There’s a wonderful quote from Pablo Picasso, where he said:
“Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.”
After actively working in art journals and sketchbooks for the last year and a half (or thereabouts), I have to whole-heartedly agree.
I have a few loose pieces of art hanging around (literally—they’re on my walls), but most of my art is tucked away in various sketchbooks. Some handmade, most purchased.
I have to say I really prefer my sketchbook art over the loose art for a few reasons.
First, a sketchbook is an extremely handy way to keep all your art together. And, unless you’re particularly careless with the handling and storage of it, a sketchbook keeps your art safe from creasing, wrinkles, stains, and even light. What’s not no love about that?
Second, especially if you keep a pocket-size sketchbook, they’re extremely mobile. This means I consistently have a sketchbook on me—on hand and ready to take ideas whenever inspiration hits. And this is important if you’re like me and trying to incorporate art into your life and stay creative on a consistent basis.
Last, and to the point of this blog post title, sketchbooks serve as a wonderful visual diary of your life—even if the subject matter of your art is not at all along the lines of a “dear diary” entry.
Flipping through and older sketchbook is like flipping through a time-capsule. When I do this, each layout on each page takes me back in time to images and feelings of what was going on in my life the time I created the art.
More often than not, my sketchbooks are chronological, as well. Not only do I get to see my art at certain times in my life, but as I flip through the pages, I get to witness how my work, skills, and techniques progress and change as time passes.
Occasionally, I will do a very conscious merge of life and art in my sketchbook. Mostly this has been practiced through a few plein air sketches, or possibly illustrating a quote that really touched me on a particular day.
And then, there are rare occasions where I decide to honor memories by documenting them in an illustrated manner.
I’ve had such an amazing summer this year with friends and family going up into the beautiful Colorado Rockies. I honestly don’t think I can ever remember a summer where I’d spent so many weekends surrounding myself with nature. I owe a huge thanks to my friend, Steve, who loves being in the mountains probably even more than I do. Between both our desires to be strolling through the pine and aspen forests, we managed to get each other into the mountains on average at least two weekends each month.
The realization of how special this felt to me prompted me to do a sort of sketch-note layout in my pocket Leuchtturm1917 in memoriam of the wonderful times I had.
I ultimately decided to do a little tiny sketch of each adventure, noting the month, location, distance (if it were a hike), and a little painting of related scenery.
I had a lot of fun doing the layout and thought it deserved a mention. And now when I flip back through that particular sketchbook, I will definitely be reminded of the fantastic summer of 2016.
Photos from the referenced adventures above: