Hi there!

I'm Eni Oken, artist and author of hundreds of articles, tutorials and books in print and online. For over 30 years I've explored art, color theory, fantasy and ornamental design.

Certified Zentangle® Teacher

Certified Zentangle® Teacher

To sketch or not to sketch?

I received the following question via email:
"I’ve never sketched my ideas but I’m increasingly finding out that the more successful jewellery designers do indeed keep a journal of their ideas and thoughts, including you. To sketch or not to sketch, that is the question :)"

My answer
The whole point of sketching, in my case, is that the journal works as a "pensieve" (for those who are not Harry Potter fans, read below). It serves as a place to dump ideas and designs. Normally I go about the day and see inspiring things all over the place. I find myself constantly having new ideas, new "what ifs" and it would be a waste if I didn't register them.
Then when those dry spells hit and the muse refuses to work overtime (because we all have those!!!), I know that I have that enormous cache of designs and ideas just waiting to be developed.

The Pensieve: The Pensieve is described by Wikipedia as “a stone receptacle in which to store memories. Covered in mystic runes, it contains a type of matter that is described as neither liquid nor gas. A witch or wizard can extract their own memories or someone else's and store them in the Pensieve and review them later. It also relieves the mind when it becomes cluttered with information. Anyone can examine the memories in the Pensieve, which also allows viewers to fully immerse themselves in the memories stored within, much like a magical form of virtual reality."

The Pensieve is one of the many magical objects found in the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling and is one of my favorite objects because it allows to “empty the mind when excessively cluttered with information”. I became acquainted with Harry Potter books almost by accident, when I was asked to review them for some design work proposals back in 1999, and have become an avid reader ever since.

I’ve owned this type of Pensieve journal (also called a "creative journal") for many years, even before reading about the object. Instead of liquid or gas matter, it has pages. Instead of mystic runes, it has a hard cover embroidered with beads. Now in its 10th book, each one lasting about a year and a half, the Pensieve has been particularly interesting when I’ve needed to evaluate growth or change experienced during a certain span of time. I only use hard cover books with pages which cannot be ripped off and write with a permanent pen – no possibility of regret – once the thought is in the Pensieve, it’s registered forever and can be examined at any time later.

I cannot stress enough the value I place on my set of creative journals. These are so valuable to me that they are probably the second thing I would grab on my way out in case of a disaster -- the first one being my son!

YOJ 2007 Week 38 - Roman Ring

Green Abalone Pendant