RB Artists On… The Importance of Keeping Notebooks

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"I have a notebook for artists or artworks that inspire me, another one for ideas and research on my ongoing or future projects, and a last one to gather my thoughts and questions on books about politics or history that I read. "

Often it’s the small rituals that keep our creative games going, which is why in “RB Artists On…” we get some of the best and brightest artists from the RB community to share their thoughts on how such seemingly minor subjects as napping, exercise, spirituality, and more impacts the creative process.


In his book “Steal Like an Artist,” Austin Kleon says: “Carry a notebook and pen with you wherever you go. Get used to pulling it out and jotting down your thoughts and observations. Copy your favorite passages out of books. Record overheard conversations. Doodle when you’re on the phone.”

So in this installment we chatted with the incredibly productive Delphine Comte, Elizabeth SommervilleTess Smith-Roberts, and Grikis (aka Eglė Plytnikaitė) about the importance of keeping a journal or notebook with them at all times and how the act of jotting, saving scraps, and doodling helps inspire them in their various creative pursuits.

"Jul" by Delphine Comte

Beth Caird: Can you tell us about your relationship to journaling, scrapbooking, or keeping a notebook?

Delphine Comte: I keep notebooks, my planner usually ends up being one of them! I have a notebook for artists or artworks that inspire me, another one for ideas and research on my ongoing or future projects, and a last one to gather my thoughts and questions on books about politics or history that I read. All of them are a mix of quotes, doodles and post-its. I really need them to experiment, discover and think out of the box, or to remember what I looked at already and what I thought about or wondered when reading or researching, it helps brainstorming and gives my work consistency. At least I believe it does, which saves me loads of time when working.

Elizabeth Sommerville: Journaling is something that I would love to be more disciplined about. There have been several journals that I have started, but then stopped halfway through. (Maybe because I take a nap instead of writing in a journal?!) I do have a collection of letters, artwork, and found objects that inspire me and are close to my heart. When I have kept a journal, I write a few sentences and then doodle and may tape a clipping of a newspaper or letter with the entry. So it is more like a scrapbook than a journal. I am always jotting down notes and things to remember on little slips of paper and slip them in my purse or put them on my dresser.

 

"through." by Elizabeth Somerville

Tess Smith-Roberts: I have a Moleskine notebook where I like to draw little ideas and sketches in the middle of the night; sometimes I use it like a diary too, but usually they’re only short little thoughts where I mainly focus on the typography. I also have a watercolour notebook where I paint most of my art – I then usually scan it and edit it on photoshop or create patterns with it on illustrator. Recently, I made a pattern of a blue whale (which you can see in my shop!) and sometime soon I’m going to add little sailors and boats to it too.

 

"hand in the trees" by Tess Smith-Roberts

Grikis: I love to write down short ideas and make a fast sketches in my notebook, so I always have it with me, even if sometimes it’s not so easy to carry it, but the truth is that I’m kind of addicted to that. I get really upset if an idea for a new drawing or text comes to my head and I don’t have a place to write it down.

"Local intelligence" by Grikis

Thank you to Tess, Delphine, Eglė, and Liz for taking the time out to chat. Click the images to visit their RB profiles and support their work.

But what do you think? Do you carry a notebook with you all the time? What kinds of notes or drawings do you keep? Post some pics and scans or let us know more about your processes in the comments below.

Plus, for more on note taking and journaling, check out out post on doodling.

[Header Image: “Paper Boat” by ]

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