Illustrated Journals

Illustrated Journal Drawing by Patricia BenthamThe habit of keeping illustrated journals allows me to quickly jot down moments I want to remember, it provides me with space to record the stories of the day and it helps me develop my own artistic style.

A long wait in an office is no longer tedious, it is a time to reflect and draw and I am content sketching shapes and jotting down the interactions of those around me.

What is an illustrated journal?

An illustrated or artist’s journal is different from a sketchbook full of art, pieces created for others to admire.

It is more like a playground than an art gallery. Anything goes, a page of text, musings on the loss of a friend, two pages of sketches of a backyard bird , a garden map, quick renderings of your favorite things.

Maintaining an illustrated or artist’s journal is a fun way to practice your drawing skills, to play with compositions and page layouts and to experiment with different media. It sharpens your powers of observation and is a place to record not only what you see in front of you but also your feelings, inspirations and favorite quotes.


Some of my Favorite Things

Relaxing with your journal…

Give yourself permission to relax and have fun without putting pressure on your self. There are no mistakes, just learning to slow down, to see a line, a shadow, the negative space around an object. Sometimes you get it right the first time, more often you take another look and try again. Pages can be ripped out or left in. Leave the lines that don’t work, draw a new line on top.

Forget perfection. Keeping an illustrated journal is not about having pages of stunning drawings, it is about improving your ability to see what is in front of you and to communicate what is within you.

Becoming an Illustrated Journal Addict…

Getting involved in illustrated journaling reminds you to be inquisitive, to pay attention, to wonder, to be more creative and to connect to playfulness and delight. Coffee shops and libraries provide free models and the changing seasons supply new material for drawing. Every page is an opportunity for a new experience.

Perhaps our bodies realize the benefits of the process and send signals to our brains to urge us to pick up our pens and sketchbooks and wander away from the busyness and stress of everyday life.

When I use drawing as a tool to focus more intently on a subject, time disappears, my shoulders loosen and my body relaxes. Going outdoors to sketch recharges my need for beauty, it reminds me to use my senses and be present.


February 1st


I love helping others to find ways to express their own style and tell their stories. If you’d like to learn more, contact me for the dates of my next Illustrated Journal workshop.


Metchosin Days

“Nobody sees a flower, really — it is so small — we haven’t time and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.”– Georgia O’Keeffe

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Patricia Bentham
Phone: 250.474.7162

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