Episode 367 of the CMP, a Creativity Matters Podcast — An illustrated journal project for the year
In this episode of the CMP, some backstory about the yearlong “approaching 50” journal / sketchbook / illustrated journal I am keeping. It’s part sketchnote, part graphic novel, part daily drawing, part journal, part documentation, and more. But before I got started, I mulled over some other yearlong projects that I really wanted to do. Before I realized the way the 50 Before 50 list was going to shape my entire year, my thinking, and, yes, my journal, I thought that the big thing I would do for the “approaching 50” year was going to be an illustrated journal project.
Top of the list was a series of weekly coffee shop visits, with a focus on visiting and recording new-to-me coffee shops. I so love and want to do this project (at some point). This project would have set the stage for people drawing, urban drawing, food drawing, all kinds of reflection, and, of course, coffee. I love being “in” a coffee shop. I love the hum, the noise, the conversation. I love how it feels to sit and take it all in and work in a journal or sketchbook. There is a decadence to it, and that feeling (and the challenge of the project) would have been a good throughline for the year for me. I considered a few other kinds of locations, too, like ice cream shops. (Remember the great bookshop illustrations in Bibliophile (Episode 348)?) But, ultimately, it was most important to me that I set up a year-long project that felt doable, didn’t feel like a chore, and that I could realistically stick with for a year.
Sad Realization — or epiphany on my first coffee shop stop in a bitter heat wave
As much as I want to do a 50 Coffee Shops project, this just isn’t the year. My thinking evolved into another possible coffee-centered plan…. and it is one that I love. In the show, I said that I didn’t set that one in stone, but that doesn’t mean it still isn’t very much part of what I am doing. (It is.)
This show sets the stage for what I ended up doing and does explain how I got from A to Z in terms of part of the scaffolding for the journal. For me, a good journal project needs some scaffolding, things that you will do each week (or with systematic regularity) to help tie it all together and to give you a definite check-in point.
From the show… about the 50 Before 50 year for me:
“What can I manage 50 times in a year…. what will always be with me…..
Warning: nothing I say about the daily “here’s-a-pretty-picture” loop should be taken negatively. I absolutely love the process of drawing and sharing daily portraits that I’ve been doing for most of the last almost-three years. Love it. I learned so much, and I continue to learn and grow as a portrait artist. And it does make sharing really easy compared to journal-sharing. Right now, I just need to shift — just a little bit. I can’t fit it all in with my life necessarily. I do have to make choices. (If only I’d been successful at selling postcards! Only two sets of Series 2 were purchased to help support the show.)
Referenced in this Episode:
- Lots of old shows that probably aren’t available now
- Optimism and friendship
- A self-portrait series from long ago / petulance
- Trusting the process
- Episode 365: Fifty Before Fifty
- Bibliophile-focused podcast (bookstore art)