Do You Use a Studio Journal?

Do You Use a Studio Journal?

I have been using a studio journal for many years now. When I first started dabbling in fiber arts, I just wrote ideas down on scraps of paper or printed out pages from the internet and had them all around the house. This turned out to be a very poor system! So I took an online course about using a studio journal from Sharon B. of Pintangle and have used a journal ever since. The classes that I take from Gail Harker also have me use a studio journal so I have lots of different ones now.


Choosing a journal is a personal thing. I have found that I like different sizes depending on how the journal is being used. If you have never used one before, don’t go out and buy the most expensive and prettiest journal you can find. Try using a notebook that you already have around the house. Many people get a brand new journal and then they are afraid “to mess it up”. Don’t treat your journal as an “art” journal. Every page doesn’t need to be beautiful. Use your journal as a tool. You may just use it to list what you want to accomplish each day, use it for sketching ideas or pasting in pages torn from magazines that catch your attention.


The type of paper in a journal will make a difference if you are planning on painting the pages or doing a lot of mixed media in the journal. I have found that either heavy weight drawing paper or paper that is made for a variety of media, work best for me. I do use a lot of paint in my journals as well as glue and sometimes even stitch. However, I do use a journal that has fairly thin paper and it actually still works OK as long as you aren’t distressed by paint bleeding through to the back side of the paper.


One of the best things I like about keeping a studio journal is being able to look back through my old journals. Many times, I have written down an idea that at the time either wasn’t deemed worth trying or just got forgotten. By looking back, I might find new inspiration from an old idea. The other neat thing is what I call the compost effect. You put all your ideas down in the journal, you add some things you saw online, you write down a quote or two and all of these kind of mix together, compost and bring forth an idea that might never have happened any other way.


So, do you use a studio journal? If you do, I’d love to hear how you use it, what’s your favorite type of journal, do you make a special cover for your journal or do you just leave it plain? Leave a comment or come join us over on the forum.

14 thoughts on “Do You Use a Studio Journal?

  1. I use a journal…sometimes! I have a bad habit of going back and ripping out the pages that make me ask “what was I thinking?!” with my newest journal, I am trying to leave everything in it though, because there is definitely an evolution to my thoughts and sometimes it’s nice to follow it back.

    1. Kristin – I hope you are able to avoid ripping out more pages. Lots of pages in mine are ugly or ridiculous looking to me. But your point about seeing the evolution is good. You can see that you are making progress when you go back to earlier journals.

  2. I know exactly where Kristin is coming from with the ‘ripping out pages’!

    Your journal is lovely Ruth. I had an A2 size poster of ‘Desiderata’ on my wall for ages (don’t know what happened to it during renovation work) and it’s a good bit of prose to take to heart.

    1. Thanks Lyn. I have lots of pages in mine that could easily have been ripped out. But I try not to judge and just keep going.

    1. So just start in a sketchbook Ann. Write down your list of to do’s to start with. Maybe write down what you’re learning about your boot pattern and what you might change if you did another pair. Scribble that thought of a good idea before it flies out of your head etc.

  3. I love my notebooks. I always have one around where ever I find myself. One of them even has grid paper which can be handy for weaving notes. It is also interesting to revisit some ideas and observe the changes through the years.

  4. I dont really have a journal either and when i have had one in the past i’m the same as Kristin and Lyn thinking, what was i thinking, so out they come, i did give up on that idea, but my mind is racing at a thousand miles an hour lately so maybe i should start a nice new one !!!

  5. Yes, I have several journals going at one time. Different ones for different tasks. I keep the most important one on top of my printer and next to the current book I am reading and my digital Bible. I also have one next to my recliner and in my studio. But these are not pretty, just functional for random thoughts and cartoon drawings. I only have one that I actually use for artwork. I also kept notes from a couple of college classes I took. I like to review these from time to time.

  6. I have a small ring binder one and often re-do pages, I do pull some out too though. My diary has been used the most lately as a kind of journal. I have so many other notebooks to keep all my projects separate, so I’m not searching for the right notes.

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