Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Reflective Visual Journal

Working By Hand...

Reflective Visual Journal. Visual. It makes sense that your journal is going to be creative - a visible record of what’s going on in your mind at that moment and what interests you. Noting down your thoughts, drawing the world around you, doodling and sketching your ideas allow you to creatively engage your mind and enables you to get a connection between your creativity, eyes and hand. An RVJ can be referred to as a sketchbook, visual diary or anything really, but as long as it shows a visual progression of your thoughts it’s the same thing.

As visual communicators we are concerned with just that. Journals with lots of writing defeat the purpose of developing a visual idea.
Leonardo da Vinci sketchbooks show how he recorded and developed character, position, composition and concept. (
Historical and contemporary practitioners all use sketchbooks to develop ideas. Things they recorded can then be taken and used in a different concept later on in their creative process.
Sketchbook pages by artist Craig Atkinson (
Craig Atkinson uses his visual journal to explore mark making and colour as well as recording people around him. It is the space he uses to experiment with technique but also a way to progress his ideas. Later on in the same sketchbook you see how the initial works (as above) have been developed and collected together into something that seems more developed:

RVJ development of Craig Atkinson (
The RVJ is a blank canvas that is personal to the artist working in them. They are usually not created for any other purpose than to inform the artist working in it, and as such it can include whatever you want. It does not need to be traditional mark making with a pencil or pen, it can be collage, print, rubbings or painted work.

Utilise Your Creative Brain…

Your brain has a creative part (the right), and an organisational part (the left). It is important to involve both parts of your brain when working in the Reflective Visual Journal as it allows you to develop your ideas in a much more productive way.

Being able to collect visual information in a free and expressive way whilst keeping to a general theme gives method and direction to the right part of the brain, which can then focus ideas and develop concepts much further.

Sketchbook by artists Domonique Goblet who is utilising the left and right parts of his brain (
In this exploration, Goblet focuses his ideas to typographical experiments and studies. (

Although you can see how Goblet uses a very ‘free’ and expressive way to explore the things he encounters, he keeps to a theme - type, peoples faces, or whatever theme he chooses to explore.

He uses annotation to clarify points and ideas which he feels are (or might be in the future) important. The annotation however is not the most important part, it is still the visual elements.

Making the brain bring together creativity and method, it allows for a much greater focus and usually more informed final outcomes.

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