Secret Leaves – The Journey of the Journal

20 Aug

Journals or visual diaries are effectively one of the main memory banks for those with a creative mind… whether it be to store ideas for your next block buster movie, best selling novel or masterpiece to be hung in the Tate or the Louvre… or for us mere mortals to collect ideas and thoughts as they flow to help generate new ideas… that may turn into that next block buster movie, best selling novel or win the Turner Prize.

As kids we were always encouraged (probably to keep us quiet) to make scrap books of our holidays….and we were marked down for not having a visual diary to support art work submitted for art exams or course work…. I have maintained a couple of visual diaries over time, and also use them for client work to help me visualise ideas and colours, but ….. to be honest I would probably say that a couple of pages in every 100 pages would I ever consider showing or publishing…. although I will brave a few before you see how the professionals do it….

“Mexican Inspiration”

Citrus inspired doodles…..


Render and mood board inspirations

Well while perusing the electronic journal of ideas that is the World Wide Web… I stumbled upon the world of journalling…. and my word are they pretty amazing!!….I think I definitely need to step up my game.  Here are a couple of my favourites… let me know what you think….

1000 Journals


Started as a result of a fascination behind what people scrawl on toilet doors the founder wanted to create a book and encourage the readers to become the contributors. The idea grew until it was decided that 1000 blank journal books which travelled around to collect a variety of individual thoughts and opinions would be the way to go…Officially launched in August of 2000, with the release of the first 100 journals in San Francisco. the founder gave them to friends, and left them at bars, cafes, and on park benches. Shortly thereafter, people began emailing to ask if they could participate. And so the roller coaster began….

“The 1000 Journals Project is an ongoing collaborative experiment attempting to follow 1000 journals throughout their travels. The goal is to provide a method for interaction and shared creativity among friends and strangers.Those who find the journals add something to them. A story, drawing, photograph, anything really. Then they pass the journal along, to a friend or stranger, and the adventure continues….the journals have reached over 40 countries and every US state. They’ve come to rest in hostels, cafes and law offices; been the subject of treasure hunts, brought to remote mountaintops, abandoned at airports and stolen at gunpoint.”


The founder states that you probably now have more chance of winning the lotto than getting hold of one of the 1000 journals…. but they have created a new initiative called 1001 Journals where you can sign up for a journal or launch your own.. Love it!!! Be warned you can get lost for hours on this site!

Pam Garrison

art journal,visual journal

Based in Southern California in the US Pam has the most vibrant website full of colourful shots of her journals… I just love the covers on their own. Pam also has courses which, unfortunately for us Sydneysiders, are in the US, but she is hopefully looking into starting some e courses. I can just take hours of inspiration from her pages.




Even better is seeing how these journals translate into some of the products that she sells on Etsy…. I just love these little papier mache enchanted forest creatures.

Enchanted forest paper mache collection

On with the colourful journalling………..

Posted by on August 20, 2012 in Art, Colour, Style File, Things I love, Trends


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7 responses to “Secret Leaves – The Journey of the Journal

  1. This Sydney Life

    August 20, 2012 at 8:17 am

    What an awesome find, BCD. I will definitely be spending some time on the 1000 Journals site – brilliant idea. I also recognise the ISCD work, my friend. Where you chose lemons, I chose corn… 🙂

    • birdcagedesign

      August 20, 2012 at 9:21 am

      Aha.. yes the ISCD natural object study…. wait til the rug designs and christmas cards come out! 😉

  2. twoblackdoggies

    August 21, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    I don’t use a journal, but love buying them because some are too beautiful/funky/cute to resist so will definitely be checking out the 1001 Journals site

    • birdcagedesign

      August 21, 2012 at 4:19 pm

      I have hundreds of the things too for the same reason and sadly they end up getting used for todo lists and shopping lists :-(. Hopefully you will enjoy the 1001 Journal site, but be warned you can loose hours on the site!!! 🙂

  3. narhvalur

    August 21, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    This is so wonderful and creative! A feast……

    • birdcagedesign

      August 21, 2012 at 4:53 pm

      It is… I would quite happily frame a few of those journals…makes me feel a little better about doodling!! 🙂

  4. elisaruland

    August 31, 2013 at 12:31 am

    If I could have a life “do over,” keeping a journal would be one of the first things on my list. Mine would not be as charming as your featured journals, however! You have a knack for finding the cute and the inspiring.


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