The Art of Journaling

Keeping Journals and Diaries  – an exploration into yourself and the world around you.

In this wise, I’m not sure if I am dated, or ahead of my time.

For centuries, long before this ever-expanding digital age we live in today,  one recorded their impressions of the world around one, of nature, events and people along with ones thoughts, dreams and creative ideas in journals or dairies. Regular folks, not just artists, would draw their special memories, often imbue them with color, include their thoughts, ideas, musings, poems and special messages. It was something they could then reflect on later. Often they would pass these journals onto their children who would in turn pass them on further. Leonardo de Vinci and Virginia Wolfe are famous examples of this.

Today this practice is known as “Journaling” 

It’s considered to be a ‘new craze”.  In fact it’s something I have been doing for years on my travels around the world as well as within my local environment.  For me it’s faster – and a lot more enjoyable – to create art journal pages than to flip through hundreds of digital pics on my phone trying to find “the one” or downloading and then indulging in a complex photo filing system in the hope of ever finding anything again.

Being that I make a living from my original art, I have decided to encourage others to indulge in this creative journaling practice. From personal experience I have found that drawing and writing improves ones creative abilities as an artist.  Most importantly, it also intensifies one powers of observation.

The Sketchbook

When you think about it, there are so many cool things to sketch. I love sketching urban scenes as well as nature.  I like to use my Staedtler pencils as they have the full range of hard and soft leads. Recently I took my sketchbook and pencils to Benton Park, which is just down the road from where I live in St. Louis. As you can see it was a beautiful sunny day.

Summer in Benton Park
Benton Park Lake





Pencil sketches of Benton Park, St. Louis

By promoting journaling I feel I am helping to revive a “lost art.”  At the same time I have started the practice of actually keeping the journal pages I put together (I never kept any of my work when I traveled in Europe or New Zealand — mainly giving away the originals to new or old friends.) Now I at least take copies!  Furthermore I have decided to share my journal creations from time to time . . . and spread the word in favor of  original hand created art and writing!

The Travel Art Journal

What better way to record you memories of special trips and adventures you experience with new and old friends, family and loved ones.  When I travel I like to highlight certain places along with notes and stories.  I don’t try to cover everything and I usually don’t create my final journal pages while I am traveling.  But I take lots of photos and notes and do sketches when there is time and with weather permitting.

Here’s an example of my memories of a day trip my husband Bruce and I took earlier this year when visiting his parents, Crystal and Roman in Lansing, Michigan.  I like my travel journal to be made of sturdy watercolor paper. In this case I have used  pens to draw the sketches and then later filled in some of them with watercolor paints. When it comes to people I think it is fun to add photo cut outs. Or if you are not into drawing, put a lot more photos of the places and details you visited, maybe a photo of a delicious lunch you enjoyed, part of the menu and blend them all together with your own creative notes and background color choices,

Leisa Collins Travel Journal - Detroit trip page 1
Day Trip to Detroit – Page 1 of Travel Journal
Leisa Collins Travel Journal - Detroit trip page 2
Day Trip to Detroit – Page 2 of Travel Journal
Leisa Collins Travel Journal - Detroit trip page 3
Day Trip to Detroit – Page 3 of Travel Journal
Leisa Collins Travel Journal - Detroit trip page 4
Day Trip to Detroit – Page 4 of Travel Journal

Putting together travel journal pages of your road trips, outdoor adventures and overseas experiences will take you a few hours, but they are such fun and creative projects. Besides, the hours of enjoyment you and perhaps others will get from them in the years to come with make the effort well worth it!

The Field Journal

If you are a nature lover like me, you should always carry this around with you when you go outdoors. Typically these journals are smaller. They should be durable and easy to carry.  Getting out into the wilds, being at one with nature, is inspirational for anyone. It certainly gets my creative juices going.  Here are some pages from my Field Journal recording a recent trip into the woods.

A trip into the woods – Field Journal page 1.
A trip into the woods – Field Journal page 2


My Journaling Announcement

The good news is that over the last few months I have really gotten into journaling and documenting my adventures and experiences using the art of drawing and writing. The bad news is that I have found it really difficult to find suitable journals that are both aesthetic and of good quality but at the same time not ridiculously priced.  Additionally I have come across many others who are facing the same problem.

Therefore I have decided create my own line of quality journals and perhaps art supplies that are durable, easy to use and carry when travelling.  I will probably start with three journals. These images below are mock-ups of what I have in mind.

Now comes the hard part. Finding the right suppliers and producing them.  Well I have already covered a lot of ground in this post, so that is another story. . . and one that I am currently working on.

I will keep you posted!

Artfully yours,  Leisa