View Full Version : Questions about beginning journaling

05-08-2012, 12:13 AM
Hi all

I have some q's about keeping an artist's journal, though I'm sure you've heard them all before.

What do you include in one? (I know the answer here is "just about anything you want except elephant ivory or other illegals", but I'd like to know what people find most useful/helpful).

How has journaling helped your art, or is your journal the predominant artwork itself?

any other tips?
thanks all

05-08-2012, 01:31 AM
My journals are my art, so far I haven't done much else.
Usually I include what interests me, so it's a pretty wild mix of animals, flowers, architecture ect. in whatever medium I happen to fancy - my Moleskine with 250g paper has been good for CPs, graphite pencils, watercolours and oil pastels so far. So unless you already know that you will be using only one medium, I would recommend getting a journal that will allow you to experiment.

I've just started a journal for a fictional character who is taking a trip through India and Persia and that is a challenge to myself because I have to draw stuff I normally don't really like to draw like people. That has taken me out of my comfort zone and I like it. Definitely will help me to get better at sketching.

05-08-2012, 10:46 AM
What do you include in one? (I know the answer here is "just about anything you want except elephant ivory or other illegals", but I'd like to know what people find most useful/helpful).
I mostly sketch people. But yeah, the correct answer is just what you have deduced: anything you want. Mine is an everyday exercise in seeing/looking. Others use theirs for exploring and developing ideas for "real" art pieces. Others use theirs for shopping lists or writing.

How has journaling helped your art, . . .
Sharpening my seeing skills translates all across my life. More aware = more engaged = having more fun. Which I suppose has "helped my art" but it's way more important than that.

any other tips?
- Every day - have your sketchbook with you all the time.
- No rules.
- Showing your sketchbook around? Think first. This is your place to explore and roam and test stuff and comment on the world. Why share?

If you are using it to document your daily travels, more here (http://jan777.blogspot.com/p/travel-sketchbooking-updated-1sept2010.html).


05-08-2012, 01:29 PM
I have a couple of sketchbooks that I use for different things...

One that I use and post on here are my thumbnail sketches/paintings that I will use as reference for future paintings. It's completely filled with value sketches, color schemes, and little notes for directing composition. I also have a shopping list for art supplies.

My other sketchbook is my "free for all". It's used as class doodling, rough designs for logos, writing notes, quick thumbnails in case I don't have my other book with me.

I say that journaling really helps me play more with composition. Sometimes, (and I'm sure many of you have experienced this) when I'm not looking for something to draw, an idea can pop out of the blue and I'd always have my book in hand.

As for tips...
If you normally carry a camera around, I'd say replace it with your book. Jan puts it in a very good perspective: more aware=more engaged.

05-08-2012, 01:45 PM
I do sketchbooks, not journals. Journals to me are a type of visual diary - which often my sketchbooks are, but they are more to me, a resource - full of ideas, sketches, working out, lists, things stuck in ....

You can see more of what I do with mine here (http://sitekreator.com/viviensketches/main_page.html) - some themed, some random, lots of different sizes of books and different papers.

It is anything goes - your own rules. What I would say is make everything matter - not rush through pages simply to fill a book that I have seen done (not in present company ;) )

I agree with the have-it-with-you-all-the-time comments - I've been doing my sketching in hospital waiting rooms and in the car, waiting for family members quite a bit just lately and it whiles away the time quite happily. No boredom :) It's also great practice at subjects I don't normally draw - like the urban landscapes.

05-08-2012, 04:05 PM
A sketchbook or journal is exactly what you put into it. It's a place to explore, or a record of your life or part of your life. It can be a tool or an end in and of itself. That being said, check out "Artist's Journal Workshop creating your life in words and pictures" by Cathy Johnson from your local library if you can. It's just full of ideas and has you thinking about what you want from your sketchbook or journal. Having an idea of where you want to go is helpful as long as you don't let it lock you into something or something that keeps you from creating.

A sketchbook/journal is a very personal thing. It can also be very private. I know that the people who share their work here on the forum are not showing us everything they do. Some pages are private/personal and some just aren't worth the time it takes to photograph or scan them. I know that the case with me.

For me, I live in a very small space. I don't have a studio or even a table that I can do large pieces of art. So my sketchbooks (yes, more than one :lol:) are what I do for art. The thing is, even tho' it's just a sketchbook or journal, the more I do the better I get. But, it's not required to be a masterpiece so I can relax and just do art. And, if I make a mistake, I can just turn the page.

The other is, as everyone else has mentioned, carry your book and mark making supplies with you. For some that is simply a pen or pencil. For others, it's everything. :lol: Usually it's somewhere in between. I generally carry, a couple of graphite pencils, sharpener and eraser, a handful of colored pencils and another handful of watercolor pencils and a waterbrush. I have a large "back bag" that carries all of that, my camera and my other purse essentials. Sometimes I carry pens too. Many times, the colors stay in the bag and I'll just do a quick pencil drawing, some notes and take a picture. Other times, I'll get everything out. Depends on the location and circumstances. When I do a quick sketch and picture, sometimes I'll "finish" it later and sometimes I move on.

A lot of these answers depend on what you want to do in your art journal. There are all different kinds of media that can be used. Or collage elements or even combinations of things. Or doing multiple layers of media. Try things, see what you like. Share if you'd like to or not. Mostly, have fun. :D

05-08-2012, 08:46 PM
Hello and welcome!!

What do you include in one?

I use various media and various subjects in my journals. I'm not really much into collage, I've tried it and just not very fond of doing that but that is just me. I add words/text to some pages, but not to all.

How has journaling helped your art, or is your journal the predominant artwork itself?

My journals are pretty much my art classes/workshops. . . I'm entirely self-taught and couldn't draw a stick figure when I began a few years ago. Since then I have managed to take a couple one or two day workshops but mostly I just use my journal for experimenting and trying things, exploring media and subjects and techniques. For learning as I go.

I like sharing most of mine as it motivates me to do it in order to have something to share.

date all of your pages, I didn't at the beginning and wish I had!

05-09-2012, 11:49 AM
Hi & Welcome!
#1 ---- Rainy is right! Date every doodle or page! It is fun to look back at progress (or lack) and you can put a mini-index on your last page - by date- if you know you will want to find some special page later. I do that for certain color charts or special pics I want to to paintings of later.

There are different terms for the books and it seems to me they aren't always used the same. A visual journal or art journal sometimes means the collage, diary, wildly diverse & colorful books. Many types of paper to pick or create.The kind that might be private or published!

The term sketchbook can mean the kind often full of color samples & technique "notes to self." You carry it around (if small enough) to sketch away wherever you are daily. I keep the larger (9x12) ones at home but enjoy working in them because 1: it's not a bunch of loose pages to misplace and 2: they are a good size to say " Hey this is great, I am going to tear it out & frame it!!":clap: When I use single sheets of paper I have a couple large 3 ring binders I store them in; keeps them safe and I can keep them by date or perhaps type or medium.

An artist needs the basic organization of a "book" to not go mad with loose piles of sketches or lost precious notes on a new medium! :lol: Good luck and happy art-ing!!:wave: