IF: Diary

What is a diary? According to Gwendolen, it is . . .
I never travel without my diary. 
One should always have something sensational to read in the train.
--Gwendolen, from The Importance of Being Earnest

I started on my thumbnail sketch and was suddenly reminded of this painting by Jean-Honore Fragonard. So, I looked up the image and somewhat modeled my painting's composition and color scheme after "The Reader." I used my trusty faber-castell pens because I was too lazy to get out my dip pen. :) After I painted it, I scanned it in and added a few highlights in Painter--I have a terrible time keeping highlights in watercolors.

When I saw this week's word at Illustration Friday, several diary-related quotes (besides the one I decided to illustrate) instantly came to mind:
It reminds me of the journal I opened with the New Year, once, when I was a boy and a confiding and a willing prey to those impossible schemes of reform which well-meaning old maids and grandmothers set for the feet of unwary youths at that season of the year--setting oversized tasks for them, which, necessarily failing, as infallibly weaken the boy's strength
of will, diminish his confidence in himself and injure his chances of success in life.
--Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad
Not keep a journal! How are your absent cousins to understand the tenour of your life in Bath without one? How are the civilities and compliments of every day to be related as they ought to be, unless noted down every evening in a journal? How are your various dresses to be remembered, and the particular state of your complexion, and curl of your hair to be described in all their diversities, without having constant recourse to a journal?
--Henry Tilney, from Northanger Abbey
[She] wrote in the diary which, with that magnificent freedom from human weakness that marked every aspect of her live, she kept all the year round instead of only during the first week of January.
 --P.G. Wodehouse, The Coming of Bill
 Personally, I am full of human weakness and my attempts to keep a diary are always dismal failures. But take heart! We have this bit of wisdom from Oscar Wilde's Miss Prism (and as someone who has written a three-volume novel, is she not a trustworthy authority?)
Memory, my dear Cecily, is the diary that we all carry about with us.



  1. Beautiful! I love the quote you chose for inspiration.

  2. this is wonderful; I just watched that movie again the other day :)

  3. Wow, this is fantastic! I really love this illustration - you've captured such a great period piece and those details make it sing. I hear you re: highlights in watercolor!!! : )

  4. Amazing work! The color, the lines, texture! Great style!

  5. Thank you all! That play is just full of quotable quotes. Karen, I got to see it at the Guthrie in the Twin Cities last fall--so much fun! Shirley, I'm trying to decide if I just don't *think* right about highlights (or at least I don't think about them soon enough!) or if I should just get into using masking fluid...hmmm....

  6. Great post! So entertaining and a wonderful illustration! love how you did the clothing! Fabulous!

  7. OmGosh, what a brilliant concept and piece of work. I have a small print of the original, one of only three art prints I have ever had. I love the way you take a classic and make it yours.


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