Art diaries, journals, sketchbooks…where to start…

  I believe it is important in developing your arts practice to use art diaries/journals/sketchbooks/notebooks even online blogs to keep track of your ideas, thoughts, sketches, make notes of things that interest or are important to you as an artist. These are useful to look back on and in developing your own ‘voice’ or style of art or providing technical notes of how to do things. These can also provide valuable back up for you as an artist and establishing copyright of your work.

In trying to represent the idea we have in our mind and then take that idea in our chosen media, we can have feelings that range from frustrating to ecstatic (when it actually works!). By keeping track of these things you can always backtrack and find them. If your filing system is good – mine is average – you could simply keep a catalogue of your sketchbooks and find them instantly!

Many, many times things just do not go well for a variety of reasons and as frustrating or disappointing it may be ‘starting again’, backtracking a little or even discarding the whole idea is also part of the process of creating artworks.

The most important aspect of all of this is the process of learning and developing your arts practice – even if the work is discarded it is important to note ‘why’ and perhaps ‘how’ you’d do it differently – this is the most important aspect!

I was told many times in art college – keep all your drawings so you can see the developments. This becomes impractical but I do actually still have ‘selected’ drawings from that time – just to remind me.

The development of art diaries, journals or sketchbooks are extremely important and are a more ‘contained’ way of keeping track in developing your arts practice – it also gives insights into the thinking and working behind your works. It also gives you the opportunity to document mistakes, the learning and hopefully moving forward in ability.

It was said to me 10 years ago by an experienced and well-known artist that “if you continue in your arts practice, you will look back in 10 years and you will be able to do so much more than you could back then and be able to see your development”. This is just so true! It is clearly illustrated by my HSC major works from 27 years ago…and my more recent initial new work in the field of pen and ink illustration.

These are my old HSC Drawing Major Works from *cough* years ago…(1981). They are a mixture of watercolour pencils, coloured pencil and (rotring) pen and ink. I must say looking back some were more successful than others…and I kind of itch to just ‘fix’ some of them or in the case of the seal – get rid of it!


The illustrations using pen and watercolour washes below were completed around 2009/10 – a definite development and improvement I would hope!!




Processing, thinking, practicing and even making mistakes can at times be even more important than producing the artwork…

Copyright – Lynette Weir

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s