I started the new year with one of the journals I bound in the fall of 2017. (I made 50 plus journals in a month while in a cast [foot and ankle] due to a fall down some stairs. Another contrary choice I see in hindsight—but the orthopedic surgeon had cleared me for activity.)
It was a lovely journal (I filled it on February 1). It was my favorite size of 8 inches square, so it favored my defaults with my favorite pens. Because of the pandemic I couldn’t go out and about and stand and sketch with it (another reason it’s my favorite size), but I was able to sit at the drawing table and work in it, or hold it in my lap late at night for sketching.
I bound it with magenta book cloth and some decorative paper that I hand-painted myself—in lavenders and magentas with complementary colors mixing in to create a subtle neutrality that made the magenta book cloth all the more dazzling.
It made me happy just to pick the book up; no, just to see it sitting across the room from me. My book, we had a friendship, we had secrets, we had plans.
That in two sentences covers what keeps me sketching and journaling every day, year after year.
But what surprised me in January was that while I worked in a book with watercolor paper (lovely watercolor paper in fact) I spent most of the book drawing in pen. Ink drawing, ink drawing, ink drawing…
I’d throw in some watercolor or some ink wash. But I kept coming back to ink drawing, ink drawing, ink drawing.
I’ve been journaling my whole life now and something like this doesn’t worry me. I know that I have patterns: short patterns, and long patterns. I know that I have inklings that I tend to follow. I know that I don’t let scarcity rule my creative life so using the book only for ink doesn’t cause any worries.
It’s just unusual for me that in the past 20 years or so I haven’t had a streak like that with only ink drawings on watercolor paper. But go back a little further and you see it happening now and then.
This ability to go back and “check,” to cross reference and investigate our patterns—it’s just one more reason to have a healthy journal practice.
I suppose now I’ll have to get out an empty journal made with drawing paper and paint on every page.
Whatever happens, I’m looking forward to it.