When I started my blog, JanasJournal.com in 2006, it was an illustrated daily journal where I shared my world and my creative journeys through many different media. Now I’ve returned to my journaling roots and I’ve found inspiration from a surprising source: the daily Wordle puzzle, which I solve and then illustrate each day.
While my journeys may have become more interior thanks to the pandemic, illustrating where my imagination and dreams take me keeps me entertained. But I’m also including sketches from places I go in real life, like Point Isabel above, a huge park along the SF Bay where dogs can run free, roll in the grass, splash in mud puddles and rinse off in the bay.
I’m using a page-a-day Hobonichi “Cousin” journal with weird, very thin, lightly-gridded paper along with fountain pens, drawing pens, watercolors and Tombow markers.
I will share more about the materials as I get the backlog of 3 months of journaling, dreams, Wordles and pictures posted.
I used to start my mornings by drawing images from my dreams but got out of the habit some years back. I got inspired to start again after seeing Nina Johansson’s project of drawing from imagination daily in a Moleskine daily planner. Her strangely beautiful pages are skillfully drawn scenes from a vivid imagination. I loved her idea of using a dated journal so I bought up a pocket-sized yellow Moleskine planner and started drawing my dreams again every morning.
I was pretty rusty at first, but with each drawing I’m feeling more confident about mostly drawing without references or props, and without worrying about accuracy. I’m using a variety of pens including Pitt Artist Brush Pens and their new PITT Artist Pen – White pen that works really well. I’m throwing out all the other yucky white markers I tried before.
The paper in the journal is thin so there is a little show-through from previous pages but the Pitt pens are great at not bleeding.
Sometimes if there are no visuals from the previous night’s dreams or I wake with a migraine, I draw what I’m feeling or something else related to life, like the two above, the migraine image on left and the reminder to eat on time (to help prevent stupid migraines).
Odd, the food items that appear in my dreams, mostly stuff I don’t eat.
From time to time I’ll post my favorite dream sketches here, but if you’d like to see them as I draw them, visit Drawing My Dreams Daily on Tumbler or my Instagram page, which I’m using to keep daily posting simple (no computer, just iPhone shots of the sketch).
I had a dream last night about a new cereal called “PLINK” that was designed to be eaten at your desk. I think the name of the cereal comes from the sound the computer makes when a new email message arrives.
This morning when I prepared to do the dishes waiting for me in the sink (OK, not just my breakfast dishes but about three days worth) I discovered it was completely clogged and wouldn’t drain. I poured a teakettle full of boiling water down the drain, thinking that might help, but all it did was fill the sink even more. I left the dishes piled in the mucky water and went to work.
When I came home I asked my neighbor who knows everything about working on houses, what I should do. He came over with a plunger and spent 15 minutes trying that approach. But instead of emptying the sink, the plunger added what looked and smelled like rusty mud to the water. In a way it was an improvement over the left-over cauliflower scent from last night’s dinner.
After spattering muddy water everywhere he gave up and promised to bring over a drain snake tomorrow night. I tried to look on the bright side: since I couldn’t wash dishes or vegetables, I had a perfect excuse to neither cook nor do dishes.
I had a bowl of cereal for dinner. Not PLINK though, just Cheerios.
I dreamed that I was at an office party where dancing was to be done nude. I was having fun, and surprised that I wasn\’t the most embarassed person there. There was a woman who was so self conscious she\’d wrapped herself in a gauzy fabric trying to (unsuccessfully) hide beneath it. The dream was fun but it was even more fun to draw it and just see who appeared beneath my pencil.
I usually like to draw directly in ink but I wasn\’t sure where I was going with this one so started with pencil and then inked over it.
Oh…I guess I should also mention that while my office does have nice parties, dancing nude has never been an option at any of them and, I\’m quite certain, never will be.
Do you dream in full color? I dreamt I spotted the most beautiful woodpecker, and in my dream I noted that it was in gorgeous golds, ochres and siennas. The woodpecker, aside from it’s unique coloroing, looked just like the California Stellar Jays I see in my neighborhood, complete with peanut in mouth and nothing like a woodpecker. (Not that I’ve ever seen a woodpecker, although I have heard them).
Then I spotted another beautiful bird with, as I noted in the dream, a lime-colored Mohawk. Actually, in the dream I think I called it a “faux-hawk” because there’s something about the way”faux-hawk” sounds that pleases me. This bird made horrible Peacock noises.
The next dream carried on with the odd colored top-knot theme. The long, black, silky, beautiful, Latina hair of the girl next door had been bleached white and then died mint green so she’d look more like the Disney mermaid princesses she seems to like so much.
These were all done with gouache in the large Moleskine watercolor notebook.
Ink and watercolor in 5.5″ square dream sketchbook (Larger)
I love my flying dreams. In this one I was flying over the ocean and saw some whales frolicking below. I flew down and was playing with them when one bit my arm hard. I knew he meant no harm though, so once he let my arm go, I stayed and played with them some more.
The next dream wasn’t as much fun. I went into San Francisco to visit my boss (unbeknownst to her), planning to phone when I got there. But my cell phone had no reception and then I dropped it and it fell apart right over a sewer grate. I finally retrieved all the pieces and then a block away, drop it again over another sewer grate.
Then I realize I’ve forgotten my shoes and am barefoot and it’s dark and cold and I’m in a bad neighborhood. But I remember I love to run barefoot in the dark (huh?!!!) . So I run up and down the hills of San Francisco, trying to find my way to downtown Hollywood where I can catch a bus home. It goes on and on, but the rest of the story is likely to amuse only me so I’ll stop there.
I woke up with the idea that I needed to replace my cellphone and then wasted the morning researching the latest phones until I remembered that my phone hadn’t really fallen and broken and does still get reception and that I had no excuse for considering buying an iPhone, no matter how cute they are.
I did these dream drawings right after I woke up, sitting in bed with a special SAD light (see previous post) propped up on my lap, shining on my face. My friend loaned me her spare light to see if it helped. I’m not sure if it was the lights, the sunny day, the hour at the gym and walk in the sun afterwards, but I’ve definitely been in a much better mood today than I’ve been in weeks.
Last night’s dreams were quite strange. The one illustrated above was about a dinner party with a film crew, including the director (at the head of the table) and two Amazonian Indian women who had just participated in a ritual that the crew filmed for a documentary.
One woman was displaying the scratches/lashes on her back she proudly received during the ritual. The other was mostly just displaying her boobs.
In this dream I invited Martha over for a little slumber party (huh?) and then remembered that I needed to vacuum because there was cat hair everywhere. I was still cleaning when she arrived so she hung out downstairs helping my mom plan some wonderful menus involving roasted pork. (I have no upstairs, my mom doesn’t live here, and she doesn’t cook, especially not pork.)
I still hadn’t finished vacuuming but realized there was laundry everywhere and so started piling it up on the spare bed to get it out of the way. Finally we said goodnight and Martha went right to sleep. I didn’t.
This dream happened right after Kate and I talked about meeting in person the next time she comes out to San Francisco (Kate turned into Martha in my dream). Having guests always seems to bring up those darn insecurities about not having a fancy home and other general unworthiness (that I can usually overcome with a little pep talk to myself).
In reality, my house is usually tidy, organized and there are no piles of laundry. There is the cat fur problem though, which I tend to ignore longer than I should…but I just warn people not to wear black to my house since it’s a cat-fur magnet.