A Covid Sketch Journal


Artist Statement

I started a sketchbook journal in early March 2020 near the start of the Covid19 pandemic. My initial aim was to record with sketches anything different that I saw while going about my daily life. On-location sketching, however, proved difficult due to Covid restrictions so I had to resort to working mostly with sketches done from personal photographs (and a few from news media). 


Although I have been an Urban Sketcher since 2012 and have kept sketchbook journals of one sort or another for many years I had never done anything quite like this. It was a steep learning curve – experimenting with different page layouts and differing writing styles to arrive at a consistent look that I liked. 


At one point, keeping up with rapidly changing news, being accurate with recording the news in the journal, and keeping up with sketches, became somewhat overwhelming and I was tempted to abandon my project. However, persistence paid off and later in the journal I arrived at a sustainable approach and a consistent page style. Unexpectedly "thinking less" and just "doing more" was the secret. What kept me going was wanting to have something to leave for my family as a personal record of this unique time.


As it happened, I had worked my way to the end of the sketchbook, just at the time when Melbourne emerged from its strictest and longest Stage 4 Lockdown. 


From sharing a few pages of the journal on the State Library of Victoria's Collective Isolation Project Facebook page, my work came to the attention of that institution. The State Library of Victoria is Victoria's major public reference and research library and it is responsible for collecting and preserving Victoria's documentary heritage. I was pleasantly surprised to receive an invitation from the institution to donate the original Covid Journal, which is now held in the Victoria Collection administered by the State Library of Victoria.


Parting with the journal was not easy but I felt it was the right thing to do. It is an honour for me to pass it on to the State Library of Victoria for safekeeping.


Here are some of my favourite pages from the 80 page journal.


Click on the images for a full size view and caption.