|11/14/20 Early pages include more white space.|
A couple of months ago I started a trial daily “scribble journal.” In the past, I’ve tried various versions of a daily sketch journal sporadically, but I never sustained the habit for more than a few days. I think one big reason the habit didn’t stick was that the format was redundant of some other habit I already had. If I sketched something from observation in the journal, then how was that different from my “regular” daily-carry sketchbook? If I sketched something merely to record what I did that day, then it was redundant of the text-only log book I’ve kept for years. (The latter is a simple bulleted list of places and things I’ve sketched, books, movies and TV shows I’ve consumed, fitness or health achievements, natural or current events, major purchases, and new foods or beverages I’ve tried.) Those sketch journal attempts didn’t feel like they served a unique purpose.
After a successful sketch journal page created for the Sketchbook Techniques and Expressions class I was taking through Gage, I was encouraged to focus a daily sketch journal practice on sketching from memory and imagination rather than from observation. This would eliminate redundancy with my ongoing sketch practice.
The trial I began in November was to find out if I enjoyed the process enough to sustain it and whether it served a unique purpose. For the remainder of 2020, I continued with my usual log book, which confirmed that the two books recorded mostly redundant information. If the scribble journal were enjoyable and sustainable, however, it could replace the log book in 2021.
That’s where I am now: On Dec. 31, I completed the trial book (an amazing coincidence to have exactly the number of pages I needed to finish it on Dec. 31! How often does that happen?!). On Jan. 1, I stopped keeping my formerly text-only log book and replaced it with a fresh book for my daily scribble journal.
|12/4/20 The blow-up Santa and reindeer was an attempt at drawing from memory something I saw during my morning walk.|
Keeping my scribble journal has become more enjoyable over time while also being more challenging to keep than a written log book/journal. I’ve been a writer my whole life, professionally and on my own time. Although I won’t say writing is effortless, describing or explaining something with words is probably the one skill I have that is as close to “second nature” as any. But when it comes to describing something visually, that’s a skill I’ve been working on for less than a decade. Drawing from observation has become easier over time, yet it’s never without challenge. And now my scribble journal is pushing me to think more visually and describe things visually.
|12/10/20 I'm filling up more of the page lately with both sketches and writing.|
With more page space than the vertical inch or so of text space I used to devote to each day, I can write more commentary when I want to. When I compare the early pages to the later ones, I see that I’m filling in the page space more effectively with both words and sketches. The drawings are often nothing more than rudimentary stick figures and symbols made from imagination (or lack thereof). But sometimes they are conscious efforts to study something visual during the day and then draw from memory that evening (more on that process in an upcoming post). I enjoy making the crude, cartoon-like sketches with no attempt at shading or modeling in any way (which is something I practice regularly with nearly everything I sketch from life). I’m pushed to think about things in a different way than I’m used to.
Representing my yoga practice has been especially challenging and often humorous! I try to visualize what I look like while I’m doing a pose, but it’s not easy. I can study my instructor’s pose on the screen and try to draw from my memory of that, but I’m not nearly as flexible as she is, so my body doesn’t always form the same shapes!
|12/28/20 When I sketch my own little red car, it's a symbol to myself that I made a sketch from inside my car.|
|Fresh Leuchtturm journal in optimistic yellow.|
For the trial, I used a spiralbound Stillman & Birn Zeta that I happened to have available. Although I love the heavy paper and surface, I don’t need that level of paper quality for something I call a scribble journal. I also prefer a volume with more pages. Since using wet media wasn’t important to me for this purpose, I decided to use an A5-size, hardcover, unruled Leuchtturm 1917 journal, which was my favorite format for my log books. I like the familiar feel of the book, which reminds me that I haven’t stopped keeping a daily log; it has simply morphed into a more visual form.
|Simple materials close at hand.|