This post forms part of a serialisation eventually building into a complete reference on Journaling for Creativity and the writer's notebook. One that will demonstrate how to journal in order to improve creativity and effectiveness of artists, writers or anyone needing to be creative.
Do you believe you are only a person of words?
Do you believe you are not a painter; that graphics and artistry are best left to those who can handle a brush? Perhaps it is time to think again.
Most of us feel that we cannot draw or that our attempts at art are amateurish, childish and unworthy, but when it comes to journaling for creativity, even the most rudimental art has so much inherent power to connect with our creative self, that to ignore it would be criminal.
In later posts we will talk about some powerful creative techniques; mind-mapping, clustering, collages, event paths, visual note taking. All these techniques aid the visualisation of a specific topic, whilst employing constraints and limitations which block the left side of the brain, the logical-mind.
"Forcing the cognitive shift from the dominant left-hemisphere mode to the subdominant right-hemisphere mode."
Betty Edwards, "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain"
By predominantly focusing on visual information, whilst constraining language and logic, we allow our creative-minds to come forward. Which is why, even for a sculptor of words, visualising and visual art are so important.
The creative brain works best with visual information spread organically as art, it works supremely well with patterns and is happy to process many thought paths at a time.
Art is different from the act of placing word after word in steady progression across the page. Art is able to; flow up or down, flow left or right, pop out of the page, dive through holes torn through pages, be formed of glittering dust particles or even, by way of a fold-out sheet, be bigger than the journal containing it.
Art is an essence of creativity and as you learn to play side-by-side with the inner you that delights in filling pages with colourful emotions, you are also learning to work with that other you, the inner artist. A creative you and a you that once you are on good terms with, can be called upon when needed to assist with your project.
Allow your emotions to find their voice in your creativity journal by using; colour, texture, line drawings, doodles, flicker mobiles, art media, collages or any other art. Remember, your journal is for you alone, it doesn't matter if your grandchild can draw better than you, fill your pages with your art and let your emotions and your creative-self play out in the sunshine together.
I task you to remember that a creativity journal is everything that you journal on or in. If you create a 1×3 meter landscape of an imaginary world, it is still part of your creativity journal, even though it isn’t inside the notebook. It is still a journal entry and very much part of your creative process.
Do not limit yourself by thinking that art is a two dimensional painting done in oil or a three dimensional statue squeezed from clay. Art is that particular collection of colours, textures, motions, dance, reflections, sounds that makes you smile, makes you feel good, makes you think, that affects you emotionally.
What to use?
Ok, I hope that I have established that when journaling for creativity, art is important. What then can be used to make an art based entry in your journal?
An easy question, with no easy answer.
If you are capturing the art of others, you will be limited to taking photographs, buying prints or taking videos, because there are laws against taking another person’s art home. Some galleries will not allow you to take photographs; if you are lucky you might find the gallery in the Google Art Project, and locate your art piece there. If taking a video of something, maybe a statue, I also recommend taking some photographs as well, since photographs will often have more detail and are easier to handle when reviewing.
Remember to record in your notebook journal how it makes you feel and any thoughts or emotions evoked. Such notes should naturally be part of the placeholder entry along with the date.
Fortunately when capturing your own art, there are more options.
Sculptures and creations: Whether it is a papier-mâché representation of your hero’s castle or a just pleasing arrangement of pebbles, it is your art. For convenience, as discussed above, you can take photographs or a video and save them on your computer, and store your creation safely elsewhere. At the same time, remember to print out the best photo and paste it in your journal’s placeholder entry alongside the comparatively staid and regimented words queuing on the previous page.
For obvious reasons, photos or videos are absolutely essential for temporary sculptures, such as snow carvings or sand sculptures, but even durable creations need an entry in your notebook journal, so that your creation and emotions can be easily reviewed in the years to come.
Drawings, paintings and doodles: Most of the time the very same notebook journal that you use to write in, is perfectly adequate for drawing or colouring. This was the reason we indicated back in the post on notebooks, that a plain un-ruled notebook is best when journaling for creativity, since a drawing without masses of horizontal lines across it is far more pleasing to the eye. Also the limited size of the portable journaling notebook will restrict the complexity of an entry and the time needed, which is a good thing since we are still writers when all is said and done.
However, there are times when bigger is better, when room is needed to work in a magnitude of detail or expression, and at these times an artist’s sketchbook is ideal. Available in many sizes from art stores, these sketchbooks make a handy addition to any creativity journal. They are also more suited to the use of watercolours than an ordinary notebook.
Neat tip: If you get a hardback sketchbook, it can be opened up as a double spread, allowing you to work across both pages for a bigger canvas.
Depending on your art, you can also use scrapbooks. These are cheaper, but tend to have coloured pages and are not as versatile as you might wish.
Collages: This is where the cheap scrapbooks come into their own, both for collages and sample swatches. The heavy paper is designed to support extra items, the darker paper provides wonderful contrast and they are available in many economic forms. There are more expensive scrapbooks available to you, but these are very fancy, and fancy is unnecessary when journaling for creativity.
Do you have any tips about using art? If you do then we would love to hear them, for us and for other readers. Please leave any tips or thoughts in the comments area below.
Photo credit: Frio, by Gloria Martin.
Photo credit: Woodstock VT Inn and Resort, by Sultry.
"Media Options: What to capture images with, pt3" by Andy Shackcloth is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.