Three Sketchbook/Visual Journal Tips

Hello again everyone! This week as everyone is preparing to return to school, I thought I’d share some tips on keeping up a Visual Journal. [Editor’s Note: For incoming art freshmen, a visual journal is your everything sketchbook that you’ll use in Foundation Year to draw, sketch, paint, doodle, imagine, wonder, spew, and stretch, and along the way build a fulfilling lifelong creative habit! See also here and here.]

Every year, more or less, I fill up the pages of another sketchbook. Sketchbooks are great ways to keep hold of your ideas, brainstorm, and practice new skills! As an art student, a sketchbook is a necessity for me to keep, so that I have a space to put down anything that comes to mind as I’m planning out my projects. There are so many things that go into a sketchbook, and every sketchbook is unique to its person, but here is my advice in the realm of sketchbook keeping.

Make it Yours

When you choose that special book to become your sketchbook, make sure that it’s something you can easily bring with you. It doesn’t have to be huge, or conspicuous, the thing that matters is that you make it your own. I tend to decorate my sketchbooks with stickers, and I always have it in my bag with me.

Add To It Everyday

The main point of keeping a visual journal is to practice your artistic skills. Be creative! Create something everyday, and it doesn’t have to be fully finished or realized, just spend time everyday adding to your sketchbook. I am always encountering things in my life that make me want to draw them, and my sketchbook is that space to jot down those quick sketches.

Trust Your Instincts

When adding to your sketchbook, all you need are your ideas. Just go with the flow and be creative! Remember not to be too self critical, this is a space to practice and make mistakes. This is where you will develop your style. You don’t have to include only original thoughts, look up drawing prompts, or take inspiration from the world around you! I love to write down quotes and lyrics that resonate with me in my sketchbook.

“Remember not to be too self critical, this is a space to practice and make mistakes. This is where you will develop your style.”

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