Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sketchbook:Defined {Diana}

Oh ho ho ho, what is the what here? Do you keep a sketchbook or a journal? What's the difference and, really, who cares? Because I have an inquiring mind, I polled my fellow Sketchbook Challengers on this question and, in a nutshell, here's what I got:
Sketchbook * a place to keep visual notes such as sketches and drawings
Journal * a place to keep notes of a more personal nature
Art Book * a place to keep it all
and each artist reports overlaps ... 

If these definitions are important at all, they are only of interest to the keeper of the book. It is fun to find out what the what is (research) and then leave the definition open-ended. To say that there are "no rules" is one thing. To have no guidance just makes it danged difficult.

Over the years, I've kept different kinds of books for different purposes. In 2011, the plan* is to return to my original practice: one book for everything: writing, sketching, color notes, personal journaling, random-ness. Just for fun and to shake things up, everything will go in one book. Yeah ok, time for true confession: the other reason for keeping everything in one honkin' book is that it's mighty confusing to try to try to remember where the sketches and color studies of the twigs are and which journal was it that I wrote about the twigs?  

*current "really great idea"
Once an idea occurs, I'm on it like white on rice and so my current sketchbook, journal, artbook is evolving into the "everything that can fit into it" book. It's a Rag & Bone Bindery book, by the way. These have super smooth, thick, white paper. Very nice to write and draw on and for collage. I coat some of the pages with gesso or absorbent ground for watercolor.

So, now you know what we think. How about you? Do you make a distinction? How many journals have you got going?


  1. I was recently thinking about this myself. I have a journal for writing my morning pages, and many different sketch books.. kraft paper,drawing paper, watercolor paper, mixed media paper. I love them all. I just bought 2 more. I for this challenge.

  2. I've got three going currently.

  3. For me, my sketchbook is a book that I only use pencil in - I sketch out ideas and make notes.

    An art journal, I get really messy there :) watercolor, stamping, ink, gluing things down, anything that strikes my fancy.

    I originally started out with a sketchbook, and it evolved into an art journal. Now I've decided that I want to have a separate sketchbook again, something I feel like I can pull a page out of in order to help with another, larger work, like a painting, or if I want to practice drawing something to see if I can.

    A journal page can stand alone.
    A page from my sketchbook is a beginning. Not necessarily something that stands steadily on its own.

    I've never used the term art book.

    I used to keep just one. Now I've somehow gotten like 5 art journals going, and 1 sketchbook!

  4. They come and go. I have a "morning pages" book. Then a couple of different visual journals for the paint and all. A very portable idea book for emergencies. I haven't kept a sketchbook but I hope with the challenge to start and bought a new book for that project. I have them here, there, and everywhere and, yes, I do loose things in them. I'm not sure I want everthing in one though. Decisions. Decisions.

  5. I have a few books going as I am trying to decide what I really like to put in a book and what kind of paper I need. I will mostly make my own books so I have the paper I decide on and have already made a few - some in Sue Bleweiss' class and some just on my own. I'd like to get down to just one book at a time just for simplicity's sake.

  6. I have a small every day one in my hand bag, a slightly bigger one by my chair in the sitting room, that is enough to keep track of.

  7. I too have a 'morning pages' journal or my private thoughts and activities - dozens of them in fact since 2001, and a huge variety of sketchbooks-cum-notebooks according to subject. I so agree it is often hard to ind where you sketched / wrote something. (I even have a notebook cataloguing all the others!) Basically of late I have four visual journals: a smallish one for when I am travelling that takes all sorts of punishment; a large vertical and large horizontal spiral bound purchased book with thick pages that will take collage and being sprayed with water, and finally one I am creating from loose leaf pages so I can run it through the sewing machine to add fabric snippets when I so desire.

  8. oh Diana, those journals you suggested look so yummy. But I'm going to fight the urge to shop, and go with my plan. Individual sheets of pictures with a tiny bit of journaling. My usual style.

  9. I like the idea of an "everything" book, too, Diana. It just makes my head spin if I have too many books going at once so that's my plan as well for the challenge.

  10. I keep a Quilt Journal, where I keep photographs of finished quilts, snippets of fabric, notes on how I made the quilt and sometimes other comments. I also have 3 or 4 sketchbooks that are various sizes that I use for random doodles, or for planning larger works. I also have one sketchbook for what I call my "intended" drawings, these are drawings I spend time on, sometimes only 30 minutes but more often an hour or more, they are often portraits but not always. For the Quilt Journal I use pen, but for all my other sketchbooks I use graphite pencils.

  11. I'm glad you wrote about this! I have (what I have been calling) an art or visual journal, which is what I will be doing/using for this sketchbook challenge. I've found in the past that I dislike adding any words to it at all, because I'm a writer at heart. Putting words in the sketchbook, too, is WAY too big of a temptation or crutch; it's hard to find motivation to draw or paint anything if I can fall back on words instead. Plus, it's hard to read them later! lol Also, I TRY to keep my writing all in one place - and sometimes that even works. So: one sketchbook or art journal. Writing is kept elsewhere(s).

  12. I have a whole bunch of journals, which drives me nuts. It happened because I couldn't find the one I'd been using, started another, mislaid it, found the first, etc.

    After reading Brene Brown say that she had one (count 'em, Jim, ONE) book she used for everything, I have been training myself to use just one for everything.

    Now that I'm doing the challenge, I got some watercolor sketchbooks to try. We'll see how I make out.

  13. I'm just warming up to the idea that I can make art journals. I started a junk (junque) journal a few months ago and have been pasting in scraps and tickets and magazine clippings - very fun and easy! But now I'm taking a spiral drawing pad that has try out skethes as well as blobs of watercolors and I'm working to fill out the partial pages and making fresh art on the blank pages. Love the inspiration here.


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