Above: Page from my Nideggen journal showing a couple quick sketches from different days when I was doing errands. Top left is a Staedtler Pigment liner with gouache. Right is a Faber-Castell Pitt Artist's Calligraphy Pen with gouache—the view through a waiting room window. In both instances my eye was attracted to the spring vegetation. On the left, it was the splashes of green. On the right it was though bright red tulips. The tab in the center of the page is the result of me pre-cutting pages out of the journal on the first day of use—to make room for subsequent collage material throughout the journal. Click on the image to view an enlargement.
It's not necessary to create carefully designed pages in order to have a journal that is meaningful to you. On this page spread I've had two different outings and had a couple minutes to spare at each. The most important thing on both occassions was that I use that time for sketching.
On the left of the page spread you'll see a false start sketch of a bird and then a quick sketch of some weeds around a car parked next to mine. I had a few minutes before one of my classes started and the freshly sprouting spring greens attracted my attention.
I had limited time so I thought I'd keep the sketch small and write notes on the rest of the page, but then various activities and a lack of errands kept me out of my regular journal for 3 days. (I did lots of pages in my in-studio journal during that time but this journal remained in my pack.)
When I arrived at another appointment the tulips outside the window caught my attention and I sketched the piece on the righthand page. Just as I was finishing the painting of the yard across the street it was time for my appointment so I wrote notes on the house colors and finished them later that night. I also added a note on the bottom of the left hand page.
To some the effect might seem jumbled and somewhat incoherent, but to me this page spread gives me a perfect reminder of how spring is pumping into action in Minneapolis.
Grab what grabs your attention. Believe me, years later when you look at your journal you will be excited to see how acquisitive your eye was, and you won't care at all about the overall beauty of the page. Of course if you have time and want to design a page you can do that—don't allow the desire for pretty pages to become an impediment to capturing your life.