There is something special about the ability of an illustrated journal to capture the details of our days and these are strange days indeed that need recording. If you make notes in your visual diary now, you will have an account of what this time was like: isolating or working on the front lines; keeping your kids home or keeping connected virtually while you are on your own; what you are watching or reading; privations, resourceful ideas, what you are doing to cope, how you have adjusted your day to day. Anything. Seriously – anything.

(Click on any photo for a larger view.)

My experience in teaching journal keeping tells me that some of you are already off and running while others are overwhelmed by the idea of beginning. If this is you here is what you need to know: you can and should do this, and here are some hacks to get you started, no excuses.

(To read more about what an illustrated journal is go to this earlier post.)

  • Use what materials you have on hand. This is not the time to go out buy art supplies so use printer paper or a school notebook, a pencil or ballpoint pen, crayons – whatever you have is good enough to begin with. The important thing is that you begin.
  • Not comfortable or confident with drawing? Write a list and add some doodles or borders. Glue in pictures from a magazine and write around them. If you have a home printer, take photos and give them detailed captions.
  • You may want to keep a separate diary for scary or angry stuff. Or not – maybe you want to specifically work with these emotions – but if you are not sure you can share them then write them down somewhere else.

Finally, here is a short list of prompts that I am using in my own illustrated journal this week:

  • Bottle of hand sanitiser
  • Toothbrush (which some days I have to remind myself to use!)
  • A roll of toilet paper (don’t tell me you can’t draw a roll of toilet paper and write about it because you can)
  • A red blob of Covid 19 virus
  • My favourite pair of socks that I wear as a treat
  • A map of my flat and notes about what is going on in different rooms
  • A quote that speaks to you. Or a song lyric.

If you have other suggestions, please share them in the comments. Now get out there and make some pages.