It seemed to be more of a trend many years ago than it does now, but it has definitely not gone away completely. (Just look up journal sketching on google.)
Lots of famous explorers, soldiers and artists kept journals when they were young. Much of what they recorded would later be used to complete studio pieces or be included in books or biographies.
Hal Foster, cartoonist famous for Prince Valiant, would record many sketches about his early years in Canada and his love of the wilderness.
Lord Baden Powell, one of the founders of the Scouting movement, journal-ed and painted all his life, illustrating not only his adventures in Africa, but illustrating many of his own books.
He completely illustrated the first Boy Scout handbook.
Walt Disney, before the mouse, spent time in WWI as an ambulance driver. And some sketches of his experiences still exist.
Here he is next to his ambulance, with art work on the side.
And on the right is one of his sketches he sent home.
Eric Sloane, one of my favorite artists ever, and someone who I have blogged about before, spent some of his early adult life traveling around as a sign painter and record many of his adventures along the way.
But when you look at his pen and ink drawings you can really tell that his time spent doing quick sketches on the road paid off in his later work.
An example of his later more detailed work.
Other than Disney's, however, none of these really get to what I mean.
I love the idea of filling in the margins of your musings with doodles and drawings.
The artwork can either be great or just so-so. It doesn't matter, it's yours.
It can be funny or it can be serious.
Again, it doesn't matter, it's yours.
Missouri artist Cathy Johnson has several books out on nature journal-ing, and also offers courses.
Even her pages vary from small quick sketches to more complete ones that may find themselves used later to make a bigger painting in the studio.
What brought on this musing you ask? (Go ahead, someone ask it!)
Well, I'll tell you.
I have done a lot of journal writing over the years, but have only added art work on a couple of occasions.
I did several drawing with colored pencil while on my Grand Canyon trip ( I will post them soon) and I have artistically journaled on a couple other occasions.
I do lots of sketching and cartooning, but never seem to do enough artistic journaling. (spell check does not like that 'journaling'.).
Well, last night while sorting and packing in the basement for major remodeling I came across three letters from a then young scout that I had exchanged letters with when I worked as a guide for the BSA in Maine back in 1977. He had been in one of the crews I guided and we hit it off and kept in touch.
Here are the letters.
At one point he asked me to write a letter of reference for him for a job as a guide at one of the BSA's high-adventure bases.
We also would include a drawing of a knot we wanted the other to try and learn, along with other drawings. All having to do with something we wrote about in the letter.
As with all such things, after a few years one or the other of us stopped writing and we lost contact.
I always loved Kens funny cartoons that he did in the letters. He had a very loss, free style that is very important for quick sketching.
I would return a letter to him with drawings I did. But mine were much more planned out and no where near as loss.
Well, this lead me to wondering what ever happened to Kenneth.
I don't know, yet.
I am going to start looking on the web and see where it leads. And see if he still sketches.
And I am going to try to do more sketching.
I will let you know where it leads.
Please check out all the artists I mentioned, and look at some of their early work.