Here on my blog and in all of my courses, one of the main themes is cultivating a creative practice.
In this post, I want to take you inside the pages of my sketchbooks, which is where my creative practice takes place.
It can seem frivolous to keep visual journals or sketchbooks.
Until you’ve actually done it for a week or so and begin to see (and feel) the shifts that begin happening.
Having a sturdy creative practice, within the pages of my sketchbooks, provides all the essential nutrients for my creative life.
Keeping a sketchbook, as a practice (you might use the word habit), rather than a product made for others does three important things:
1. keeps me healthy emotionally, mentally
2. helps me get my work done, and
3. make a living from my creative work
These three things are the very practical result of maintaining a creative practice. They are the HOW of giving creative dreams wing.
Where it happens and the process I use in the sketchbooks is the WHERE and WHAT of creative dreams landing somewhere tangible after that flight.
At the end of this post is an opportunity for you to start exploring creative practice for yourself, right now, along with some resources for you to explore further.
All of this will help you dive in and experience the all-important WHAT IF of keeping a visual journal.
But first, I want to share some of my journal pages with you, and tell you a story, with more pictures than words.
On April 11, 2011, I woke up from a dream that evoked pure clarity, happiness and focus.
As I wrote out the date: 4.11 – it occurred to me that 411 is number we dial in the United States to get directory assistance, and it’s called Information.
In more than a dozen written and illustrated pages, I did my best to capture all of the ideas in my sketchbook.
The word information took the form of two words,
like a flock of birds flying together effortlessly.
Ideas and next action steps had a feeling of coming together, into alignment, into formation.
For several days after the dream on 4.11, I remained in the altered state of clarity and happiness, and kept trying to capture the feeling and ideas in my journal.
It was as if a new life was coming into formation.
Working it all out in the pages of my sketchbook helps me see more clearly the actions steps ahead, along with what I can do in the moment, and in the daily to-do list, to make my ideas real.
See? I told you this stuff was practical.
The quality of trust, trusting where my dreams were taking me, was amplified.
I played with different ways of spelling 411.
For One One
For Won Won
None of this probably means that much to the viewer – but that’s not why I keep sketchbooks.
It’s all about cultivating a creative habit, a creative practice, that brings my ideas up to the surface, so that they can take form.
Within the pages of my sketchbooks are where everything takes shape in my work.
This has been true my whole life, whatever my work is.
Working in my sketchbooks is at once relaxing and energizing.
It’s a way of “working” that never feels like work, and always has an element of engaged curiosity and pleasure.
It’s pure fun —addictive in a good way — to play with paint and collage and words.
The supplies I use are simple, portable, and easy to use at a moment’s notice.
Because this particular visual journaling session was so powerful, I decided to decorate a tiny wooden cigar box with the theme of 411 Information – in formation.
Deities of every spiritual pantheon constantly show up in my work.
The cigar box functions as portable shrine and container of some of my favorite small rubber stamps. I’ve had the winged pig stamp and coffee cup stamps for 20 years.
I remember exactly where I bought them, and how I felt finding them.
Do you remember things like that?
This is all fonder for documenting in the sketchbook.
Heres’s what a big batch of the pages look like.
Did I mention that I am in love with brown kraft paper – the kind used for paper shopping and lunch bags?
I buy it in big rolls and paint on it and make books out of it.
I share a lot more from this sketchbook, including all of the techniques for getting the images, paint, collage and words working together, in the creative practice course.
Thanks so much for stopping by my virtual studio today.
and a couple of other articles on the topic:
Why have a Creative Practice? What if…?
My question for you is: Do you have a creative practice that you do regularly? If so, what do you do?
If not, what might happen if you gave yourself just 10 minutes to an hour every day to your creative dream?
What possibilities open up? What would you work on?
That was actually five questions, but that’s how I roll.
As always, the questions I ask can be used as journal prompts for you to answer privately – or you could just be bold and share something right now in the comments.
Why not? What if…?