I always try to keep a sketchbook / artist’s journal…, or several actually, that’s probably why I rarely finish any one. I have one in my car, one in my travel backpack, a little one in my handbag, several randomly stuffed in drawers around my house or studio. I often try to join daily journaling groups, and things like “Inktober” challenges, with accountability and prompts from other journalists to keep me drawing, even if I rarely keep up, it’s still fun to see what other people are up to. Other important things often get in the way of my daily doodles, but it’s always good to be ready just in case I see something that inspires me while going about my day. Drawing it out sometimes helps me to remember something that struck me at the time.

My pages often go unfinished, or never grow into the vision I had of whatever inspired me in the first place,…but sometimes they do! Some people I know have such gorgeous journal entries they’re worthy of framing themselves, or publishing into a real book maybe! Not mine, I sometimes think some of mine might need to be ripped out and thrown away even, but I guess it’s part of the journey, and it’s still a good practice to keep, even if only occasionally.

So here are a couple of entries from one of my journals, I hope you get yourself a book of paper and do some doodling yourself, even if they never develop into anything more than a little doodle, the creative process is a wonderful thing, and often very therapeutic!



Sometimes you just have to get outside and breath the fresh air, take a walk in the woods, clear your head, ...especially after an extremely long winter like we've had this year.  It's still too cold to plant my garden, but things are starting to green up a little and it's encouraging to see the first wildflowers popping up.  Maybe take a sketchbook with you.  No, everything doesn't have to be a masterpiece or even a finished work, or ready for a competition, or even for anybody to see but you. I meet so many people that say they can't draw, who told them that?  Drawing is freeing, painting is calming, creating is good therapy, who couldn't use a little of those things? My sketchbooks very greatly between, simple watercolor landscapes, up close specimen details, value studies, random thoughts, doodles, scribbles.  The point is to get out there...get I mean really see!  Trust me, you'll be glad you did.


Remember to bring something to draw on and a few little art supplies in your pack.  If things won't sit still for you, you can always take a picture and finish it later, no worries!



Is that a word?  Maybe not, maybe I just made it up.  But people do scrapbooking right?  So I guess maybe sketchbooking is what I do!  That's heading out somewhere, with my handy little compact art tool kit, and filling up a journal type book with visual inspiration.  There's a big movement right now of people doing urban sketching, or travel journaling, or it can be a nature sketchbook, or an artist's journal,...or whatever you want it to be!

My sketchbooks/journals tend to be a random compilation of recorded wanderings and ramblings.  Some pages are close up plant, flower, bug, reptile, or bird studies, or sometimes observations to pursue further later, or notes to self, or landscapes, or value studies, or beginnings of later larger paintings, or ideas for fabric or surface designs, or interesting architecture, etc., etc., really just whatever might interest or strike me at the time that I want to remember.  

I have a new reference book, The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling by John Muir Laws (that I highly recommend by the way!), that has several inspiring quotes in it, one being:

"I see no more than you, but I have trained myself to notice what I see." -Sherlock Holmes

...and maybe that's what it's all about - seeing, really seeing, pausing, stopping, noticing, and documenting it, through drawing, painting, writing, scribbling, or whatever captures the moment that captures your attention.  Maybe it's a form of prayer, praise, peace, meditation, whatever it is to you, I hope you get out there and try it, and please don't let all of those blank white pages intimidate you!  (or if they do, come take a workshop with me at Design Street and I'll help you get started!)  I think sketchbooking should be a word, because it's very good for the soul.