Writers often keep clipbooks or files where they can tuck away ideas for future stories — little scraps of dialogue they’ve overheard, notes about moods or emotions they’ve felt at different places, little thoughts about characters or those great what if questions that can form the basis of an intriguing plot.
I really never thought about keeping an art clipbook though until I recently saw one. One of the women who belongs to our local HFAA art club showed me her idea book, and I was hooked.
Her book was a lot like a photo album with notes — not exactly an art journal, but a place where she had put reference ideas, such as photographs she’s taken or ones she’s clipped from magazines. I recognized many of her clippings from Missouri Conservationist, a magazine that features recreational areas throughout the state. She adds notes to the entries, makes thumbnail sketches, and uses different landscape features to put together her own compositions.
“I liked this tree,” she explained, pointing to an old sycamore in a photo, “and I thought it would be a good addition to this scene,” she continued, pointing to another picture.
Landscape artists are encouraged to work with composing elements in a pleasing manner, not merely copying what we see. Having a clip book to keep ideas together sounds like wondrous fun to me. And I happen to have a lot of old magazines sitting around, including many issues of the conservation magazine.
I think it’s time to start clipping ideas!