Art Journaling or Daily Planning?

I’ve been in love with planners and organizers for a long time now. But in all my planner geek experiments, I’ve never really considered combining planner functions with bullet journals, notebooks, journals, and art journals too carefully. I started to give it some thought after being asked to write a guest post about it, and realized that over time I’ve been trying to combine lots of different elements into my planner. And maybe that’s why lately my planners never seem to quite “fit” what I want them to do? It’s hard to put my finger on what that is exactly, but something is missing. I’ve been trying to carry around quotes notebooks, planners, art journals, sketchbooks, notebooks for ink samples and fountain pen tests …. and it’s so hard to pick and choose each morning what to take with, when I might want any, all or none of the above that particular day!

So I was reading this blog post from Hali Karla about keeping an everyday art journal, and these words really resonated with me:

I can say that deciding to carry an “everyday art journal” was a game-changer for me. It’s really just an art journal or sketchbook that goes with me everywhere… I actually broke up with my standard planner after getting to know my everyday art journal (it really never worked out between me and the conventional planner no matter how hard we tried anyway).

I use it to jot down ideas, sketch or doodle when I have time to kill or need to pause and be present, to tack in photos and fodder, or capture wise or inspiring words from others that may come my way. Sometimes I write prayers in it, or recipes. I even keep my lists in it. To-do lists, not-to-do lists, shopping lists, gratitude lists, travel itinerary details – all of which can be painted or glued over later if I feel the urge… It really isn’t just an everyday journal – it’s an everything journal for me.

The real beauty of it, though, is that having it all within one cover, over a period of time, makes it really easy to begin to see patterns in my life… I keep other art journals, too – and they often have a variety of styles and flavors within the pages. Yet, while the everyday journal isn’t the prettiest journal I keep, by any means, it’s one of the most precious to my journey.

So I think this might be the next step in my art journal/planner evolution – create an informal planner that’s an “everything journal” first, and a calendar second – instead of the other way around. It seems so revolutionary! But now I really want to try it. But it’s kind of an intimidating thought. I’d love to hear from someone who has done something similar – I can’t find many other examples online.

I’ll leave with this description of an Art Journal from Jane Davenport:

It’s a mix of diary, travel memoir, autobiography, art therapist, visual diary, notebook, scrapbook and sketchbook….plus more… It’s a place, YOUR space, to record and work through your life experience in images, words, colours and collage.

There are NO RULES.

Some links on other great blog posts about art journals, planners and commonplace journals:

“You may want to keep a commonplace book which is a notebook where you can copy parts of books you think are in code, or take notes on a series of events you may have observed that are suspicious, unfortunate, or very dull. Keep your commonplace book in a safe place, such as underneath your bed, or at a nearby dairy.”

Lemony Snicket, Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography

“In my Commonplace book, I jot down snippets, quotes, stanzas. They can be words from a novel, from a poem, from a picture book, from the side of a cereal box. Anything I read that causes me to pause and read again- to stop and savor the words or ponder the message- it all belongs in my book.

This is the heart of my book and what really makes it a treasure, I think.”

– Sarah Mackenzie , amongstlovelythings.com

“Their commonplace then became a kind of personal reading/life log, where they kept notes on anything they wished to remember.

What it’s not is a journal or diary. While some people did use their commonplace for both purposes, many kept them separate, and a commonplace tends to refer to a book of information, not daily logs.”

– Devon Henderson, Chirmer Graphics

“But writing original stuff is damn hard, and as if I needed another diversionary tactic I’ve found myself adopting a delicious little habit of collecting quotes from books and films, words, ideas, snippets from overheard conversations, phrases, epigrams and poems that I see around and about the place.”

Maz, Diving For Pearls

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3 thoughts on “Art Journaling or Daily Planning?

  1. chirmer May 14, 2015 at 6:38 pm Reply

    Hey, thanks for reading my post and quoting it in yours 🙂 I’ve really enjoyed combining my bullet journal/planner with my sketchbook. There are key ideas from keeping a bullet journal, like the Index, future planning, and the monthly lists, that are super helpful, and I enjoy that, should I wish to sketch something out, I need only turn to the next clean spread and get to work!

    Once I picked up a Midori Traveler’s Notebook, I started experimenting with notebook/planner combos. I’m still exploring, to be honest. Since writing my post on commonplace books, I’ve switched to keeping those digital. It takes me too long to fill out a notebook, and until I scan those page in, I can never find what I’m looking for 😦 So all of my quotes and things are in Evernote, and currently I’ve got my BuJo notebook, a planner, and the thin-paper insert (as a sketchbook) in my Midori (with folders and biz card slots). It seems to be working well, but definitely still feels like a work in progress. There’s something to be said for just using one simple notebook!

    • pensandart May 29, 2015 at 3:31 am Reply

      Thanks for the update Chirmer!! Your system sounds like it’s evolved to fit your needs nicely! I am still trying to figure out what I need for what purpose, but still am really drawn by the idea of a bullet journal in a sketchbook, so will have to plan on a follow-up at some point too. 🙂

  2. AeronM February 10, 2016 at 12:04 am Reply

    I, too, am doing an “Everything Book”… part sketchbook, part Bullet Journal, part scrapbook….. etc. I am going to do a video tour of it when I get a little further into it and have more to show. So far, I LOVE it. I am a sketchbooker who also has 8 million Post It notes around my house… now I have everything in one place! What’s not to love??? : )

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