Friday, September 19, 2014

Journals and Sketchbooks

The past couple of years have been a lean time for me as far as art is concerned. It seemed that my pictures were getting worse rather than progressing so I took a few breaks and concentrated mainly on hobbies, journals and a little experimenting in my sketch book. I guess I was still hoping to find my mojo, again.

The top picture is a rough sketch that I was experimenting with, this morning. It's a long time since I did much with graphite pencils but I have some ideas in my head that I'm itching to experiment with. (Hopefully, these will be the subjects of my next posts.)

Here below are some pages from different journals that could possibly inspire some more journaling ideas. Most of them aren't particularly artistic and some are just practical.

This pen, ink and coloured pencil sketch was drawn quite rapidly as my husband and I sat on our veranda, chatting on a warm, spring afternoon. I love pen and ink as it is so quick and expressive. (The corn was delicious, BTW!)

This is a recipe journal that I hope to add much more of our favourite recipes to. The pictures are drawn with coloured pencils. I'm hoping that it will become like one of those treasured, grandma's recipe books that are passed down through the generations - but, I may need to experiment with the drawings first.

This one is my hobbies journal. In this book, so far, I have written out knitting and crochet patterns, as well as photos of finished projects. I haven't done much sewing, lately, but, when I do, that will go in this journal, too.

The hobbies journal also has some useful tables and information such as this conversion chart which converts US crochet terms to the UK versions.

This journal is a pretty, red colour on the outside but inside it's just plain and useful. I use it for lists, ideas and reminders. I also use my iPad for reminders but I'm still attached to the old-fashioned paper way of doing things!

Here's an old diary page from a couple of years ago. This diary sort of petered out as my struggles with art grew. I've recently bought a beautiful, tinted journal to make a pictorial, family diary but, typical of me, I've been too afraid to ruin it with my first entry!

This is another old journal that I hope to pick up, again. The children and I enjoy nature study together but it takes some discipline to keep up a nature journal. When I got my first DSLR, a couple of years ago, we started taking photos instead but I still think that a handmade journal is much more personal.

This is a watercolour pencil experiment from one of my sketchbooks. Last Christmas, one of my daughters bought me a gorgeous, wooden watercolour pencil set and I've been experimenting to see how I can make them work with my normal pencils. I had some nice effects by using them as a base for portrait work - it speeded up the process hugely - but I think I would use them more for illustration than fine portraiture.
This red journal is my daily diary. The entries in here are short enough that I have been able to persevere with it through every day of this year. Quite an achievement for the queen of putting things off till tomorrow!

And, finally, my little pile of journals. One journal that is missing is a travel journal - simply because I haven't done any traveling, lately! Something else to put in my dream basket...


  1. Vicky,

    I suspect my comment of earlier today didn't actually get through to you. Something strange happened as I tried to publish it. Never mind. I shall try again.

    I really enjoyed looking at all your journals. I sometimes yearn to keep a journal with drawings and other personal additions. I have actually bought a number of suitable notebooks, but I haven't made a start. I keep looking at the blank pages and I'm too scared to spoil them. What if I make a mistake? Will I have to rip out a page? I know I should just begin.

    Journalling on my computer is so much easier because I can use the delete button if I'm not happy. But no one will treasure such a journal as much as your family will treasure your hand written and drawn journals. They all look so very special. I imagine they will become family heirlooms, especially the recipe and pattern ones. Can you imagine passing them to your daughters and then to your granddaughters? I can!

    "Quite an achievement for the queen of putting things off till tomorrow!" I like that and I can identify with those words too!

  2. I've heard that a lot of people have trouble starting that first page so it's not just you and me, Sue. I wonder if it would help to buy two journals at the same time so there's a backup and they don't seem so precious. I don't know why I'm afraid of spoiling journals because I've looked at other people's journals and there are so many beautiful ones that really aren't 't perfect. Perhaps, the imperfections are part of the personal appeal - like distressed furniture.

    I tried journaling on my iPad but I think I need to have real paper to persevere. Digital versions are definitely easier though, I think.

    This morning, Megan bought a couple of A5 journals from Typo that might help with discipline. One is called A a Photo a Day and the other is called A Drawing a Day. They both have really pretty pages and space to write notes or memories. I was tempted to get one until I remembered my pile of unfinished journals at home.

    Thank you for your lovely comment, Sue :-)

  3. These are really wonderful drawings and the journals will make a great souvenir in days to come.

    I was told years ago "Make happy memories. They will sustain you when things go wrong." I never got to start a journal or diary though.

    God bless you and your family.

    1. Thank you, Victor. Yes, it must be a lot nicer to reach old age with an abundance of happy memories, rather than regrets, I think.

      I hope you and your family are well. God bless :-)

  4. A beautiful look at your very artistic journals! Something I always wanted to do (but never have) is to make my own journal from scratch and fill it with sketches, thoughts, quotes etc that I love. I love the look of pen and ink too :)

  5. Thank you, Kelly. I've always wanted to hake a homemade journal, too. The children and I have made craft-like versions but it would be so neat to make a beautifully bound leather to hand down through the generations. I found some tutorials online which don't seem too difficult so maybe that could be a future project.

    Here is one link that looked quite doable -

    Thank you for commenting, Kelly :-)


Thank you for reading my blog. I appreciate your comments and feedback. Vicky