After my blog on the book binding course I was asked about what a visual journal is, and how to use it.
I am an artist, with a fulltime job. I try to do something creative on a daily basis, even if it just a quick drawing in my journal. To create something regularly keep my mind active and in creative mode.
Previously I used to draw and make notes on any loose piece of paper I could lay my hands on. But I am sure you know what happens to such papers. By Day 3 they are all crumpled up and ends up in a dustbin.
With the visual journal I make my notes, make drawings, put down my creative ideas and make short entries on interesting places I visited. I even like sticking in interesting wine labels and note who enjoyed the wine or meal with me. It makes for vivid beautiful memories.
When I am not at work and moving around on weekends, my journal is an extension of me, going with me wherever I go. You never know what might inspire you.
On holidays it becomes a travel journal. It makes every trip a bit of slow living. On vacations I tend to draw a lot, on location. For that you have to sit down, see what is in front of you and really experience it. Later, when I go back to my drawing I can relive my experience. I can not only recall the place, but also the quality of light, the atmosphere of the place, the smells and the sounds. This is much better than photo’s, as often people can hardly recall what cathedral or place they photographed.
As a visual journal often acts to refresh old memories, notes and small sketches can act as stimuli for a new art project, especially in times when the creative muse ignores me. Then a small sketch or idea can be an inspiration for art. These sketches would be those that previously landed in the dustbin.
For these journals I make my own books. I buy good quality drawing paper that I bind into book form. This gives me excellent quality paper to write and draw on, that is well bound and will not fall apart half way through the book. I then cover the book in leather and strong upholstery material. This makes your book more sturdy and nice to touch and to hold onto.
Using a visual journal enriches my life. If you want to live a full and creative life, I can recommend it.