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October 2000
Postcard Diaries

When it comes to drawing or any other artistic endeavor, I like to think small. A huge, blank sheet of paper overwhelms me. Somehow I think that the bigger the sheet of paper is, the better my drawing has to be. One way to get around this type of size-does-matter anxiety is to use watercolor postcards. You should be able to find these in any art supply or craft supply store. They are usually (but not necessarily) located near the calligraphy supplies. The kind that I use are Strathmore Imperial Watercolor postcards. The 140lb cold press paper, and the portable 4x6 inch size makes these little gems the perfect medium for an alternative diary.

When you're on the go, take with you a few postcards and some watercolor pencils. That way, whenever you have a few minutes, you can do quick sketches of the world around you. Add a description of the sketch, or just your thoughts at the time, to either the front or the back of the postcard. Remember to record the date. Since you may do several of these in a day, you may also want to record the time on your postcard. That way, you can always go back later and put them in chronological order.

Both of the following postcards were done in a two-step process. Initially, I sketched a rough outline using only the watercolor pencils; then, wrote my comments. When I got home, I went over the sketches with a wet brush and also added some depth with regular colored pencils.

Three Graces thumbnail

Lunch thumbnail

There are several options for storing your postcards. You can put them into your regular journal by using self-adhesive plastic sleeves. That way, you can slip them out whenever you want. Another idea is to punch a hole at the top and bind all of the cards together with ribbon or cord. Alternatively, you could store them in a recipe box that you've decorated yourself.

Watercolor postcards also make good travel diaries. Paint your picture on the front and a summary of your day on the back. Or, do smaller sketches and shorter comments on the front and then mail the postcards to yourself at home. That way, your travel memories will be postmarked from your vacation spot.

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