tools we're going to be using. So, it's totally up to you whether you want to use the iPad or a notebook. There are definitely pros and cons to each. So, I love the iPad because it's mess free and of course there is the power of undo. In this class, I'm going to be using the Procreate on the iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil. I've tried many drawing apps and this is by far my favorite for freeform drawing and sketching. It feels really intuitive and enjoyable. I'm going to show you a little bit of the layout and what I find is good for. Let's just go with the easiest screen size, new canvas, all the settings are up here. So, here, I use inserting a photo. Sometimes, I use the flip canvas to just check my proportions. These adjustments on the site is for brush size, so that comes in handy when I'm trying to do detail work. So, the largest, the HB pencil goes here and you can make it really thin like that. Another trick is that, a feature, is that if you hold the line it'll turn into a straight line for you. So, I use that a lot to make guides or if I want to create a very straight edge. This is the opacity. Full opacity looks like that, and then if you want to just make a little bit more and more transparent, use bring the opacity down. Under preferences, one thing that I really like to do is go to the advanced gesture controls, and for touch, put it under erase only. So, the Apple Pencil that each one you can dictate what it does. For a pencil, I use selected tool for touch, which means your finger, I do erase only and you'll see why I feel like it saves a lot of time. Then there's eyedropper which is to select the color that you want, and quick menu, it just brings up like a shortcut of commands. So, once that's set up, this is where you do adjustments, such as opacity, blur, sharpen, noise. I use this a lot, the hue, saturation, and brightness. Then you can do color balance, curves, and recolor. So, if you're familiar with drawing and Photoshop those should all sound pretty straightforward to you. And for those of you looking to experiment with different layouts and designs, it's much easier to move things around. So you can just select sections and resize them and put them on different layers and play around with that. So, that's very nice about working digitally. With that said, let me show you the layers. So, my drawing is on this layer one. You can also change the background color. What's really awesome about layers is that you can basically, let me erase this- keep drawing on a new layer until you feel happy with it, and it's almost like if we're working with pencil and paper analogy. Having a piece of paper, putting it on a light board, drawing over it with another piece of paper, I keep doing that. But here, you don't need to keep using a bunch of pieces of paper. I think that that's really nice and you can turn things on and off to hide them. It comes with all of these. I created a most used folder, and basically put on the ones that I tend to use most often. So, sketching is where all the pencils are. I use HB pencil the most. Then, if you like more of an ink style, I like ink bleed a lot because it kind of gives a little bit texture on the end. I'll show you what that looks like. So, you can see that there was like a bit of texture on the end. If you like a smoother ink, then you just go to one of these. Technical pen has a very smooth look to it, and it's really just based on your preference. I like to set up that undo being double tap. I think that's by default, but you can also adjust that in settings. I sometimes use a little bit of round brush, just to add a little bit of color. I actually use a round brush more as my eraser. So, for the eraser, you have all the same brushes, which is really great, because, say, you're drawing something with a shape and you want to erase it, Iit doesn't need to be a hard edge erase. Of course you can, if you want, but I prefer to use something a little bit softer, so that you can create different effects with the eraser, unless you're painting with the eraser. The smudge tool is something that people use to get paint truly effects. I don't use it that often, especially in the e-logs, but you can play with it if you want. That's the beauty of these apps. They have an amazing user guide, so, if you want to dive deeper, you're more than welcome to. 4. Tools Used (Pt. II): Analog Tools: Benefit of course of using a regular notebook and pencil is that sometimes it's good to have restraints. It's good to have something down and be done with it, and not feel like you just have to tweak it and fidget with it forever. I actually did my entire first series of illustrated journals in just a regular notebook with pencil and went over it with ink. If you need pen or pencil recommendations, I have a whole blog article on it, which I will link to in the comments, but I thought I would also just take you a tour through my pencil pouch to show you some of the tools that I really like to use. The main one that I like to draw with now is the Palomino Blackwing pencil. It's just a really great graphite pencil. It has a really nice feel. The way that it draws is very nice and they make actually several different versions, so this is the one I like to use. They have a grey one and a white one. I also really like this blue Prisma Color Col-erase pencil. So animators used to use these to create this layer that they could draw and when it was scanned in, it wouldn't show up. But I actually still really like it because it has this like very smooth, nice quality, and the blue for some reason, I think better in blue. Then, when you go over it with pencil, you can create these two layers to show some, like in the sketch version, and then the final version on top. When I first started doing illustrated journals, I was using lead pencil. It's actually a lot more, and so I still really like this Pentel GraphGear 1000 lead pencil. It has these really great weight to it and I like that they had the grippy part, and of course it's handy that it always stays sharp, and it just has a nice writing feel. For erasing, I really like this Muji Eraser. It's very basic but I like that it doesn't really smear as much as some erasers tend to, and it can be very clean. In sharpening, which crazy, is that it was hard for me to find a good sharper at first, and then of course Palomino makes this great one. So, you'll be surprised how frustrating it is to use a crappy sharpener because it keeps breaking your pencils, but what this does is it has these two holes and one sharpens just the wood section and then you get just the lead part that's not sharpened, and then you refine it on the second hole. So, that's how that works. Next on the inking side, I really like these two and they're very popular, so Sakura makes these great Micron Pigma pens and each of these comes in the different line weights. I like to use 3.3 and five. So, this is Copic Mutiliner. You can get them in sets or you can buy them individually. I would go to just like the stores that sell them and like test to see which line weight you really like use because they can add up. On a simpler side, I like this Muji Pen that's technically erasable, so sometimes it's nice because if you want to draw in a pen to train you into thinking like you can't erase it, but we do make a mistake. You have to keep this thing clean but the cap actually erases this pen. That's pretty awesome. Of course, it's not perfect, so it's more of a back up. A friend recently introduced me to these Tombow Brush pens, so I really like these. I think the hard one is the blue color. It has a nice feel to it and there's also a softer brush pen that comes in black. Finally, for just some fun stuff, I like the Sharpie Gold Marker. I don't really use it for my weekly [inaudible] but I can see it being a nice highlight. It does bleed through so you would want to skip pages, and just a simple ruler can help too if you're just trying to make your designs a little bit straighter. If this was overwhelming, just remember all you really need is none of these stuff, to be even simpler, just a mechanical pen is quite easier. Put that all away and let's just simplify. All you need is a pencil, eraser, and a pen, and if you don't want to line it, then all you need is a pencil and some paper. Now that we have that taken care of, let's move on to the next thing where I'll show you a bit from my week and how I digest that into topics for an illustrated journal. I'll see you then in next class. 5. Step 1: My Week in Review: I thought it would be a useful exercise to quickly go through a week in my life so I can show you how you take those moments and translate them into illustrated journals. Let's quickly dive in to what happened last week so I can get a sense of the things that I want to talk about and what is it that I want to remember. I collected the photos from the week that I want to write about. The first thing was I got the final book sample of our very first picture book that I made for memochai which is very exciting, and it turned out awesome and I'm very happy and I want to talk about that for sure. And at the same time we're working on our new care package product for our e-commerce site and it was just a really rewarding week because people were starting to share it and it was great to see how people liked it. You were using it in unexpected ways like our little sprite pins are so GQ in this example. Of course it is Valentine's Day. So, we work at a coworking creative space and they had all these really cute doughnuts and they always go out of the way to make this very elaborate very extra fruit water designs that I appreciated. That was nice, and my boyfriend is very sweet and came back with flowers. But better than flowers, he knew that I loved this art of Kung Fu Panda 3 books so he got that for me and I love these art of books for DreamWorks and Pixar movies. Of course it was also the Black Panther premiere week, so my boyfriend and I are huge superhero and animation movie fans so that was exciting for us. I saved this movie poster I loved it, I think it lived up to my expectations and I definitely want to incorporate some of that. Then it was Tray's new year so we were at his parents house for dinner, and then I went up to the Bay Area to visit my brother's family and my niece and nephew are three and six, it's always cute to see them. We were in Monterey so it was really beautiful and it was just nice. It was also Julian's first time meeting them so, that was very sweet. We all went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium together which I don't think I've ever been or maybe when I did it was when I was really young. But, I love going to aquariums and zoos and museums and things like that and just taking pictures of things that I find inspiring. So these are just jellyfish, but they're super crazy jellyfish. So these things definitely influence the types of creatures and plants that I end up designing for myself too. See how it's just really great to spend time with them. This is my nephew and his cat pizza head. So you know creativity really runs in the family obviously. I took these photos of seaweed because I really actually loves how seaweed floats and looks so, that could be a small design element in tree as well and there were just these sea otters being sea otters, cleaning themselves and being unintentionally adorable. I took this photo of my niece and nephew, it might be a good I love this feeling and maybe we can use part of it as like the background of illustrated journal and just write a text in here. So yeah, it was really good time with them. Oh, and of course it was the Winter Olympics week, so it was just really inspiring to see, this is Chloe Kim. Do you think things like this is such a great pose and there's a bunch of other images that I found that would be great to study figure drawing. That is my week. So when you think about, obviously I can't draw all of this. Just what are the things that I really want to highlight, and that's what we will talk about next, planning and layout. So I will see you in the next class. 6. Step 2: Planning & Layout: I thought about what I wanted to show, and now I want to talk about the Olympics, Black Panther, my trip to Monterey with Julian, and my family and my book. There's a lot of ways that you can do it, obviously. You can do a grid system, just write it out and have little doodles on the side, but for this one, I was thinking it'd be cool to split it up into a more graphic layout. So, I'm always thinking something along these lines, so that I have these boxes for Black Panther, Olympics, and then some other items and really honestly, I finesse it as I go. Since I'm going for a more graphic layout, there's a lot of moving pieces around and figuring it out. I'm just walking through an example that I have already thought through. So, don't think that I just like, "Bam," come up with this, and it just turns out perfect. This is how it goes though, I think about what would fit where. So, I know I want to get that cool black panther movie poster, and it fits perfectly here, because that's just the way the poster is oriented. Right now, I'm not being too precious about how well it's drawn, I'm literally just blocking in the shape of what I need. I know that he is standing here, shoulder here. That's really about all I need for this one, and then the head of the panther is over here. I can start filling it out a little bit just to put some detailing few marks. This looks like a good place to put all the pics information, and I'd like to try to use and incorporate some lettering or logo graphic design practice into my entries. So, here it looks like a good place to write and edit like the Olympics or Pyeong Chang, and really have that feature to compliment the illustrations with some typography. Let's just quickly put in. Again, not being too precious, just putting that there so I know that that's where I want it to go. I want to depict a few of the olympians. We'll see how many I can fit. I know that I want to put Chloe Kim in there, and I found this really great photo from CNN, and I think it'll fit right here. So, again really just you see sketching out where she would go. It's good for now. I did look a little bit at the mascots, and maybe it would be cute to put the mascot here. Something like that. I want to show the Shibutani siblings and other great photos of them from top down, which is just a really cool perspective practice for me. I think that'll go nicely right here. So, draw his head, draw her head, and just start setting a reference point and then I like how that looks. I think that would be even cooler if they were like in this heading towards this corner. Now, I have Black Panther and The Olympics. So I need to put in, like Valentine's day and Monterey, and so maybe this would be a good spot to do. I actually really liked the Monterey Bay Aquarium's logo. It's this circular shape with seaweed, I love the design of seaweeds. I think it'd be really fun to kind of study their logo, and put that here. I could honestly just leave it like that for now, and fill it in later, or just add a little bit of designs, so I can keep in mind that's what I wanted to go there. I think this would be a good place to put a date. So, for now I put February here, 12-19. Now, just creating this V, and I'm like, it'd be cute to put the logo of the restaurant that Julian took me to. This cute little turnip. I can either put name of the restaurant in there. I can put a Valentine's day, something like that. So, that would be pretty and a good study to copy his photos to see while I was at that aquarium, and so maybe I can start incorporating a little bit of that on this side. I was thinking about doing the same thing on the other side, but I was like, it'd be cool to mirror this design, but have it to do with Black Panthers, and the Black Panther movie, there's this heart shaped herb. That's purple and gives him his powers, and so, I can do my own interpretation of that, and practice my flora design drawing. Let's have that and go here. Cool. Now, he's trying to look a little bit small in reference to the Olympian over here. So, I hop in that back, put it here. Really, I just often talked about the book Anywhere. So, this looks like a good spot to put it. I could put it literally like this, which works. But, I do think it would be a cooler design to put it at an angle matching this lettering that I'm going to do here. This is already looking pretty good. At this point, I feel like I've covered all the topics that I definitely want to cover, and have this extra space towards the end. I can always just write and jot down little notes about something that happened, or something that was funny. So, for now, I'll set space like this aside for just some text. I'm not 100 percent sure that I'm going to keep this guy. It's getting a little bit busy. So, what I could do is cut him out, and there are several to where I'd like to use three finger pulled down, and hit cut and paste. Now, he's on another layer, and I can just turn him on and off, and decide whether I want to keep him. I'm going to clean this up, and then see you guys in the next section where I'll talk a little bit about my thought process as I'm actually doing the detailing for these drawings. 7. Intermission: Basic Drawing Tips!: Before we go any further, I just want to take a quick sidebar and just say that you should not be discouraged if you learn that you cannot draw. I've said this before but I want to elaborate a little bit about what I mean. I find it so often that people feel like if they can't draw exactly like their favorite artist or someone they really admire and they feel like they just need to give up. I think this because this is how I used to feel it, and I hear it from a lot of people. But, when you think about it, I don't know why we have this strange expectation when it comes to drawing an art but not with anything else, like none of us go to the kitchen for the first time and if we can't cook like our favorite restaurant we're like I give up, I can't cook. For some reason we feel that way with drawing, but just like with cooking you need to start with learning how to just chop vegetables, or how to boil an egg and slowly build up to the next level, and that's the same thing in this example. With drawing start simple and don't feel bad if it doesn't look like exactly what you want to start with. It would be kind of incredible if it did to be honest. I can speak from personal experience that you will get better inevitably as you keep drawing. Okay, with that spill out of the way, here are some specifics. To be honest, the most charming illustrations in my opinion are interpretations of life rather than a realistic rendering, don't be afraid to just make simple representations of things. You might be surprised that the way that you see something is as really charming and humorous to other people even if it's what might be considered an ugly drawing. Just to show you how I like to think about it and make things a little bit less intimidating is, if you can draw these basic shapes, a triangle, a square, a circle, and lines, then you can represent most things to be honest. Say if you want to draw a tree, it can be two top parts of a triangle and a line. You want to draw a house, it can be a square and a triangle. If I get really advance another little rectangle and keep adding on top if you're feeling more ambitious, but like I said it could just be that simple. You want to draw a person stick figures are often more endearing than a fully realized anatomically curved human figure drawing. Especially when you're doing something like an illustrated journal. You want to draw a dog think about it as a circle with two little ovals on top. You can draw his little face and add a little tail if you want. All animals can kind of be represented this way. A bear, a stick with two little circles on his head. A deer, a circle with some lines on top. A cat, a circle with two triangles on top. You can add in some lines for whiskers. Just keep it simple. You can honestly draw an entire landscape with these symbols. These are mountains, some curving lines for water. This is a sun, a cloud has some bumps and a line, and grass could just be little dots like this, and this could be an entire landscape. So, keep it simple and don't worry about making everything especially perfect. Sometimes our problem is we see for example a pair of scissors and we try to draw this. We like get into thinking about like getting those lines right and then drawing exactly what we see. But, if you just think about what this scissor is you just draw two circles and go like that and that could be the perfect representation that you need for your illustrated journal purposes. So, keep it simple and build up your skills instead of never starting just because you feel like you can't be perfect right away. This all you need, triangle, square, circle, line. 8. Step 3: Flush Out & Finalize: Now that we've gone through the process of thinking about the entry's content, coming out with some sort of layout and learning some basic driving tips, let's finish up our entry. Usually, I'll have a focus point in my entries, but I also want to make sure I include little details that I want to keep in mind. But maybe you don't need a big visual. So, I'll write in little phrases that remind me of those events or draw even a simple little icon as a memory trigger. I do think about where there are empty spaces in my drawing. But, again, this depends on your goals. It can totally just be a list in the corner. Here's a slightly more finished sketch for me. Cleaning up is really dependent on your needs and how much time you have. So, you can totally just stop here if you're happy with it. I'm going to fill in the text and I could clean up a little bit of the stream marks. But this can totally work as your final product. Since I often share these on social media and also just for my personal taste, I like to clean up my entries by going into a new layer and creating a clean line. You do not need to feel that you have to jump straight into making a beautiful perfect line the first time. Some people can do that after years of practice, but that's simply not how I or many other people work. I personally like to think in rough sketches and then turn my brain off on that side, and just create a new layer and think only about rendering to make the final clean version. So, you're working a physical notebook. What I did was make light pencil lines and then go over it with ink, and then erase the pencil lines for the final product. It is all time consuming. So, stop where you feel your own personal goals are met. I'm just going to quick flip through and show you some of the designs that I made. So, if you want to make this a series, you can totally set up a goal for yourself. So, the first time that I made this series, I did it for 20 weeks straight and turned it into this little collection that I still really enjoy flipping through and it reminds me a lot of what was going on through that time. 9. Bonus: More Examples: So, this is a good example of the text piece, a little bit of lettering practice, portrait practice, but a balance and more your standard Illustrator journal entry. So, what I did was I designed this wall spread to be more of a graphic interpretation and I got a chance to really study the Statue of Liberty and draw her and render out her a bit which is good, just regular exercise. It was really fun for me to design this graphic. I referenced different styles of drawing roosters and also paper cuts but designed this myself. It took a while but I really like how it turned out. Also, got to watching the figures that week which is a music movie, I loved Janelle Monáe. So, we did a little bit of portrait practice with her. Use the remaining space to to put in just some text about what was going on that week. Actually, one of the weeks I think I introduced the two dual color approach. This week is when Beyonce has her twins, her pregnancy with her twins and I thought that image was very interesting and it is a good opportunity to practice a lot of different things including anatomy and like portrait drawing and then interpreting the flowers there all around her and then this ribbon. So, getting to peace in a lot of things are happening to me personally. So, the topics of my journal entries are obviously a lot heavier this year than they were the year before. I also try to keep it light using current events to do portrait drawings and studies and lettering practice. This one was really interesting so I had a lot to catch up on and wanted to do each week justice. This was just like this path of like what happened that week. So, I was moving and I used that as a theme for how to describe what happened. It was cause I ended up taking this and I'm using a similar layout in a client book that I worked on. This is like where maybe standard comic book style and a reason why I really wanted to practice this was because I do really believe in graphic novels but a lot of the ones I see in the stories are just your standard layouts where I really have to use a few examples of people trying to push the boundaries and I would love to see more of that. So, I did that here but I start to pop images out and then tried different layouts to practice a little bit of a more mature illustrator's style here. This next one was a simpler one. I also like to think about info graphics. I don't do very much of them but I do find them very interesting exercise in design. So it's a bit of an info graphic in terms of my life split up into boxes. Finally, this is the last panel using a little bit of perspective practice and people practice but still using a little bit small illustrations to explain what happened that week. This one, I try to keep it simple to get back on track. I just used it to do some anatomy drawings. I just did the rest of the simple graphic design to put some written text of what I remembered from that week. This is maybe the last one that I show like the comic book one but I condense it all onto one page. So, I went April into May. So let's give an example, you want to do a month long entry versus a week for a day. That's a summary of what I was able to do last year. I hope that was helpful in terms of thinking through different ideas. This is one more than I did the week Wonder Woman came out. You can really get a sense that it can be so many different things. This is just the tip of the iceberg. It's totally up to you. 10. Final Thoughts: That's the end of our class. I hope it was helpful and that you're inspired or have already created your own illustrated journal. I want you to remember to have fun, let go of expectations, and just take it one step at a time. When you do complete it, I would love to see it. So, please do share your illustrated journals on our classroom board, and I will definitely leave a comment. Thank you so much, and till next time. Bye.