Notebooks & Sketchbooks & Journals...Oh My!

I love getting questions from readers!  So a while back, Trece asked why I have so many journals, what kinds are they and how often do I work in them.  This particular question took a bit of thought and counting because as of today, I have 28 journals in progress and 17 sketchbooks.  And true confession time: since I began journaling in 2000, I have amassed a pathetic grand total of 6 finished journals.  What can I say?  I am a consummate starter and often not the greatest finisher.

I tried to get a bit of all 28 journals in the shot...
So why so damn many journals?  The short & sweet answer is that I obsessively compartmentalize much like the person who doesn't doesn't like different foods to touch on her dinner plate.  Specific color schemes, themes, and technical styles are all kept separate.

Let's look at a binding breakdown of the 28 journals currently weighing down my bookshelves:
  • 9 handmade by me
  • 6 commercial/pre-made (spiral bound)
  • 5 altered books
  • 2 commercial/pre-made (sewn binding)
  • 2 loose leaf collections
  • 2 ring binders
  • 1 Moleskine
Of the 28, only one (that lone Moleskine) is composed entirely of my drawing & painting and contains zero collage.  The other 27 are mixed media journals to varying degrees.

In the last week, I worked in 6 of the 28 journals and of that 6, there are only two that I work in every single day.  The vast majority of the remaining journals are only opened every few months and yes, there are a couple that I haven't visited in over a year (or two).  Still, one of my life goals is to see all of these journals through to the end.  Is that possible?  Yes.  Probable?  ummm....

In addition to my journals, I have 20 sketchbooks currently in progress.  The stats on these are far different.  15 are commercial spiral-bound sketchbooks (most with black hard covers).  4 are altered books and 1 is a commercial -made, sewn bound notebook.  I use my sketchbooks to plan big projects, drawing, cartooning, brainstorming, testing products & techniques, and taking notes on classes, business, or supplies.  A little over half are filled only with my drawing and doodling.  In the others, collage is only used to add in notes or inspiring images.  Otherwise, most of the content is by my own hand.  I work in many of these  every day.

I also have dozens of blank journals waiting in the wings for the perfect project, too many to count.  In fact, I think you could safely label me a "blank journal hoarder."  Oh I often tell my son, there are far worse things to collect.

So there you have it...hope that answered your question Trece and now that you all think I'm crazy, I'm off to work in one of those journals...


iHanna said…
Wow, 28???? And I thought my four ongoing was a lot, at least too many for me. I prefer havkng one art journal at a time. But fun to know & read about your habits, thanks.
Cate Rose said…
You can never have too many journals! What an inspiring photo of your hoard, and I love your little tags.
I've been "writing" journaling for years although a few years back I dumped the 30 volumes I'd saved until then. Don't write as much these days but still use a grid paper spiral-bound black hardcover journal for that (I'm on my 2nd since the big dump). And I've made close to a dozen books now, just since a couple months ago, that will get used if/when they do. Plus the art journal I just completed, and the one close to completion.
Making them and using them are two completely separate loves -- and I don't feel the need to justify making them with having to use them.
So keep on keeping on!
Heather said…
Wow, that is a lot of journals and sketchbooks to be working in at one time! I start to feel bad if I am working in 8 or 10 at a time, because then I'm afraid that some will be neglected (and I don't want any of my journals to feel left out :), but I see that I have hardly any journals compared to how many you have. That is impressive, it truly is...
Emie58 said…
WOW!!! I work in 3-4 at a time... but I'm not as organized with the content as you are. I also hoard new journals..... cos you just never know!!!!!
Thanks for sharing, Emie
ingridp said…
WHO limit yourself? I'm like you, I have not even counted them. Quite a cheap habit and nothing to be worried about.
As long as one is happy about it, keep on. Thank you for your post. Fun!
ingridp said…
Sorry it should be WHY!
I stumbled across your journal tags for spiral bound notebooks ages ago and thought "what a wonderful idea". This week I decided I'd like to implement your genius idea and have been searching for it all week. I finally found you and am thrilled. Yours is the best idea I've seen for cataloguing spiral bound notebooks and, apparently, you are unique! Noone else has thought to do anything as simple and elegant. Thank you so much for sharing your brilliance. BTW 28 is not outrageous. 😁