Its been about a decade now that I have been maintaining visual journals as a regular practice. Basically a journal with some sketches, doodles and notes observing the occurrences around me and the feelings within me. Bulk of these years I’ve religiously scanned and put across in a tumblr page. These are some of the benefits I gather from maintaining the practice.
Seeing Clearly: Our mind is used to relegating large amount of details to the background and creating only a minimal picture in our heads of the things we see in our day to day life. Drawing objects around allows you to discover more deeply the subject and allows for discoveries hidden in plain sight.
Documenting our life: Journal entries might feel uneventful while they are written but are deeply fruitful to look back on years down the line. I have captured people in my journals who have left their earthly abodes, objects that are lost not just physically but to the mind over the years, written thoughts that are sometimes seeds of the person I’ve become, written occurrences that seem incredulous now to have happened to the current version of me. Times change, people change, you yourself are no more the person you once were and through it all the journal is a documentation of your life and a reminder of what you saw and how you thought.
Feeling Deeply: Journaling not only allows you to see but also feel more clearly. I make it a point to write not just what I see visibly but also what I feel about the situations around me and sometimes explicitly within me. The combination of word and image is an incredible tool to go deeper within yourself. There are many feelings documented in my journal that would have fleeted right by me with little notice had I not written or drawn them down. Feeling deeply is living deeply.
Organizing our thoughts: The more we are bombarded by information in this hyper connected age the more thoughts we have wandering around in our head. Journaling is a good medium to structure the thoughts that are moving around in your head and thus be able to process it. Language, be it writing or drawing, allows you to structure thoughts and structured thoughts can then be classified as important or unimportant to the endeavors we have in life.
Finally, we don't have to be good at drawing or know how to draw, we don't need to be proper at our grammar. In the end what matters is we see more clearly, feel more deeply and think more optimally. It matters that we have the ability to look at the moments of our lives we spend someday into the future.