It’s a chilly Saturday morning and I’m taking some time to sit down and do some sketch journaling. For an artist, a sketchbook is an invaluable asset but I can’t say that I use mine often. For the most part, the majority of my sketchbooks are filled with poorly drawn doodles from my random attempts at trying to keep a sketch journal but I really want to make a change with that in the upcoming New Year.
Another wonderful asset has been YouTube. There are a number of how-to videos on drawing by very good artists that can help to flesh out your ideas on how to draw certain subject matter especially when you don’t have access to the actual subject or reference images to draw from and you have to rely on drawing from your imagination.
As I’ve been drawing this morning it occurred to me that keeping a sketch journal would be a really good way for me to keep visual notes, artistic tips and pointers as well as quotes I find inspirational as an artist. So far I’ve been keeping all those things separately. I have a board on Pinterest for my inspirational quotes, a section on Google Keep for artistic tips, pointers and ideas and my sketchbooks strictly for drawing and sketching. For some reason I’ve developed this strange belief that I shouldn’t write in my sketchbooks. I think this belief has developed due to the fact that whenever I see the inside of other artist’s sketchbooks, I see these polished, pristine works of art in them, like this piece just posted on Twitter, by one of my favorite artist, Philip Harris.
Oddly I’ve come to develop this anxiety now when I approach my own sketchbook. I get this nagging feeling that if someone were to open it they should flip the pages and discover a collection of masterpieces, not random notes, scribbles, aimless doodles, poorly drawn ideas, unfinished sketches and experiments gone wrong. The sketchbook doesn’t feel so much as a place for working out ideas but rather for the finished piece. This might be why I don’t use my sketchbook that much. If I’m gonna be doing a finished piece I might as well go straight to my drawing board. But as I said earlier, I’m hoping to change that. Ultimately I can do whatever I want within my sketchbook. Sometimes I find it’s best not to pay too much attention to what other artists and the culture around art is doing in order to keep myself at peace.
On that note, do you keep a sketchbook and if so what do you use it for? Do you feel compelled to create finished works in your sketchbook or do you feel open to just doodle and experiment? Share your thoughts in the comments. ☺