The habit of keeping an illustrated journal allows you to quickly jot down moments you want to remember, provides you space to record the stories of the day and helps you develop your own artistic style.
A long wait in an office is no longer tedious. It’s a time to reflect and draw, to record the shapes of the plant on the counter or the people around you.
What is an illustrated journal?
An illustrated or artist’s journal is different from paintings or a sketchbook full of pieces created for others to admire.
It’s more like a playground than an art gallery. Anything goes, a page of text, musings on the loss of a friend, a couple of pages of sketches of a backyard bird, a garden map or 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 or favorite quotes.
Relaxing with your illustrated 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.
After a while we realize the benefits of the process and we get urges to pick up our pens and sketchbooks and wander away from the busyness and stress of everyday life.
Drawing causes us to focus more intently on a subject, time disappears, shoulders loosen and bodies relax. Going outdoors to sketch recharges our need for beauty, it reminds us to use our senses and be present.
Books about keeping an illustrated journal
Check out some of my favorite books on keeping an illustrated journal here.
“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