Daily Food Doodles and Visual Journaling

Lately I have been interested in and inspired by different types of visual journaling and record keeping. This interest aligns, I think, with my desire to start and keep an illustrated travel journal this year, and my secret ambition to start a daily life comic as well.

In January I kept a doodle journal of *almost* all the things I ate during the month in an effort to practice daily drawing and explore different types of lettering. I have long admired hand lettering on Instagram, but have yet to actually try or study it. I guess this journal was my informal exploration of the genre–I copied interesting brand lettering from food packaging and intentionally tried different kinds of block and cursive letters. And in the end I think I did broaden my block lettering styles a bit.

January’s doodle experiment was largely inspired by Kate Bingaman-Burt’s Daily Purchase Drawings. For YEARS this artist has drawn something’s she’s purchased every day– and the compilation is just goals! I loved her drawing style, the simple lines and her handwriting.

Another inspiration for visual and travel journaling in general is Rebecca Green. Her blog post on visual journaling is such a great resource for artists, and her example pages are so beautiful! I know she is a role model for a lot of illustrators, and you can see why!

You’ll note these two artists both stuck to black pen, which according to Rebecca, is intentional to cut out any decision making about colors. That is a really good tip which I implemented this month. Keeping a daily habit is hard, period. Best to make it as easy as possible and not try for too much.

I learned this the hard way last September, during my first attempt at a daily food journal, in full color with mixed media!! I was aiming for 100 days and I didn’t get much past these spreads shown here.

Older and wiser, this time around I stuck to black or a single color pen. I also let myself simplify the drawings when feeling burnt out, and allowed myself to just write out some of the foods if they were too hard to draw. (Indian food buffet–how do you draw five different types of curry with no color?)

I’ve shared some more photos of these food doodles on my Instagram

And finally, the pièce de résistance, a stop motion flip through of the whole month. I found this song “Urban Teenager” on the editing app that came with my phone. The fact the beat happened to align with the stop motion (after I had compiled it) gives me life. I hope you can view it with the sound on. Better yet, I hope you join me in a one minute dance party as we watch. Stop motion dance party starts at 0:40 min. (I’m quite serious, I’ve been bopping to this song for hours now as I edited. Join me!)

(Stop motion dance party starts at 0:40 min)

Do you keep any kind of visual journal or records? Please let me know if you do, or share favorite illustrators or resources that are in this same vein!


  1. Starting in mid-Dec 2019, I recorded what I ate for an entire month. What started off as enthusiasm definitely got old by the end. Esp since we travelled and I had to keep track of what we ate ‘on the road’ so to speak. I think the problem was just getting out of my routine, and once you do that, it’s a slog getting back to it.

    So I can only imagine what it must have been like to draw what you ate!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I guess when we went vegan it seemed like the thing to do. I’m not sure why, really. But I’m glad I powered through it. Everyone should at one point or another take a look at what they eat.

        Liked by 1 person

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