This book gives any journal keeper or wanna be journal keeper some great ideas to help inspire you or figure out exactly what you want to do with your sketchbook journals. The book includes suggestions for travel journaling, daily journaling, nature journaling, spiritual etc and not just samples of what others have done, but questions for the reader to explore and think about to help develop individual journaling that means something to you. I especially love the "Try This" exercises the author included in each chapter such as "describe your day," "abstract the scene," "travel-record the details," "sketch family mementos," "map family moves" and lots of other fun ideas to explore.
While showing some useful, beautiful and inspirational examples of ways other experienced and talented artists have kept journals, Ms. Johnson's book expands on the examples and gives tips for developing content as well as some guidance on materials that are easy to use and portable. She presents things very simply for beginners, in a completely non-intimidating way. However, those who have some art experience will appreciate the fact that she didn't over do the "how to paint with watercolors" section, but rather includes a discussion on how to use a variety of materials that work together and are easy just to throw in your purse or art bag. I haven't ever used colored pencils or acrylics because they seem too complicated of a medium to work properly for me, but after reading her suggestions I may experiment with some of these other mediums for fun in small sketches in my journal.
Ms. Johnson's book is easy for anyone at any level to use, skim it for ideas or read it cover to cover. It's a beautiful book and one that is clearly going to be a new classic on the topic of sketchbook journaling. Others I highly recommend are any of the Danny Gregory books, Everyday Matters, The Creative License, and An Illustrated Life; The Decorated Journal by Gwen Diehn; Keeping a Nature Journal by Clare Walker Leslie and Charles Roth. Also recommend DVD Beginning Watercolor Journaling by Gay Kraeger and Christina Lopp. Drawing from Life, the Journal as Art by Jennifer New has some interesting examples of how a variety of journal keepers approach and keep a journal. Highly recommend the Urbansketchers website and blog, [...] for excellent examples of art journaling from all corners of the world. Cathy Johnson is one of my favorite contributors to that website.