View Full Version : The Incomplete Journals - Resurrected?
07-17-2010, 04:33 PM
I decided to dig out two journals I started, one two years ago and one started last November. I spent most of my afternoon searching for the old one, but finally unearthed it. It has only 8 pages used :(
The idea of the book was to buy a really cheap notebook with the squared paper so as not to frighten myself with bare pages in a nice book, and to work from imagination my memories of the day, things done, things seen. I'd never done this before and had no idea if I could actually do this, as I've always had to have something in front of me to draw it. The experiment lasted only about a week or so, and I'm trying to recall what happened, why did I stop? Haven't worked that one out yet. I see it was coming up to the school holidays so that could have got me out of touch with establishing 'the habit'
The paper also was too cheap for anything other than pencil, and even that didn't take very well so I bought coloursoft crayons specially, but they didn't go on very well either, so actually getting something on the paper was quite hard work. I haven't done anything like this since. Now I'm thinking of picking it up again. The little boy is 2 years older now so summer school holidaytime may not be so difficult for me to try again.
I notice I didn't even date this one, but I remember the sudden heavy shower on the way to the library, and the memory remains strong in my mind because of making this drawing.
The November unfinished journal came about after motivating myself by reading Danny Gregory's book 'License to Create' This time I got a notebook with better quality pages so I could work in pen, it didn't bleed too much. This one I kept going for a massive two weeks! then Christmas started looming and I lost the plot. In this book I mostly returned to drawing what I see but there is some internal reflection and quite a bit of writing to myself, which is interesting to look back on now, several months later.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/17-Jul-2010/151368-journal_pink_page_1.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/17-Jul-2010/151368-journal_pink_page_2.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/17-Jul-2010/151368-journal_pink_chinese_dragon.jpg
After Christmas I started another one, in a nice Winsor and Newton posh hard spiral, a book that takes watersoluble crayon and gouache to make drawings and paintings, I filled precisely 2 pages. I posted them in a journal thread in the watermedia forum, but that thread seems to have stopped now. So thats the history, and here I am again.
Criky, why do I find it so difficult to get the habit?
07-17-2010, 05:45 PM
These are great sketches and notes. You probably find the "habit" hard because it's not a priority. And, I would venture to guess that the first notebook with the gridded paper, you were frustrated making marks since you noted that the only thing that sort of worked was graphite and that not very well.
Just as people advise you to get decent paper/canvas, paint/pencils/pastels that are artist grade even if you are just a beginner. I think the same thing can be said of sketchbooks. Your materials are going to work for you and your style or you won't use the sketchbook. For instance, I have some decent sketchbooks that work fine for graphite sketches, or colored pencil sketches, even ink if I don't use the back of the sheet. But, I dare not put any water media on the pages. The don't just cockle, they warp!
Anyway, only you can answer what you need for materials to make the "habit" stick and what will motivate you to sketch regularly. There are several people doing the 21 day sketch habit (I don't have the link, but it's in a couple of other threads.) I was motivated by keeping a fake visual journal. That was a small journal of CP water color paper that I stitched up myself. There was something satisfying to me to be working in a "book" I made myself with the kind of paper I wanted to work on.
I'm looking forward to seeing more of your work in whatever journal it appears in.
07-18-2010, 02:53 AM
Xina - this is fantastic work! I agree with Debby's comments, and in addition, I think being active on this forum will help keep you motivated to continue on. I think it would have been a miracle if you had chosen the "right" sketchbook journal for yourself the first time around. I think we can only figure out what works for us by trying out different things.
Your sketches in the first book are wonderfully lively and spontaneous. But, I can see that it would be frustrating to find it so limited in terms of what materials it will take. And the second book is so good! You have a wonderful, intriguing mix of images and words.
I sometime let my perfectionist tendancies get in my way. If I have a book I planned to do one thing in, I have a hard time letting myself regroup and do something else in it. So after all, what would be wrong with a book that had BOTH daily musings and the things you actually see around you every day?? If you're reasonably satisfied with the paper in the second book, why not use it for both purposes? Meanwhile, keep looking around. As you learn more about what YOU want to do and how YOU want to work, you may find a journal that is even more perfect for you.
Meanwhile, I hope you keep posting to this thread. I really like the everyday aspect of your musings and seeing the things around you.
07-18-2010, 05:09 AM
I like these Journals. Interesting to see your thoughts as you were sketching. Dont' worry about not sketching in them every day, just sketch in them when you have time. I've a Journal - "The Changing Seasons Journal", in this Forum, which I haven't sketched in for ages, so it's buried away back, probably on Page 3 by this stage! By I will sketch in it soon (then again...........)!
07-18-2010, 09:48 AM
Xina, your sketches are terrific. As for the old, unfinished sketchbooks, it seems that we all have them. I know I do. I resurrected an old one recently to try working with pen. I think my problem was keeping the sketchbook for too narrow a purpose. I don't seem to have the attention span to use a whole sketchbook for just one purpose.
The sketches in the first sketchbook with the grid are great - especially for someone who was fighting the paper. But the paper problem was probably a big reason that you left that one unfinished. Maybe try using a Micron or a Pitt pen on that one - they seem to work on pretty much anything. If they bleed through it's probably okay since it was cheap paper and you are just trying to use up the book. I would stick to the second one for most of your sketches, whether from life or from your imagination or from photos. It's perfectly okay to combine them.
07-19-2010, 07:12 AM
Hi Xina, I think all your pages look great - I particularly like the grid paper "umbrella" drawing and your second sketchbook is really good. I, too would really like to be able to draw every day, but life and "paid" work gets in the way sometimes! I try to just make one or two days of the week definitely art days, even if it is just something quick.
I hope you find your own niche - I'd like to see more of your work!
07-19-2010, 08:55 AM
Thank you Debbie, Jean, Viv, Michelle and Jackie for your interest and encouragement. This forum is really helping, its so good to be able to share thoughts with others who understand. Artwise I'm a bit isolated, I'm not totally comfortable with the Art Society, and wouldn't show or discuss what I'm showing here. You are all great art friends all ready.
Jackie - I'm hoping, hoping that by keeping on working with the journals and getting that sketch habit I will get to that place, the niche, that is truly mine. Thank you for hoping that for me too.
07-19-2010, 09:13 AM
Xina I really like what you started with here. I hope you get back into it in some form and enjoy what you are doing. I know with my sketchbooks they are for all and anything. I can't stick to a topic or theme or medium as I swap and change all the time and I would worry about it becoming too "precious" and not being able to just play and have fun in it. I love your rain storm drawing and totally understand you being able to recall it exactly after having captured the moment in that way. That is the great thing about doing these sketches, capture memories, even more vividly than photos. They are real to you in such a special way. I look forward to sharing your journey and enjoying your wonderful art.
07-19-2010, 09:26 AM
Criky, why do I find it so difficult to get the habit? Xina
I think these pages are delightful!!! And EXACTLY what a fun sketchbook (IMO) ought to have: a smorgasbord of thoughts and ideas, either visual or written. Bravo! :thumbsup: I find the key to the whole thing for me personally is to have my sketchbook with me at all times. I keep it and a few favorite pens in my bag that I carry all the time. So if I have an idle minute to sketch or when I see a particularly sketch-worthy person or thing or when I overhear a particularly hilarious conversation or when an idea occurs to me, I can just whip that sketchbook out, on the spot.
It's very much a personal "thing" these sketchbooks, but I hope this advice helps anyway. Keep at it!
07-19-2010, 05:15 PM
Xina, your sketches are incredible. The walk in the rain is exciting, I love the textures you got and those accent strokes that give it an illustration look, hinting at the splashing raindrops. Your still life on the kitchen table rocks, self referential with the sketchbook and pen included. All of them are gorgeous.
I've been keeping up for over six months now with relatively few sick days. The main thing is that I promised myself that even if I felt completely rotten I'd try at least a two minute gesture sketch of my cat (the easiest possible subject since I'm so used to drawing my cat asleep). For you it could be anything you could sketch in under five minutes.
I found it easier to stick to that, even though yesterday I didn't manage to do it and last month there was a day I got sick and disoriented and didn't draw daily. I come close to managing it and often go a whole month without missing a day because I'll do those quick scribbles on bad days. For you it could be busy days when you're distracted.
Also I agree that getting good sketchbooks helps a lot. I love the Moleskine watercolor journals for that. But you do great in these with just pen or pencils! However frustrated you got with the Coloursofts (I think you mean pencil crayons, not crayons as such), they came out beautiful. Keep going, keep posting! Getting comments helps encourage me to do more.
07-20-2010, 11:00 AM
LOVE the walk in the rain drawing. . . great one.
07-20-2010, 12:27 PM
lots of interesting things there :)
I totally agree about the importance of using reasonably good paper - it just behaves so differently.
I had this problem with one class of students - they'd bought watercolour pads from a well know cheap cheap chain of bookstores/art materials shops. The paper was like blotting paper and one lady was despairing of ever learning to use watercolours. I got her to work on the back of an unsuccessful experiment of mine and she was amazed to find that she was actually doing pretty well :) she'd just never get anything good on the awful blotting paper she'd been insisting on. She changed to 'proper' paper and did some really good work and the class gradually changed over too.
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