Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Sketch Journal of an Ordinary Day

5/18/20 sketch journal page

“Sketch journaling” has varying interpretations by its many practitioners, but in general, it’s a journal format that incorporates both words and pictures that describe one’s day. Admiring the sketch journal processes I’ve seen online, I’ve tried making such pages a few times, but it hasn’t been a format that “sticks” as a regular habit. As a journal writer my whole life, maybe it’s just too easy for me to fall back on words, the format I’m used to.

In any case, when Urban Sketchers Japan’s weekly challenge was to make a sketch journal, I was inspired to give it a shot again. One aspect that interested me was that the group intended to stay focused on urban sketching, which means drawing only from life, not photos or imagination, and “telling a story” with their subject matter and its context. This was a familiar form of sketching that I could reach for easily.

 I found myself somewhat hyper-aware of my mundane activities that day, seeking out whatever was more visual to describe with sketches. Taking a walk was easy; I just stopped at a traffic circle and sketched a parked car and trailer. Our Fred Meyer grocery pickup was so mundane and non-visual (the pickup spot is a dark garage) that I almost skipped it, but it was the only thing we “did” that day! I felt compelled to include it.

By dinnertime, I had filled the page spread with five small sketches describing my day. As you can see, not much happened. On the other hand, that day is now more memorable than the other six (similarly mundane) days that week because I made this page. And more important, I enjoyed the process. It was both challenging and fun to think about my activities in a visual way.


  1. Pages like this are fun to do, but require a bit of time...or at least bits of time thru the day if you are doing it as it happens. You did a great job on this.

    1. I guess it did take a little more time in total, but it didn't feel like it because each little sketch took only a few minutes.


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