The Difference Between a Sketchbook and a Journal.
Most artists will keep either a sketchbook or a journal, and some, like me, keep both.
So what is the difference?
A journal usually includes a bit of writing.
A journal has some type of introspection or a record in writing of thoughts, as well as other forms of creativity such as sketching, collaging.
Travel journals - records memories that might be otherwise forgotten.
For example, when I travel, I like to sketch with a micron pen and then add watercolours with my Sakura Koi 24 piece field sketch set. I try as much as possible to minimize the art supplies I bring on my travels. Sometimes I will bring glue and scissors in case I want to do a bit of collage such as adding ticket stubs, or other such memorabilia. (Picasso page above)
I have sketched while watching people come and go in the lobby of the Parque Central, in Havana Cuba. Hotel lobbies are busy places and people rarely pay much attention to me. I sketched a girl who was totally engrossed in her cell phone. She sat in front of me for at least 20 minutes, totally oblivious that I was sketching her.
I found out that I enjoyed sketching the old cars and I have several of them in my sketchbook. In Spain, I sketched people at the sports bar on a rainy day when we were jet lagged. While we vacationed in Maui, it was the colourful, juicy dragonfruit and "shave ice" the Hawaiian signature refreshment to cool off on a hot day that caught my attention.
If the sketches have thoughts associated with them, they would belong in a journal...in my case, everything eventually gets mixed up.
However, the journal can be deeply personal and help achieve some insight into a particular frame of mind, or problem.
A journal then, becomes a visual diary playing a part in self-expression and/or self-care.
A sketchbook is less introspective than a journal.
The sketchbook’s role, simply put, is to experiment with various mediums and test creative ideas.
The sketchbook might have thumbnail illustrations that explore values, space, and subject matter as inspiration for larger projects. I have sketchbooks for different classes I have followed, as well as to test palette colour schemes to name but a few.
All types of sketchbooks...
One of my favourite sketchbooks is a discarded large, old school library encyclopaedia. I glued several pages together to make them more absorbent and then gessoed the surface where I wanted to paint.
Then, I experimented with layers of acrylic drips, stencils, and collage for Remembrance Day posts.
A Journal and Sketchbook have common features.
No matter whether you work in a journal or a sketchbook, both are liberating in that they are not necessarily meant to be made public. Many artists create gorgeous journals and sketchbooks. Mine never turn out that way so I only share a page at a time.
Of course, some sketches end up in travel journals and vice-versa...my sketchbooks and journals are not always super organized! Mostly, it's a question of minimizing the art supplies I really want to cart with me on my trips.
While writing this post, I realized that I had never shared the art work I completed in Maui in 2019. Food is so easy to sketch...it doesn't move!
Illustrations are not always easy to categorize as a journal or sketchbook entry, but they are lovely nonetheless…and in art, there is freedom to experiment and combine sketchbooks and journals.
For journaling ideas, visit these Instagram galleries.
Inspiring sketchbook artists you may want to follow:
Which type of artist are you? Do you prefer journals or sketchbooks? Or maybe both?