In my writing you may hear me refer quite a bit to my ‘notebooks’. For many years I have kept notebooks for a range of reasons; from keeping track of the details of my working day (phone numbers, conversations, ideas etc) to more personal ‘journals’ that are places for me to explore my inner self.
Since moving into more visually creative areas of work such as Planning, Styling and Design, I have also started to keep visual journals. These journals are places for me to gather images and ideas that inspire and intrigue me. The concept is not new and artists, writers and designers have long kept such journals. However as we have become more centred on new technologies like blogs and social media I wonder if more of us are subscribing to feeds than cutting and pasting images with our own comments into notebooks these days and if the art of the visual journal may be lost.
I have quite a large list of blogs I subscribe to and I love spending time reading my favourites, however there are many reasons why I still keep visual journals. At the heart of my love for this activity is the relationship that you can develop between you and the material you put in there. Ok that sounds a bit deep doesn’t it? But think about it; when you glue a picture, or a swatch of material into a book and make a note beside it about how it makes you feel, you have created something that you can not only see, but that you can also feel- both physically and emotionally. You are also engaging with the material by making a comment about it and this is where creativity can be sparked. There is also something wonderful about gathering your visual journals and sitting down with them long after the last page has been filled and going back through them. Examining the images again, questioning how they now make you feel; perhaps seeing something you did not see before.
If the idea of keeping a visual journal is new to you, or if it is something you have stopped doing in favour of collecting images in online folders, perhaps you will also be inspired to start your own. All you need is a notebook and an enquiring mind!