their work and words, interviews, blogs, images, hints, tips, websites
and more...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Developing the Journaling Habit

That's one of the big topics in the poll in our sidebar (and feel free to vote, it'll stay up!), so I'd like to throw that open for discussion!  Correspondents, readers (friends, Romans, countrymen), lend us your...ideas!

Mine, of course, is that I carry a journal of some sort wherever I go...I even have tiny ones in the glove boxes of both our vehicles.  (There's always a pen, pencil, ballpoint, whatever, with me, of course, or I can FIND one.)

I'm READY.  It's handy.  So I take time to do it.

Spring at the Westlake Ace Hardware store...J. had gone in to shop for something, and I opted to wait by the flowering plants and sketch!

And then, I think of tiny bits of time as gifts.  If I'm waiting somewhere, if I have a few minutes, I take time to sketch in my journal, and perhaps make a few notes about what's going on.  It doesn't take long...

How about you?


  1. I love your idea about taking your journal with you all the time. I will do that. I'd like to draw /journal more. One thing I do do is keep my sketchbook with a large box of lots of colors of sharpies next to my recliner so at night when I sit down I sketch whatever be it my husband's foot or the dog's nose.. whatever. This is fun, thank you for your encouraging words and your beautiful art, Diana ps. I'd love it if you would look at my work sometimes. www.dianamdaviswatercolor.blogspot.com

  2. Diana! What beautiful work, your flowers look touchable.

    Yes, I keep something to draw on in by the bed, and watercolor sets and sketching tools there, by the couch, by the computer, in the Jeep, in the kitchen! If I do a sketch I like and it's not in the journal, I just paste it in!

    And thank you for your kind words.

  3. Being prepared to journal, to capture and use the time that we ordinarily lose waiting, and learning to recognize those times are all part in parcel to developing sketching habits. Set small goals and then celebrate your victories once you've achieved them.

    Some other recommendations if you have trouble making journaling a habit...get involved with one of the sketching challenges online, i.e. Everyday Matters or the Sketchbook Project...

    Choose a theme and set goals for yourself...draw your dog/cat/neighborhood/flower garden three times a week for no less than 10 minutes. Once you've master that, move the goal!

    Find (or create) a group or sketching buddy, set up sketch dates and then DO IT. Get out on location!

    Sometimes, the victory is the fact that you sketched your dog, on location, or with a friend RATHER than the actual sketch. Celebrate that victory big or small!

    Set an appointment on your calendar the same as you would a doctor's appointment. Honor the appointment. Go to the place you're going to sketch (even if it's your living room) and stay there making marks on any piece of paper for a minimum for 15 minutes. If, after 15 minutes, you're still not feeling inspired, stop. If you are, go for another 15 minutes. If you're like me, just making marks on scrap paper usually fires off some sort of spark and I then fan the spark to see where it will lead.

    Trick yourself...work on cheap paper that is not in your journal....draw, paint, splash, scribble, do a test run of your idea...tell yourself it's just for practice, you'll do the "real art" later in journal....often times, true progress is made on the scrap paper that isn't made in a journal because we're too intimidated. We're afraid of messing up the page.

    Hope these help!

  4. Hi Laure, you give some good advices there! Advices to get into sketching and to get into the important small things in our lifes... I think that's what I thank my drawing obsessions most for. The fact that I learn how to enjoy the smallest and simpliest things in my everyday life.
    You advices are all very true and effective. Good luck to your followers and yourself!
    "A bientôt!", Helen.

  5. Wonderful suggestions, Laure, thank you! That is SO true that people can be too afraid of messing up a page to even start...

  6. Thanks, Helen, you have the straight of it....to enjoy the smallest and simple things in our day.

    My pleasure Kate, I'm one of those that used to suffer from "messing-up-the-page-so-I'm-not-even-going-to-start" disease, so I relate to others with that fear. Use scrap, a cheap notebook pad, a napkin, the back of page that are destined for the trash bin, anyway, so that you can start. Makes a huge difference in your stress level!

  7. A lot of people have that problem, Laure, especially if they have a beautiful or expensive journal. It CAN be intimidating!

  8. Great ideas. It's so true that you have to make time, otherwise you'll always say "I just don't have time to paint/sketch, etc."

  9. I'm thinking about that a lot lately, Sue. I'm working on that new class on quick sketching, and noticing especially how much I can get done in tiny bits of time.

  10. Regarding the discussion about fear of the blank page, I posted an article on my blog a while back about a Drawing Practice Book. It's a technique where you take an old book (with words in it) and draw/paint right over the words. Similar to Laure's comment about it being sort of a throwaway, it gives you sort of an unofficial place to get your feet wet. Check out my post here: http://www.stevepenberthy.com/2008/01/conquer-blank-page-with-drawing.html


  11. I had to chuckle at Laure Ferlita's comment about "I'm -not-even-going-to start" disease." My journals are so far from that I'm sure they would give all your 'beautiful' journal keepers the willies. I've been filling journals for for over 30 years .... I tell myself they are 'working journals.' They are full of scratched out words, false starts, even spatted with raindrops; but, for me, they capture the moment.

    I once tried to start a new journal and stay tidy, but it was so limiting. I love the freedom given to me by my working journal. ... and virtually evey time I get in the car I have my journal on my lap .... so there are a few tea stains etc there too. I'll plan to post on flicker a sketch of my journal showing its important pockets. ... maybe today, tormorrow ...soon.

    If my house was burning I reach for our photos and my journals first.

  12. Elva, I know just what you mean, mine are definitely hard workers! I may make them with covers I like but I expect them to get pretty ratty by the time they're filled.

    Business cards, grocery lists, coffee stains, recipes, food spills, torn edges, dirt...it all goes into my journal. I don't really make art journals, I make artists' journals. An artist with a full, busy life! They're precious, though, in the sense you suggest. If I had to evacuate, the journals and the cats would go first!

    And Steve, thanks! That's a great post.


We'd love your feedback...please share your thoughts!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...