Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Place for Everything vs. Everything in Its Place

Marley says: "OMG!  That's a lot of journals!"
Some people are what I call "kitchen sink" journalers.  They start one journal (perhaps even number it) and everything (except the proverbial kitchen sink) goes into that journal: doodles, to-do lists, daily observations, private rants, artistic experiments, collected ephemera.  Only when that tome is complete do they begin another.

I am what you might call a "compartment" journaler.  I like to separate themes, techniques, styles...sort of like someone who doesn't like foods to touch on her dinner plate.  At last count, I have 19 different art journals in play.  There's one for poetry, one for red & black pages, a couple for collage, one for portraits practice, a Moleskine for sketching, another for watercolor, and so on and on and on.  This system allows me to rotate journals to fit my current mood and interests, not to mention always having another journal to work in while pages are drying.  When a journal is complete (which doesn't happen often), it has a cohesive look and thorough exploration of a particular idea and/or style.  The downside is that it is hard to follow the development of my "look" or narrative of my days as the timeline is scattered throughout many volumes.

I also keep a variety of sketchbooks - 16 in all last time I checked.  Again, the material is compartmentalized: one book for cartooning practice, one for business ruminations, one for supply experiments...well, you get the idea.  I generally favor spiral bound blank books with heavyweight drawing or watercolor paper inside.  (I absolutely loathe sketchbooks with crap paper!)

For the longest time, I thought I wanted to be a "kitchen sink" journaler.  I admire the looseness of such journals, the causal collection of a day's doings, the step-by-step life story laid out in bits and pieces of gathered goodies and doodles.  I've even attempted such a journal but when I really paid attention to how this type of journaling made me feel, I realized I simply could not mash things together and be content.

Every journal is as unique as a fingerprint or a snowflake.  There is no wrong way to keep a journal and each journal keeper ultimately develops a style that fits him or her like a glove.  The process of discovering the "perfect" journaling style can take a while; there are so many examples online and in books to study, so many, many techniques to try.  As you sort through all the inspiration & information, pay attention to those techniques, methods, and materials that feel comfortable, fun, and invigorating.  Therein lies the path to the special blend of journaling that represents and nourishes your own unique soul.


Sarah Knight said...

Interesting... I actually write a journal, and have sporadically for years. Every now and then, mostly for my own amusement I go back and read through things I've written and chuckle at the mundanity of my life. Surely, the creator of the Lifetime made-for-television-movie about my life will want to include the part where I ran the dishwasher & cleaned out & replaced the water in the fish bowls...

On the other hand, I am an artist, and while I'm not even remotely anal about dates, I can always see periods of thought in my sketchbooks... and have never really been a fan of having people (whether its just curious onlookers or relatives) leafing through them. Because while they never contain the excitements of my exploits of finally folding all the socks — somehow, my thoughts & ideas are chronicled in thumbnails and little margin notes...

Anonymous said...

I had dreams of joining in the art journaling challenge yet knew daily creating is overly ambitious. Like exercise I have to find ways to add more to my life, hoping to build up to daily creativity.
OK- I am creative daily, but do not artistically create every day, have something tangible to show.
So I am clicking on random names on the sign up list for inspiration. Choosing your name was a good choice.

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