The Practice of Keeping Studio “Field Notes”

DSC_0202Admittedly, I’m a sketchbook and journal junkie.  My studio cabinet is FULL of them!!  At any one time, I have several sketchbooks in the works.  I obviously need a place for pattern play, sketches, doodles, images, resonating words, ideas and ramblings.





But with so many places to play, I have scattered information that’s truly relevant to my evolution as an artist – things like ideas, project notes, class to do’s, creative goals, successes and yes, even “failures”!



Yeah, I don’t know why it took me so long to realize the importance of keeping all my creative chatter in one place – and in chronological order.  Duh.

Many moons ago, when I was a student of archaeology and geology, we were graded on keeping “field notes”.  Our professors required we keep our notebooks with us at all times. They would periodically collect them for reviewing, sharing good and bad practices with the class – and of course, marking up with their comments in bold red.  Our books typically counted upwards of 25% of our final class grade!

Working in my field journal was my favorite thing to do.  I actually enjoyed documenting my findings, making little sketches and notes of project details.  I’m a born researcher and information “collector” – I do so love to learn!  I seriously can’t believe I haven’t applied this technique to my art making/studio time before now.

When I had the inspiration to begin keeping formal studio field notes, I pulled out the typical black bound artist sketchbook.  However, I was quickly turned off by the size.  I craved intimate and portable – more like the notebooks I kept back in school.


Oh oh!  I LOVE LOVE LOVE my leather notebook cover from Zenok Leather!  I pulled it from my stash.  The cover allows me to carry up to 4 Moleskine Cahiers. Perfect!  (I prefer the cahiers with gridded paper – reminds me of my science days.)

Should I need even greater portability, I can remove and carry the one notebook I’m working in – say to a museum for sketch day or to a workshop or class.  Cool, huh?


(FYI:  my leather cover was originally a light beige – I had a shoe repair shop dye the outside black when I tired of the color – so the inside is different than it probably would be from Zenok.)





 Do you have a similar practice?

Am I the last artist on Earth to do this??  Do tell.


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