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LINES VS NO LINES: The journal-keeper’s dilemma.


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For ten years I was faithful to this lined journal in a hard, cardboard cover.  The narrow-ruled pages encouraged me to write. But the Dartmouth Bookstore in Hanover, New Hampshire, became a Barnes and Noble box store and the blue notebooks were no more.  Oddly, they they were not ideal for drawing or painting, but when I traveled I used them to sketch in with some success.

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I did love these notebooks, and it took me a couple of years spent in a random selection of journals to find the Fabriano Quadrato Artist’s Journal in a Fabriano shop at Fiumicino. I became an instant convert.  Beautiful paper in four neutral tones. No lines.  A good size.  And soon I worshiped at the Fabriano altar.

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For better or worse, I don’t need to go to Italy for the journals; they’re available on Amazon.  Fabriano has existed as a paper company since 1264 so I’m trusting them to continue producing this journal.  Before finding the Quadrato, I’d used the Classic Artist’s Journal (too large), and the Artist’s Journal with multicolored paper (it’s a challenge to write or draw on dark gray-green paper).

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Logically, I’ve been encouraged by the books to do more visual things — drawing, painting, even printing, as I did here with hand-carved stamps.  I’ve learned that the journal as container is capable of dictating the direction of my recording.  Does the Quadrato encourage a more colorful life?

I’m nine journals and five years into the new commitment.  I think it’s love.  And, prompted by a comment on this blog, I’m about to embark on an exercise:  I intend to do a thousand drawings or paintings, at least one-a-day, in my Quadrato journal.  In fact, my friend suggested the 10,000.  I’ll go for the first thousand and see where I am.

2015-07-09 08.56.01The challenge is sure to be my reluctance to keep poor drawings, and yet how else do I see my progress?  i know that when I draw, I see more clearly.  In fact, the friend who suggested the 10,000 agrees with me that drawing opens our brains somehow, allows us to record what we see and simultaneously the sounds…the whole experience that surrounds us.

So here’s to drawing and writing on a daily basis.  And to Fabriano for nourishing my habit.  (No, I’m not on their payroll.  I only wish.)


Author: Ann Turkle

I travel, I teach, I walk, I write, I draw. I spent big chunks of my life acquiring degrees, but I've learned as much from my students as I learned from my professors. I am always ambitious to learn more.

2 thoughts on “LINES VS NO LINES: The journal-keeper’s dilemma.

  1. Brava! And bring your drawing things to NH next week! Chickens, a lizard!

  2. You are making me want to upgrade to a finer quality paper. I’ve been slumming, stealing the quaderno exercise books from my school’s student supply and have thereby saved a small fortune on Moleskins. But I am sure the impact is perfunctory scribbling and a woeful waning of care and artistry. I love these you have on display!!

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