Friday, November 19, 2010

Daily Illustrated Journaling

illustrated journal
I try to make it a point to journal everyday, if only for a few minutes. The main point is to remember the fun people, enjoyable food, and warm friendships made and enjoyed, especially while in China.

Journal about the simple things
Of course, you don't have to go to faraway places to record memories. For example, Ruth showed some how to make sushi, Hawaiian style (or at least as mom made it). We had wine and coke. We made barley tea, a very strong Japanese tea that requires boiling, as well as Chinese green tea. (That's the little green things in the upper right portions of the left page. Can't you tell?!) These are simple activities that are easy to record anywhere.

illustrated journal
Of course, none of the daily sketches are anything fancy but they bring back tons of memories. I post these to help you see that your entries don't have to be fancy, they can take just minutes to do but years later you'll have a richness in your journal like no other.

A sketch is worth 10,000 words
If a photograph is worth 1,000 words, then your own sketch must speak 10,000. I've often looked at a photograph I took and couldn't remember the people or the event. That's never happened with any of my sketches.

We remember our sketches and the feelings they bring back much faster than written words. The words though, supply what the pictures cannot. The two combined make for a powerful record of a memory book. Lewis and Clark practiced this kind of journaling when they traveled. Their journals are some of the most incredible, especially when you consider the conditions under which they were written. No hanging out in an air conditioned RV overlooking the setting sun. No. More like tents and backpacks resting against rocks while they massaged sore feet from miles of walking. Still they found time to write and sketch. (Check out the Lewis and clark journals here.

illustrated journal
Rather than paste stuff cut out of magazines into your journal, I'd encourage you to draw your own memories. Don't do anything real fancy. Keep it basic. Over time your sketches will improve, perhaps become framable art. But the point is to remember the times. A few lines in your journal will do that.

I notice that many that come to my blog are searching Google for "365 Journal Entries." My guess is that they want journal to record a year's worth of memories. My journals are usually at least about 400 pages. This enables me to carry a years worth around with me. Sometimes when I get stuck, I'll flip back and re-read or review other sketches. It's enough to boost me or jog my creative juices to create the next day's illustrated journal entry.

Later when the paints come out, color wash a few and enhance your images. You'll be surprised that a little color (or even a monochromatic hue) bring your quick sketches to a whole new level. Oh, and while you have color on your brush, go back and touch some more past sketches. You'll be glad you did.

Use the right tools
Craftsmen know that good tools make a difference. The only thing to keep in mind for illustrated journaling is to use a waterproof ink. I use uni-ball Vision Micro pens everyday. They are cheap, easy to purchase at any Walmart or art store, and provide a jet black line. I wish uni-ball made them in brown.

These sketches were done in Noodlers waterproof whaler's brown ink. (I mean, come on, you need waterproof ink on a whaling ship. Right? I know this isn't too politically correct but don't blame me, I didn't give the ink its name.) This ink was a special run and I picked it up from but you can get a similar Noodlers Standard Brown Fountain Pen Ink at Amazon.

But if you do go out to check out their cheap Preppy 05 fountain pen. I bought about four of them and filled them with my own ink. Just remove the cartridge and fill the body with the ink of choice. (Put a little Vaseline on the threads to prevent any possible leaks.) For three dollars you can't go wrong.

Every artist was first an amateur. - Ralph Waldo Emerson


Wendi said...

I love this ENTIRE post (not to mention your entire blog)! Thank you so much for posting this. It is very helpful, inspirational, and a nice little slap up side the head to remind me to stop making my illustrated journaling so complicated. Awesome!

dave terry said...

Hey Wendi, yeah even I need the reminder. Sometimes I try to make it way too perfect. Happy journaling!