Using your visual journal to make thumbnail sketches for paintings.
Journals are great places for working out ideas. You can even think of your journal spread as a giant thumbnail sketch, fiddling with placement of subject matter, experimenting with background material. Turn the page and start over! It's the quickest screen refresh there is.
On this spread I played around reinterpretting some of my State Fair Sketches of Bantams from past years. I used a Pentel Pocket Brush Pen to sketch quickly on the page and then splashed on some gouache, to give an indication of color I would likely use. The background on this page had already been painted with FW Acrylic inks: Raw Sienna, splattered with Purple Lake while the former was still a bit moist. The painted band area had been masked off with masking tape before painting. (There is some green paint leaking onto this page from the sewing holes at the gutter. The first head was positioned to cover most of that.) The strip of text is from a mystery book and was placed on the spread at the same time the background was painted.
Typically when I do something like this I'll do several page spreads, changing the arrangement of the subject. It becomes even more like doing a large thumbnail sketch when you do that. However this time I had a date with a friend and had to get rolling. And I actually like this arrangement and am going to make a painting along these lines.
Jump in and use your journal for exploring visual ideas. Don't worry about a perfect result. Get something down on paper that you can respond to and work with—something that will get you to a final piece, or a series of final pieces.