Yellow Throated Warbler

By May 17, 2015 Journal No Comments


Since people are asking, I’ll explain the technique here for posterity!

I like journals, I like the way they look, I like how useful they are, but I can’t keep the physical kind myself. My sketching style doesn’t lend to it at all–I cover a page in tiny little doodles–and my handwriting is…dismal, to say the least. Also, I literally taught myself to type at the age of seven, so writing by hand feels abysmally slow and also weirdly uneditable.

I’ve tried. I briefly managed pretty good sketchbooks with words that were sort of journal like, but it was mostly because I had a job that was really boring and had a lot of downtime. Now, if I am that bored, I go pull weeds.

But I love the aesthetic. I love the idea. My mother keeps these massive sketchbook journals that are works of art all on their own, and she draws elaborate scenes and writes philosophical thoughts and natural observations and a few of them have been in galleries because dude. I kinda want to do that, except that I’m not as meticulous as my mother, and she enjoys drawing much more than I do. (I like painting. I can take or leave drawing.)

And there are a lot of things, particularly in the garden, that I would like to record that are weightier than merely writing something down on an LJ entry, or going “Yaaay!” on Twitter. (I quite enjoy both those media, of course, but they don’t feel as permanent as doing one of these.)

So I started fooling around with journal pages like this.

These are completely digital. A few of the pre-Africa-trip ones had hand-drawn sketches that I scanned, but lately I’ve been doodling mostly in Painter and then transferring to Photoshop. (Believe it or not, I am far more comfortable sketching digitally than physically–life and workflow have trained me to be a primarily digital artist. The day will come when I can do this on an iPad, and we are getting ever closer, but it’s not quite there yet for me. I do need to spend more time when I’m sitting on the porch sketching on the iPad and see if ArtStudio or whatever will bridge the gap.)

In Photoshop, I have a blank pale paper page, at 8 x 10, 300dpi (print size, should I get ambitious) and layer everything into that. The primary handwriting font is “Sweet Home Oklahoma” and the date caption on the last two is “Little Bird.” The big “Yellow Throated Warbler” line here is “Rose Tattoo.”*

The photos I take with my phone and e-mail to myself. I have a Really Good Camera that I could probably be using, but part of the fun of these is that they are fast and easy and require minimal time investment.

All the little extraneous doodles and scribbles on the sides are done in Photoshop. I make a new layer and doodle on it. It’s pretty easy to do, it’s basically the same way I have doodled on post-it notes and the margins of papers since I was a kid. I make the same shapes and wiggly bits and crosshatching and rectangles and chickens. I think those are what actually make these look hand-drawn instead of entirely digital.

I hope that explains things! If not, feel free to ask!

*All free for personal use, most of which I will probably have to license for the Kickstarter Africa journals, if I decide they’re what I’m going with. Still fooling with fonts at the moment.