I’ve had an on again, off again kind of relationship with my sketchbooks over the years. I’ve always loved drawing but my sketchbooks were at best sporadic, even in college when a sketchbook was required.
I always enjoy looking at the sketchbooks of other artists but for me it always came back to ‘should’, eventually I came to wonder why? I want to keep sketchbooks. What’s stopping me? And what am I going to do about it?
First, I made a list of all my usual excuses, then tallied each with a mitigating strategy:
- I never have my sketchbook when I need it – this one is easy; I’ll keep it in my car/bag along with a tin of pencils.
- I draw big (typically 600 x 800mm) – I’d like to explore different scales, a sketchbook would be a great place to start.
- What if I make a mistake, it will ruin the whole sketchbook – not everything is, or can be perfect. Learning is more important to me. If it’s that terrible I’ll gesso over it and draw on top.
- But everything ends up in the wrong place and all mixed up – well, sometimes that’s a good thing and where this really upsets my innate sense of order (if you’ve seen my desk don’t laugh), I can just keep a separate sketchbook.
- I don’t like drawing on white paper – so, get coloured paper sketchbooks.
I also wanted a place where I could pursue specific things, like tonal control and simplifying my drawings, and keep track of my progress.
So far it is working. I’m drawing more, enjoying it more and learning more. Every time I have made a significant change in my drawing approach or process I have learnt something new and my latest sketchbook approach is no exception.