Drawing from Life

The Journal As Art

Jennifer New

     8 × 10 in (20.3 × 25.4 cm)
192 pages
200 color illustrations, 5 b/w illustrations
Publication date: 6/1/2005
Rights: World
ISBN: 9781568984452

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, lists, collages, portraits, and photographs.

Jennifer New takes readers on a spirited tour into the private worlds of journal keepers--an 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 few--illustrating 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 Mike Figgis 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 to--or tried and failed--it might just be the motivation needed to get past that first week.

Jennifer New is author of the best selling Dan Eldon: The Art of Life. She teaches at the University of Iowa School of Education and lives with her husband and children in Iowa City.

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