Sketch journals (aka sketch diaries) are one of the most useful items a potter can have outside the studio. If you have never done this kind of journaling, then consider starting your own sketch journal today.
Give yourself the freedom to sketch badly, write so only you can read it, and explore every and any idea that pops into your head. Your journal is for you, no one else. Consider it as a tool, not as a form of art in itself. This is not a finished product, but a stepping stone to your finished work.
Why Keep a Sketch Journal?
Sketch journals do a number of incredibly useful things for potters. No matter if you are working more as a ceramic sculptor or as a functional potter, you can use a journal to
- Record your thoughts and ideas, both in words and in sketches.
- Record images that you see in the world around you that interest you. You never know when you might want to refer back to them.
- Explore what potting and pottery mean to you.
- Focus your thoughts and ideas, work through options and possibilities, all without wasting clay, glazes, or firing time.
- Look back at past journals to discover ideas you may want to re-explore.
Journal Related Projects
Having related projects journaled in the same book as your thoughts and ideas that directly concern your work with clay can be a great way to be able to find them again. For example, in this image the page is open to two related but non-pottery ideas. The lower sketch is an idea for a plate rack used to display multiple plates (or shallow bowls). The upper sketch is an idea for a pedestal for a ceramic sculpture.
Good Materials to Use
The materials you use can make a be difference in the ongoing success of your sketch journal.
- Bound journals, notebooks, or sketch books keep ideas safe and organized.
- Use unlined paper or lightly lined paper so the lines don't interfere with sketching ideas.
- Indelible, non-smearing inks work best at keeping your ideas legible.
Materials Unsuitable for Sketch Diaries
- Ideas sketched on loose paper or tear-away pads will inadvertently get lost, disorganized, or destroyed.
- Lined paper interferes with sketching. Lines subconsciously make it harder for people to draw freely.
- Pencils, mechanical pencils, erasable pens, and gel pens will smear and fade given time.