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Drawing From Life: The Journal as Art
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Drawing From Life: The Journal as Art

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  2,719 ratings  ·  32 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published June 2nd 2005 by Princeton Architectural Press (first published June 27th 1905)
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Community Reviews

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Vasilisa
I've been planning out ways to dispose of my notebooks and notepads in which I've written random thoughts, quotations, reminders. Reading "Drawing From Life", I realize these too have significance. So I read through my old notebooks, and found that it seems I write better in these notebooks than in my more formal journals. The words are free flowing, unhampered by grammar. It is straight from the gut. I've changed my mind and currently looking for a place to store all my random journals, noteboo ...more
JayeL
May 20, 2008 JayeL rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: someone working on visual journaling
Recommended to JayeL by: Pam Rubert
Shelves: quilt
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 ...more
Princeton Architectural
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 exceptions—books of obsessive wonder filled to their borders with drawings, sketches, watercolors, graphs, charts, ...more
Pat
Feb 08, 2014 Pat rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: art
If you keep a sketchbook, this book will interest you. Not a great book but it always interests me to see other people's sketchbooks. The best part of the read is learning all the various reasons people keep them and how they use them.
Amy
This is a gorgeous book filled with wide-ranging examples of the way artists and others use their journals and sketchbooks as visual records of their lives (or portions thereof). I like to thumb through it for inspiration, but also enjoy reading the short essays about each person behind these volumes. I plan to recommend it to my drawing students as well.
Quinn
This fat, heavy book with beautifully rounded corners and the look of a lab manual guides you through the journals of an unlikely group of unrelated people: sketchers, scientists, travelers, idea-generators. The journals are largely commonplace journals (meant to catch thoughts and ideas on a daily basis) and not beautiful books for display.

Of course, some of them are lovely, but I love the day-to-day books best. The ones that will still be meaningful years from now as identifiers of history, c
...more
Leni D. Anderson
I found “Drawing From Life: The Journal as Art” a very interesting read, and I have to say in some cases, inspirational. I enjoyed reading about why some of the people represented in the book keep a journal(s), especially the artistic & observational/scientific journal keepers. As an artist, I have a good number of journals and sketchbooks; a few are entirely text based (referring to the former), but the majority are notes and images of ideas I have for art projects I’m either working on, or ...more
Lisa Kemble
Lots of examples of different sketchbook journals. Interesting contrasts because the artwork is so varied. Many different approaches to journaling.
Mycala
This was an interesting peek into the various kinds of art journals by all kinds of people from quilters to scientists and the guy who keeps track of how many eggs he eats and how they're done. I was expecting it more to be a book about techniques and ideas, but it was interesting anyway.

October 2010 - Amused to discover I've read this book before and I totally don't remember it. The same reaction, though. I wasn't as inspired as I'd hoped to be but it was interesting. I'll check back in another
...more
Eric
The book was an interesting read. The idea of a visual journal is something that was quite new to me, but it was not really what I was looking for when I decided to read this book. I wanted to learn about various techniques and skills for writing and maintaining a journal, but I got none of them. But I have to admit that the book itself is very decent, with wonderful examples of visual journals from various types of professionals, ranging from an architect to a physician.
Ace Whatstheirface
Beautiful book with pages of visuals from the journals of scientists, artists, architects, etc. the book tells about the processes of visual journaling for the selected people, which is no doubt interesting. I wish it had more analytic and theoretic information regarding the journaling and creative process as opposed to solely focussing on summaries of particular artists' journals.
Natasha
A peek into the artistic journals of several artists. Truly one of my favorite books, if only for its inspirational value. I thumb through it anytime I start to believe I don't have time to make art. I so enjoy examining how people observe and document life, and this book is essentially a study of just that.
Jeannen
A fascinating look at an array of visual journals. I thought it would inspire to me want to start a visual journal of my own, but it turns out that I can be very interested in other people's visual journals without being in the least bit interested in creating one myself!
R.Friend
Beautiful collection of diverse doodles, collage, and other methods of breathing life into ordinary blank journals. Anyone who has ever experienced The Journals of Dan Eldon owes it to themselves to check this out.
Jennifer
This was definitely an interesting read and I think it is a good reference for any artist but I don't know how valuable it was. It was just kind of fun to look through and read about some of the various processes.
Kristin
awesome!!! this had been a birthday present in 2005 and i had it more as a coffee table book. i finally read it cover to cover and found it so inspiring, and gave me a long list of artists to look up.
Andrew
Dec 17, 2010 Andrew added it
Fascinating look into the creative process of travelers, artists, architects, writers, David Byrne, and all sorts of other people through their journals.
Connie
This book wasn't what I expected. It was interesting to look at but I didn't learn anything nor did I come away feeling inspired.
olivia
inspirational book. a window to how various people (artists, musicians, biologists, etc) keep a visual diary. highly recommended.
Kate Green
It's alright, I suppose. Makes me a little envious of the people that have time to keep a sketchpad. And their artistic skills!
Kim
Filled with inspiring, fun examples of journals that combine art and writing. Some of them from well-known people.
Kim
I maybe would have enjoyed this book more had I found it when I was just starting out my journaling endeavors.
Linda
such a wonderful book about drawing, fabulous if you are learning and fabulous if you can already draw
Kim
A great look into the life of the artist and their personal sketchbooks. Kudos to journals!
Cindy
Apr 23, 2009 Cindy added it
Inspirational ; in the same way that Peter Beards journals are brilliant ......
Leslie
Still reading this a little at a time--fascinating!
Tiiu Ashcraft
It is cool to see how other use their sketch books.
Beth
Aug 03, 2007 Beth is currently reading it
So far this book is really great. I love it.
bitchrepublic
yummy! Kick start a journal today.
Yesica
Oct 05, 2009 Yesica marked it as to-read
Shelves: books-i-want
sounds interesting...
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  • The Decorated Page: Journals, Scrapbooks & Albums Made Simply Beautiful
  • Artists' Journals and Sketchbooks: Exploring and Creating Personal Pages
  • 1000 Journals Project
  • 1,000 Artist Journal Pages: Personal Pages and Inspirations
  • How to Make a Journal of Your Life
  • Visual Chronicles: The No-Fear Guide to Creating Art Journals, Creative Manifestos & Altered Books
  • Journal Revolution: Rise Up and Create Art Journals, Personal Manifestos and Other Artistic Insurrections
  • The Complete Guide to Altered Imagery: Mixed-Media Techniques for Collage, Altered Books, Artist Journals, and More
  • Spilling Open: The Art of Becoming Yourself
  • True Vision: Authentic Art Journaling
  • Drawing Lab for Mixed-Media Artists: 52 Creative Exercises to Make Drawing Fun
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  • A Life In Hand
  • The journey is the destination : the journals of Dan Eldon
  • Everyday Matters
  • Keys to Drawing with Imagination: Strategies and Exercises for Gaining Confidence and Enhancing Creativity
  • Kaleidoscope: Projects and Ideas to Spark Your Creativity
  • The Journal Junkies Workshop: Visual Ammunition for the Art Addict
Dan Eldon: The Art of Life Dan Eldon: Safari as a Way of Life

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“Visual journals are created in a secret language of symbols. Intentional or not, they are private maps only their makers can follow.” 2 likes
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