|A new kind of drawing practice|
This is typically the time of year when I start preparing my planner and DIY daily log/journal for the following year. After the colossal disappointment that 2020 turned out to be, with all my travel plans and other events (even mundane events like going to Jazzercise) crossed out, it’s hard to even think about a 2021 planner. But I’m going to be optimistic and believe that I might be able to pencil in events by the second half of 2021, so I’ve purchased another Leuchtturm weekly planner.
Until this year, I had been DIY-ing my planner, but for 2020 I tried the Leuchtturm weekly with some personal enhancements (see my review at the Well-Appointed Desk). Other than most of its pages being empty (which I can’t blame the planner for), the Leuchtturm has met my needs well, so that’s the planner that will hold some hope for 2021.
The daily log/journal, however, is another matter. It’s still serving my needs as a simple place to record where I’ve sketched, books, movies and TV shows I’ve consumed, fitness or health achievements, natural or current events, major purchases, new foods or beverages I’ve tried – things like that. But I find that I rarely look back at it, partly because it’s difficult to find anything, but mainly because it’s not very interesting (especially this year, but again, I can hardly blame the log). So I’ve been thinking about ways to change the log/journal format to make it more fun to keep as well as more interesting to review later.
Meanwhile, I recently committed to practicing drawing more from imagination and memory, and one way to do that is by keeping a visual journal. I was encouraged by the exercise I did in the Gage class I took last month, Sketchbook Techniques and Expression, to make a sketch journal page drawn completely from my head. That journal spread took a couple of hours, however, which is neither sustainable nor desirable.
Since then, I’ve been making much simpler, smaller and more casual journal pages that take only 15 or 20 minutes each evening. I would snort to call this an “art” journal or even a “sketch” journal . . . it’s more like a doodle or scribble journal. Whatever it’s called, I’ve been doing it daily for about three weeks, and the process has been sustainable so far. More important, it’s fun and meets my goal to practice drawing from my head.
I’ve been using black fountain pen ink or a black brush pen to make simple line drawings, then adding spot color with pencils. The sketchbook is a 6-by-8-inch spiralbound Stillman & Birn Zeta that I had rejected early on for urban sketching because I don’t like carrying a spiralbound book. Since this journal stays home, though, the binding is not an issue. And since I’m using simple materials without water, I could use up plenty of random sketchbooks I have on hand that I had initially rejected for various reasons (inappropriate or mediocre paper, uncomfortable size or format, somehow not “right”).
I consider these pages part of my personal journal and not intended for public consumption, so I won’t be sharing their contents regularly, but I’ve clipped a few images here as examples. To push myself to draw from imagination, I sometimes try to view myself externally. For example, instead of drawing only a symbol of whatever I may have sketched that day, I draw myself sketching it (how’s that for meta?).
I’m finding that the contents of these scribble journal pages are mostly redundant with my log book: A record of media consumed, foods eaten (lots of food! From the looks of my journal, you’d think I do nothing but eat all day!), walks taken, yoga classes attended, things and places sketched. I’ll keep my scribble journal going for the rest of the year, and if I decide to commit to it, I’ll let it replace the log in 2021. (I’ll still keep a separate written journal as I always have for thoughts, ideas and memories I want to explore in writing.) I’m hoping that my scribble journal will have an added benefit that my current log book doesn’t: Being more fun to look back through. I already think it helps me remember even mundane things better: When I draw something, I’m much more likely to recall it later.
Edited 1/4/21: Here's an update on how my scribble journal is going.