Saturday, July 18, 2009
Why Not Keep an Artist's Sketch Journal?
An artist's sketch journal is to an artist what a notebook or writer's journal is to an author. It's place to keep sketches, thumbnails, studies and plans for future paintings. Try it out on a vacation or a walk in the woods and I think you'll enjoy it enough to keep it handy for every day! Write down notes about what you see for a painting and it will be a valuable tool for those paintings you plan to get around to "some day" and will become a fun way to remember special days or "every" day!
How to Chose a Journal
I suggest a hardcover journal rather than just a sketchbook....try to find one that has paper heavy enough to stand up to "light" watercolor paint or watercolor pencils (which take less water and are more portable). I like one with an elastic band to hold a pencil as well as an elastic band to keep it closed and a built in bookmark. There are all kinds and sizes available at reasonable prices, so get one that will work for you. The one I use is pictured above. Samples of my journal pages are scattered through this entry.
How to Get Started
After choosing your journal, decide what types of work you plan to include: sketches only, watercolor pencils, watercolor paints, etc. I usually like watercolor pencils or sketching only when I am out. I throw all of this in a small pouch; add an eraser, a small round brush, and a small cup for water, and I am set for sketching or painting whatever strikes my fancy. You can paint or drawn on both sides of a page or only one side. Again, whatever works for you!
What Do I Include?
Include whatever is important to you and what info you might want for completing a painting: notes about color, shape, size, anything that will help you to remember and create a large painting from your notes.
I often carry a digital camera with me and take a photo of what I am sketching or painting. This helps me with the right shade of color when I am back home in my art studio. I often add notes about sounds, birds, weather, etc. in my the journal and when I sit down to paint, those notes takes me back in my memory to that location. See a couple of samples of the way I use my journal.
The more you use your journal, the more you will enjoy it. It is a wonderful memory book and a great way to "keep on painting" no matter where you are! Give it a try and let me know what you think!