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Drawing From Life: The Journal as Art

by Jennifer New

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315365,468 (4)4
Who hasn't, at one time or other, kept a journal? The impulse to record our daily lives on paper is nothing if not universal. Still, only a few of us have the discipline to make it past the first few entries, and fewer still manage to create diaries whose insight and visual beauty can inspire anyone but their authors.Drawing from Life: The Journal as Art is an exploration of these exceptionsbooks of obsessive wonder filled to their borders with drawings, sketches, watercolors, graphs, charts, lists, collages, portraits, and photographs. Jennifer New takes readers on a spirited tour into the private worlds of journal keepersan architect, a traveler, a film director, an archeologist, a cancer patient, a songwriter, a quiltmaker, a gardener, an artist, a cyclist, and a scientist, to name just a fewillustrating a broad range of journaling styles and techniques that in the end show how each of us can go about documenting our everyday lives. Excerpts from journals by such artists as Maira Kalman, Steven Holl, David Byrne, and MikeFiggis give us a peek at how creative souls observe, reflect, and explore. For those who already keep a journal,Drawing from Life will be an inspiration. For those who have always wanted toor tried and failedit might just be the motivation needed to get past that first week.… (more)
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The best quote I have come across in this book is one that says "the journal is the working stiff of creative life." This quote lends the journal (visual journal or art journal or text based journal) an air of humanity. It lends the feeling that it is ok to cross out bits and pieces, to rip pages out, to start over. It gives me the okay to just do whatever I need to in my journal and use it to work out ideas and improve my ideas. I finished this book and felt a sense of relief. Not relief that I had finished it, but a sense of excitement and a new beginning. Imagine letting out a huge sigh of contentment and that is how I felt. I was particularly enamored with the 1000 journals project and wished that New had had more of Denyse Schmidt's journals. I loved reading about the various artists, especially in the creativity section and felt very inspired by their work. Read this book, it is fantastic!

( )
  jlapac | Aug 14, 2013 |
An eclectic collection of journal pages worth reading not only for what they say in themselves, but also for what they can inspire in the reader. I illustrate my own journal and this book was a nice charge of energy for my own writing/drawing. ( )
  bookem | May 29, 2011 |
Book dedicated to showcasing intricate art journals, mostly hand-drawn. The journals themselves are so self-evidently fascinating that it's hard to say why presenting them in this fashion doesn't quite work. The choice to reduce intricate journal-pages down to postcard size, rendering them mostly unreadable, certainly doesn't help; I think there's also a problem with the sheer number of journals represented here, which helps to give a sense of scope and variety but eliminates the ability to really immerse yourself in any particular journal. The framing essays profiling each journal-maker are worth a read, but ultimately they're not nearly as interesting as the journals themselves: it's just one more degree of remove between the reader and the subjectivity that's alive in the journal-pages. There's so much "frame" here that the art itself is choked out. ( )
1 vote jbushnell | Sep 3, 2007 |
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Who hasn't, at one time or other, kept a journal? The impulse to record our daily lives on paper is nothing if not universal. Still, only a few of us have the discipline to make it past the first few entries, and fewer still manage to create diaries whose insight and visual beauty can inspire anyone but their authors.Drawing from Life: The Journal as Art is an exploration of these exceptionsbooks of obsessive wonder filled to their borders with drawings, sketches, watercolors, graphs, charts, lists, collages, portraits, and photographs. Jennifer New takes readers on a spirited tour into the private worlds of journal keepersan architect, a traveler, a film director, an archeologist, a cancer patient, a songwriter, a quiltmaker, a gardener, an artist, a cyclist, and a scientist, to name just a fewillustrating a broad range of journaling styles and techniques that in the end show how each of us can go about documenting our everyday lives. Excerpts from journals by such artists as Maira Kalman, Steven Holl, David Byrne, and MikeFiggis give us a peek at how creative souls observe, reflect, and explore. For those who already keep a journal,Drawing from Life will be an inspiration. For those who have always wanted toor tried and failedit might just be the motivation needed to get past that first week.

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