When sharing best practices it’s important for me to emphasize the role my sketchbooks play in the overall scheme of things. For starters, I don’t call it art journaling. There’s something about the term art journaling that feels a little “scrapbooky” to me. Call it what you will, for me it feels more like idea scaffolding . My books are a collection of experiences specific to me as a person and as an artist. Like a diary, it is personal yet anyone can take a walk through their pages without feeling like they’re prying or intruding into a private world made for my eyes only.After all, sharing ideas yields to more sharing of ideas. Since high school the sketchbook has always been a safe place for me to play. Many paintings are born in these books and many drawings go there to die as well. I try not to take myself too seriously when I’m making marks in the these safe spaces- which is why they feel safe at all. As a visual thinker and learner, the books provide the setting for me to explore my perspectives as they unfold. Once I’ve committed to a project outside of the book however, I go into a different mode. A place where things can begin to feel a little uncomfortable and for an artist this is paramount. Without risk there is no growth. Another reason I keep books is because they tend to function like a time capsule. I can flip open one of my books and be taken back to that time and place. I find that my books and I are engaged in an ongoing dialogue where only I am contributing to the conversation. Now that I think about it, I guess it’s a conversation with myself. I am the author. The more I contribute, the more the book evolves.
A book is never complete however, simply abandoned for a little while. So whether it be through clippings, sketches, articles, receipts, line work, tags, found objects, or photos, everything that is inserted is done so by my hand. Watching people flip though my books is delightful as well. It creates an opportunity for someone else to be taken to a place that is both familiar and foreign. The conservation that ensues after and the experience of said discussion is something that I find to be invaluable.