Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

Keeping An Art Journal

Despite the fact that I love digital imaging, when it comes to some other aspects of 'digital life' I am sort of old fashioned. For example, digital 'To Do' lists on my phone or iPad have just never cut it. Frankly, for me it is easier and faster to just write things down on a physical piece of paper using a real pencil. My kids are probably cringing if they are reading this!

When it comes to pencil and paper, there is something about tactile writing and seeing the appearance of the written word that somehow just feels more personal and more thoughtful than a typed word on an LED screen. Plus, somehow, I think the act of writing cements ideas into my brain far more solidly than typing on 'digital paper' (but, then again, that could just be a generational thing). In that vein, I have recently started keeping an "Art Journal" and, it turns out, I thoroughly enjoy writing in it. In fact, one of my favorite weekend 'things' is to sit down with a good cup of coffee, my iPad to access some of the on-line courses I am taking, and my pencil and art journal. But the coffee has to be good :)

Lest you think I've lost my mind, let me tell you some of the things that I keep in this journal of mine:

i) Images that inspire me - if i see images in digital publications that really hit home and inspire me I take a screenshot, email it to myself, maker a small print and tape it into the journal. Then as I peruse the pages and comment on what I like and what I would change about the images it not only inspires me, but also gives me a clearer understanding of what type of imagery I am drawn to and would like to make

ii) Notes -  I take several on-line art/digital photography courses and I write notes and impressions related to the courses in the journal and also do some of the courses 'journal assignments'

iii) Ideas -  I break my ideas into various categories......for example, ideas for small or large photo projects, how I might promote certain projects, where I would like to submit images to, ideas for blog posts, topics, ideas, or techniques I might be interested in exploring further.....and then I might devote several pages to each and jot down ideas that I have that are related to each category

iv) Projects -  I keep track of various projects I am working on

There really is a lot that can be put into a journal and it helps me keep my ideas organized, so it is a practice that I'm glad I started. But, you have to have a nice journal (big enough to tape those inspiring photos into but small enough to take to a coffee shop...mine is about 7x9 inches), a pencil or pen that you enjoy writing with, some good coffee, and time to think. Time to think - if having a journal gets you that, than it's worth its weight in gold!

Why not give it a try?


by Howard G

© Howard Grill