Monday, February 12, 2007

Weekly Art Theme #1- Keeping an Illustrated Journal

You can call it an illustrated journal, an art journal, a sketch journal or sketchbook- all of these describe the book that you will be using for your work, but after you work in it for a while, you will find your book transform into something so much more than just a sketchbook. It will become a wonderful compilation of your creative self, using your art, tidbits of things you collect that inspire you, and your own journaling about the process or whatever is on your mind that day.

You will first need to purchase or begin using an unwritten-in, unlined sketchbook to devote to your illustrated journal. You can buy any brand you like, but look for one that opens flat when you work in it, so that you can work across both pages to make larger sketches. I like ones that are bound, rather than the spiral type, because you can draw without running into the spirals. Just check the bound types to make sure that they are easy to open completely flat.

My favorite type of book for this is the Moleskine brand large sketchbook. They can be purchased in most of the larger bookstore chains- (you know- the ones with the cafes and WiFi)....The size of this journal is compact and easy to carry along, and opens completely flat. The other great thing about these is that you cannot tear out the pages!! Yes- you heard me right! You do not want to discard any of your work along the way, because we are not perfect people. We are not art robots! When you make something that you think looks weird- write something funny about it in your journal or collage on it or add paint- transform it! You will become more creative if you don't let your internal editor get the best of you. This is about freeing you up to be creative. You can keep your art journal private or show it to everyone you know. It will be much more authentic if you let your work stay there and grow. So if you don't like how something came out, look at it the next day with fresh eyes and do something different to it, until you like it, or just let it be as a little record of how you were in that moment.

Another fun thing about Moleskine journals is that there is also a whole culture of devotees who are crazy about using that brand of journal, so it is fun to search on the internet and check out how other people are using their Moleskines. But, I digress- use any darn brand you wish- the important part of this is that you actually work in your sketchbook as much as possible. If you work in it daily, it will totally transform how you think about life and art and become part of who you are, but any work in it is valuable- just do it!!

So go get yourself a sketchbook today, if you can, and go ahead and draw or write something in it! Tomorrow, and the rest of the week, I will give you a new little idea each day about the work you can do in your new art journal. I know you will enjoy trying this.

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