At Gather.ly we’ve recently found ourselves fascinated by art journals - as artefacts in themselves, and for the beautiful journeys through the minds of artists that they detail. We also love the way they can be incredible vessels for the experimental, the nonsensical, the emotional, the in-progress and the fun, and that they can take inspiration from any combination of areas or themes.

So for this very reason, we gave talented fashion illustrator Josh Bristow a journal (handmade by fellow Gather.ly friend Joe Earley no less), and let him decide what adventure to take us on. The journal was his for a whole week and he was to fill it any way he desired, using any materials and inspiration along the way.

A drawing is simply a line going for a walk. - Paul Klee

Words by | Josh Bristow

I was excited to work with Gather.ly as I had been admiring their creative stance and often checking out their site and Instagram for a while. Luckily I was given the opportunity to work with them recently and use a fantastic handmade sketchbook by Joe Earley.

I really enjoyed working on this brief, it was a bit of a shock at first, as I am so use to drawing on such a big scale. I get quite expressive and angry with my materials and really put the paper through hell with big brushstrokes and quick aggressive movements, so it was a challenge to work on a smaller composition, but I actually enjoyed it as it made me consider the size and proportion of how I was going to be challenged to complete the illustration.

I also actually enjoyed the difficulty of the materials I worked with.
I'm used to drawing on single sheets of paper and never have to worry about an image on a following page. The trouble was with the media I mainly use - Promarkers, and these fantastic pens are capable of bleeding through the paper stock. Sometimes this looked pretty cool and I was happy with it, but sometimes it didn't...

BUT this made me consider using other media and I managed to combine the bleeding with indian inks and acrylics.

I really like using the acrylics and adding such layer and depth to a drawing, it created a texture which added to the aesthetic of the image too. I pretty much just sketched anything which popped in my head, it was mostly fashion really as I guess I am more of a fashion illustrator than anything else.

Thanks for a great project Gather.ly! Looking forward to more!

I pretty much just kept the little book on me all week and had a little draw whenever I felt like it, on the train, at work, on lunch etc, and then would work up the drawings in detail later when I had the time.

We want to say a massive thanks to Josh for being the first to take us on this sketchbook journey and for sharing with us so beautifully his thought process and style. We can't wait to see more from him in the future and now we're feeling suitably inspired to hand out the next challenge. If you'd like to take on a creative challenge with us, let us know.

Big thanks also go out to our buddy Joe Earley. His handmade books are pretty much the perfect place for jotting down memories, doodles and secrets, and we're big admirers of his fine craftsmanship. If you want to get your hands on your very own Joe Earley Journal, get in touch with the man himself.