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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Importance of Keeping a Journal

I am here today, after months of absence, to offer you guys some practical advice. This entry into my oeuvre discusses the practical uses of keeping a journal.

We know that journals are good for recording personal thoughts and scientific observations. Well, artists can take a cue from our scientific brethren. I find that I best remember something if I write it down, particularly if I can paraphrase it. This helped me out a lot in school. This way, I had a better grasp of the material because I certainly wasn't going to be able to recall all of the information in the textbooks my myself.

Basically, what I'm saying is record all of your observations about life, about everything you can find out.

In essence, make your artistic observations in journals. I think that this is a logical extension of using sketchbooks. Artists are constantly being told to carry sketchbooks to observe and draw what you see. Well, why not use the cousin of sketchbooks to do the exact same thing? Allow me to elaborate.

As I have been reading over the many blogs I visit, many artists encourage up and comers to observe and to not let themselves fall into a formula. Well, a sketchbook gives us pictorial inspiration, but sometimes ideas are better expressed in words. This is where the journals come in. You write down observations that can't be sketched.

Start off with analyzing movies, books, comics (both in strip and book form), and other modes of storytelling. Write out how the stories they tell unfold. Analyze the characters to find those notes of falsehood or contrivance that will plague you if you do not weed them out. Study performers and describe their performance style. Study artists and their work and dissect it to see how it works. Always be on the lookout for new ideas and fresh perspectives.

Don't just stop with analyzing the media. Real life will always be your greatest asset in expanding your artistic and storytelling vocabulary. Write down how people relate and interact with each other. Study your family, friends, strangers, etc. and try to analyze their personalities and how those personalities relate and the conflict between them. Also, look into the world of history and you will find plenty of vibrant characters that not even Charles Dickens could conceive.

This idea is best used if you have both a journal and a sketchbook with you. The two must be used as harmonious extensions of your mind. The journal is there to put it into words that you can process in your head and create visual representation of these ideas in your sketchbook.

However, I don't mean forfeit all of life's experiences to simple observation. Live life as you see fit, but always keep some part of your brain to notice the little things. It might just help you out later.

I don't know if this will lead us out of the desert of cliches and mediocrity and into the promised land of better, more substantial films. It couldn't hurt. Anyway, thank you for reading my inane ramblings. Enjoy your day.

Same Weirdo Time
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Zuzu said...

This sounds like a tremendous amount of work. I mean dwelling on everything you see can be all absorbing. Isn't it better just to take a few notes and then create?

Eric Noble said...

I guess I went a bit overboard, but I am passionate about this. I guess I mean to just be observant. Remember these things and keep track of them. You don't have to keep everything memorized. That's why you have the journal. This is meant as inspiration.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I would have never thought of that. Thanks for the great advice. I think I'll look into it.