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Submitted on
September 13, 2013
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Another Month another Artist's Toolbox.

This time I'm pulling something rather more personal out of my arsenal of tools which is my own individual way of dealing with the infuriating issue of

I want to draw... but I don't know what.

There are a number of ways people go around dealing with this issue. Just doodling til something pops out. Working on a list of prompts. Asking people to help give them ideas. Doing an entry for a contest.... there are lots of ways of going about finding something to draw.

EH = Ernest Hemmingway

My own personal way of dealing with it, makes use of the opposite problem.

I have loads of ideas! But I have to go to bed/have no time/paper/drawing equipment.

When I have lots of ideas, as is common for me before I'm about to go to bed, or when I'm supposed to be doing something else, I write it down in my magical sparkly kitty book, AKA my Artist Journal. If I just shrug and go "I'll draw that later" I'll forget the idea and so when I do have time to draw, I'm back to the original problem of "I want to draw, but I don't know what."

A Journal is nothing special. It's just a book. The book I use was a gift from a friend, but it has lines inside and I'm not much of a writer, but it became the perfect vessel for a Journal. It's a beautiful book. It's got a little magnetic flap which discourages other people from opening it keeping my ideas private, it's the right size to transport around with me in my bag and not weigh too much, but have plenty of paper so I don't run out.

I like to think of it as my Henry Jones Senior book that perhaps one day will lead to my own personal Holy Grail

Stickman Indiana Jones saving my Journal from the bad guys.

Every idea I have goes down in this book. Usually just in a list. The good ideas, and the bad ones, but I write it down anyway. Unless I choose to show people this book will never be read by anyone so there's nothing to be embarrassed about.

And later when I have time to draw and I open the journal to find an idea, I just draw the good ideas. The bad ideas will forever be hidden away. ((And if an idea is too embarrassing even for me to read, I stick a picture over the top of it from an artist I like, that way I have something inspiring to look at and not have to read my bad idea every time I open my book.))

Doll by Marina-B

I have also dumped a number of quotes I find inspiring, interesting, or just funny, into my journal. This is something I like to do because I see a lot of amazing quotes from amazing people shared on the internet and this way I get to see them over and over again to continue to inspire me.

I would always recommend keeping a journal or inspiration book to anyone who is an artist. My book is never out of my reach, it goes in my handbag everywhere (even when I can't take a sketchbook) and that way no idea passes me by just because I forgot it later. I can also say I have not been without an idea since I started keeping it, because my ideas are always to hand, even if I can't remember them.

If you want to start your own journal, just get a book and start putting things in it. Do whatever comes naturally to you. If you want to write it in prose, do prose. If you want to stick a bunch of pictures from the internet or a magazine in there, do that! If you want to write long lists like I do, do that. Dream places to go visit, or maybe places you're going to soon and want to remember what you wanted to see when you got there.

The book you use doesn't have to be as fancy as mine, I personally like using a fancy book so it's very pretty and decorative sat on my desk, but you could use a plain book, or one you go out shopping especially for, whatever suits your tastes. (Or if you're like me and your friends and family always buy you tonnes of empty books for your birthday because you're an artist then you'll have plenty to choose from!)

I hope this article has encouraged you to perhaps start a journal, or if you already keep one I'd love to know how that works for you.

The journal isn't for everyone, but it certainly works for me.

Thanks for reading. Enjoy the rest of the Artist's Toolbox week coming up at :devprojecreducate:

It appears somehow I managed to deny comments on this journal... Oops... I fixed it now though.
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citrancs Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2014
Wow! I have a paperblank journal book with similar design (from the same artist, so it has kitties on it too :D) And just a few hours ago, while reading those 'My dA story' journals, I had the idea to start a thing like this to write down tips I read on dA, for sketching and making story sketches for my OCs, but most likely to keep an eye on my improvement because I don't want to forget the things I go through. ^^
So that I found your tips about thismust be a sign xD Thank you for making it even clearer what I exactly want to do in this project! Heart 

(Too bad I already filled half of that fancy book with useless diary entries x'D)
FionaCreates Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2014  Professional General Artist
This book was a gift and I didn't want to ruin it with something stupid, and a journal is the best way to totally not ruin it! I carry it everywhere and it's a bit bashed up but the content isn't stuff I'm like "ugh terrible writing" or such, rather inspiring and full of epic!

I love to put tips and all sorts in my journal even if i don't read them again, sometimes the act of writing them down helps you remember easily!
Harrisons-Forge Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2014  Professional General Artist
I hadn't considered myself a journal keeper until recently when I moved house and unpacked everything into an organised studio space and realised that I have enough notebooks, art journals and sketchbooks to fill a bookcase.
I have general notebooks for everyday stuff and a large diary to put appointments in (large family), but even that gets doodled in and ideas jotted down. I keep an inspiration notebook with phrases and sayings and  an ideas book for prompts and experiments I want to try. I have art journals for daily practice and fun, some of which are hand made, some of them bought. I have sketchbooks in all sizes and papers and these tend to be more specialised- pen and ink in one, mixed media in another, drawing in a third etc.
I also keep reference boxes with images and articles from magazines and a reference folder on my pc with stuff that I download or link to which can include anything from individual images to documentary programs to peer reviewed articles on practically any subject.
I also keep a large bound notebook on my desk to write down poetry when inspiration strikes.

Depending on which bag I go out with dictates the size of sketchbook and notebook I have with me, my current handbag has a pocket on the front which holds an A6 sketchbook and an A6 notebook and I can fit anything up to an A4 pad/book inside as well as my camera :D 

Until you start carrying one round with you, you don't realise the value they have and I wouldn't be without one now. I think I have to consider myself a journal keeper :rofl:
FionaCreates Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2014  Professional General Artist
I think people get the idea of "journal" and "diary" mixed up.

I don't write a diary, I don't feel the need to prattle on about what happened in my life. But I do keep many journals, which organise my ideas and my art, so it is a kind of diary I suppose there's just no "I did this today" in it XD
Harrisons-Forge Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2014  Professional General Artist
hehe I know what you mean. I am much the same...I tried writing about daily happenings in my art journal...and failed miserably, I am not a diarist. 

Do you start a new book for a new topic? I think that is why I have so many...I like to try to organise things a bit so I know where to look for info, although it doesn't always happen lol
FionaCreates Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2014  Professional General Artist
when I was at university I did. But now projects tend to sprawl beyond one book. I tend to scan or photograph everything anyway and organise digitally. As my end products are usually digital.

For huge projects like a comic I might keep an individual book, but for small projects I just doodle away in whatever book is closest to hand.
Harrisons-Forge Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2014  Professional General Artist
I never throw anything either and I have gotten into the habbit of scanning stuff now...although I have to admit, I have run out of space several times and now have an archive of CD's as well lol

I have had projects that seem to take over and take up a bookshelf on their own :)
FionaCreates Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2014  Professional General Artist
I tend to  misplace sketchbooks, so I usually work in the one closest to hand, so projects tend to be a few pages in one book, and a few pages in another etc xD the only time I had to conciously keep track was at uni, cos it had to all be handed in and marked, otherwise it doesn't matter. XD
Harrisons-Forge Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2014  Professional General Artist
I have always bee a bit fussy that way...I think it is the ADHD, it can be similar to aspergers and OCD in some ways... I am not so bad with my sketchbooks...if I can't find the one I want I will use another, but in the kitchen.....if something is put back in the wrong place it really upsets me lol you have to laugh at human nature sometimes :D
Chrissijulius Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I have one! It's not with me always though, I have it on my bedside table... All the god ideas pops up in the middle of the night :p good article, you write in a way that made me want to read it all :)
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