The Blank Sketchbooks

A recent discussion on the Quiltart list about using and hoarding blank sketchbooks has led me to my new year's commitment- make journaling a part of my daily life again. I have shelves of journals, but I have let the habit drop the last two years, except when I was working on a specific project that took pen and paper.

My January workshop (artist journey/artist journal) is one with a journal habit focus -- and I'm a bit embarrassed to admit my own laxity. So, guess this is a good time to resume. One decision: now that I'm relying often on my iPad for day-to-day notes and resources, do I go to an electronic journal, like a special notebook on Evernote or Circus Notebooks, or even Bento? Or find another software (a task in itself!) Or use paper book and iPad both? Or make a back-to-paper decision, since it's just more of an object that has the sensory pleasures of tactile and linear time inherent and intact. I really love electronic media, and unlike many artists and non-artists alike, find that it has amazing and interesting and full of creative potential. I love taking photos to spark art work; like the instant alterations possible with photo and art apps; just love exploring the mixed media aspects of the screen. I still want to buy a stylus and try working enscreen with that kind of interface.

A commitment to daily private journaling would be different than the (not so regular) blogging I did this year. one doesn't like to whine in public, does one? But electronically, would it feel the same?

And back to the Quiltart discussion -- seems there are a lot of people out there who collect the beautiful books, blank sketchbooks with lovely papers, but rarely use them, at least not beyond a few days. I do have some suggestions, ones that work. And, those I'll be tackling myself to get back in the habit, before my workshop January 21.

First, answer a why: Why do you want to keep a sketchbook or artists's journal? What purpose can you imagine it serving? We are all too busy to do things without reason. Here are a few reasons to consider:
To deepen your work and path as an artist
To document your work process and creative process so that you can be more productive and more conscious of your process
To give you references and resources and inspirations for a particular project or series of work
To organize all those scraps and bits and pieces that you collect in a month, a season, a year
As a way to move past blocks, the inner critic, the unexamined things that keep you from your work as an artist ( for this, I recommend Artist Pages a la The Artists Way by Julia Cameron)
To record your work in process
To record creative action and work so that at the end of the year you know what and where you have been
As a work of art in itself -- artist journaling as an art form can combine or contain any of the other reasons and purposes, but the opposite is not necessarily true. I have never thought of my journals as works of art, and no one would think so to see them, but I do enjoy seeing the work of those who do journal that way.
As art and skill practice. For example, journals with a drawing a day, an art quilt journal with a small quilt each week, a sketch diary carried and used daily to improve drawing skills, etc.

So what's your purpose?

And are you committed to that purpose?

Here's what Seth Godin had to say about that today:
The reason productivity improvements don't work (as well as they could)

GTD, 18 minute plans, organized folders... none of them work as well as you'd like.

The reason is simple: you don't want to get more done.

You're afraid. Getting more done would mean exposing yourself to considerable risk, to crossing bridges, to putting things into the world. Which means failure.

The leap the lizard brain takes when confronting the opportunity is a simple formula: GTD=Failure.

Until you quiet the resistance and commit to actually shipping things that matter, all the productivity tips in the world aren't going to make a real difference. And, it turns out, once you do make the commitment, the productivity tips aren't that needed."

You don't need a new plan for next year. You need a commitment.

Tomorrow (or next day) i'll Iist some fun ways to engage in journaling, no matter your purpose,-- and, if you're in the area, there is still room in the workshop next month at El Cielo Studios.