Whether you’re a graphic or fine artist, journaling can help you in your work by giving you an avenue of pure exploration. Some think of a journal as a writing tool, but I consider it to be an open sketchbook. And because no one else will see it, you can paint, write, sketch, doodle, cut and paste or do whatever you please with your journal. Here are some ideas for topics:
- Describe the color of the sun.
- Write a haiku about walking on the beach barefoot. Create a sketch or watercolor of that moment. (A haiku is generally three unrhymed lines containing five, seven and five syllables, respectively.)
- Describe the taste of watermelon during summer. Create a watercolor of summer fruit.
- Put into words what it feels like to draw with pastels. What does the pastel feel like in your fingers? Is it smooth? Create a freeform drawing using your three favorite pastel colors.
- Sketch or paint your favorite ice cream flavor in a cone. Write about your earliest childhood recollection of eating ice cream or a Popsicle.
- Describe a ceiling fan whirling on a hot summer afternoon. Where is it? What does the air feel like?
- Sketch the first person you ever kissed. Next write a description of the last time you saw that person. How old was he or she? What was he or she wearing? Do you remember why you wanted that person to kiss you in the first place?
- Create a sketch of yourself at 80 years old. Where are your lines? Are they laugh lines? Worry lines? Write a story about how you got your wrinkles.
- Remember the Easter egg hunts of your childhood? Inside each egg was a toy or candy. Describe what you would want in an Easter egg today. Sketch some decorated eggs. Or maybe pull out some eggs, vinegar and food coloring and create the real thing!
- If you were to get a tattoo, what would you choose? Where would it go? Sketch and color it.
- Describe ice melting on your tongue.
- Sketch the floor plan of your house. Create a drawing with the furniture rearranged in each room.
Judi Betts is a painter, writer, instructor and juror. She’s a member of the American Watercolor Society, National Watercolor Society and Federation of Canadian Artists. Her most recent book is Painting … a Quest Toward Xtraord!nary. You can see more of her artwork in the August 2001 issue of The Artist’s Magazine.