The One Habit Of History's Most Legendary Artists

Ev Chapman
August 4, 2021

Since I can remember I've been obsessed with notebooks

I remember reading a biography of Leonardo Da Vinci by Charles Nicholl and was captivated by his notebook habit. Da Vinci was a renaissance man, curious about so many things, and used his notebooks to store and discover all that wonder.

And throughout history, great authors and artists, and creators have done the same.

And if I'm honest, I resonate more with Leonardo's notebook habit than I do with journalling as we know it today. I mean I get the virtues of journaling, I'm just not that virtuous.

I'm more of a rebel creative type, looking for things that are good for my soul. I want to capture the beauty and inspiration that is all around me. To have a place to record those 'almost thoughts' that are not yet fully formed but I know mean something, the fleeting words that seem important but I'm not sure where they fit yet and leave a little breadcrumb trail for my brain.

Joan Didion describes it as    "...something private, about bits of the mind's string too short to use, an indiscriminate and erratic assemblage with meaning only for its maker.”

That is the kind of notebook I'm interested in keeping. Austin Kleon describes it as 'building your own world' by surrounding yourself with things you love.

So I'm reigniting my notebook habit as a way to take notice and remember...

  • To cultivate curiosity
  • To document the ordinary & extraordinary
  • To surround myself with beauty & inspiration
  • To spark creativity
  • To collect things that speak to my soul
  • To fuel my imagination
  • To build my own world

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