Or pencil, or marker. Some drawing instrument. I used to love to draw, in high school I would stay home to work on drawings, I was constantly drawing something. This continued for a bit after high school as I took the "hiatus" path, taking two years between high school and college (this was in part because my dad's job moved to Mexico and so he started working at universities; imagine, a 9-5 Monday-Friday year round job instead of the continual afternoon shift he worked as a metal pattern maker in the Detroit metro area; it's a miracle we didn't kill each other), and even a little bit here and there since. But overall I have followed other creative paths, knitting, quilting, beading, even the occasional vision collage.
Through all that time I keep saying (usually every fall) "I want to draw". I love the feel of an Ebony pencil as it slides across the paper, filling in the forms I am looking at or the forms in my head. But somehow life gets in the way and the pencil goes back to the drawer, only a little smaller than it was when I took it out.
However, my intuition, my intention, for the year 2009 is to make this the year where I draw again. To that end I found an old journal that I made probably 10-12 years ago, filled with Strathmore 400 paper, I am sure (I had ordered a package wholesale from one of our suppliers and made a bunch of signatures with it). I spent part of New Year's Eve making a new slipcover for it out of some zebra print fabric I'd bought to make plush animals with. And on January 1st, I intend to start to draw. Whatever takes my fancy. As often as possible.
Some good books for inspiration on keeping a visual journal are:
An Illustrated Life
The Creative License
all 3 by Danny Gregory, all very good, filled with drawings and observations about daily life. you can read old posts at his blog as well. Fun stuff!
Drawing from Life: The Journal as Art Jennifer New
A Life in Hand Hannah Hinchman
A Trail Through Leaves Hannah Hinchman
The Decorated Page Gwen Diehn
The Decorated Journal Gwen Diehn
Creating Sketchbooks for Embroiderers and Textile Artists Kay Greenlees
The point of this is not necessarily to work out ideas for in the flesh works, but I know that will be part of it. All of the cleaning in the studio and all of the experiences I have had over the past year are begging to be processed into something new. Components are whispering stories to me, and documenting the process via drawing instrument on paper is the best way I know to help bring these stories to the outside world, where they can share their secrets with others.