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.
How apt is this quote from Hamlet. After reading this book I discovered how little we actually know about Shakespeare. It is almost unthinkable that we know almost nothing about , what most people will see as, the greatest writer ever in the English language ( and even as the greatest writer in any language!)
In fact, there is so little known about him that there are even people saying that somebody without at least university training can have such genius as to change the way that English is spoken today.
Even the image we know as Shakespeare today is somebody that we assume might have been the great man. it is shocking to think, that if friends and colleagues of Shakespeare did not put together a folio of his plays some years after his death, that most of his output would have been forgotten or totally lost today. He himself never had any of his works published. They were written, performed and then discarded. Even if the plays were popular and he was well known as a playwriter. his plays were not seen as something worth keeping for later generations.
Even though we think that his work is still original, clever and witty today, it must have been even better in his day where he incorporated referrals to politics and gossip of the day into the script. Remarks we will not be able to grasp or understand.
I often read Bill Bryson books as light fiction, slightly tongue in cheek, but I really enjoyed this one. It made me realize that genius is no guarantee to be remembered. How much poorer we would have been if the great treasure of Shakespeare plays would have been lost .
The very idea of it will let me start reading all my favorites again.
I had the great opportunity lately to join George Wentzel for a course on book binding. It was so refreshing to do something so totally out of your daily experience.
I always loved books, especially if they are well bound. for many years I have been keeping a travel journal and lately, started keeping, what I call, a visual journal. In it comes creative thoughts, random sketches and experimental art stuff, combined by special memories. (Even as much as a wine bottle label that is special and I will include the company I had when I drank it. Wine is always a social event in our house.)
Sketch books available in shops are so expensive, often poorly bound for intensive use, and the quality of paper often not up to the standard I need for the art media I use. I have been making my own style of journals for many years with better quality drawing paper. These I cover with leather and often a combination of leather and upholstery material.
My journals gives me endless joy,
I always knew that I do not really know what I am doing when making books.
Along comes an opportunity for book binding and I jumped at the opportunity. George is an incredible teacher. We started off with blank papers and ended up with professionally bound books. They do not even look handmade!