Sketchbook Journaling

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.

Sketchbook drawing by 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. ☺

Background Noise Or Silence?

I haven’t come up with anything specific to draw for my next piece just yet, so I’ve been spending some time just messing around in my sketchbook. This little sketch came together as I was watching this movie called “Apostle”, which isn’t the kind of movie that would inspire thoughts of flowers and birds but hey, I’m not complaining, I’m just happy to have a halfway decent idea come together. But I’ve recently noticed that I’m watching more movies and tv shows now when I draw rather than listening to music which is an interesting shift for me. For me music was always my gateway to the imagination but it is also how I always end up spending more time daydreaming rather than drawing. Movies don’t seem to do that to me. As I’m drawing I may look up and watch a couple of scenes here and there but for the most part it just serves as background noise for me. Sometimes I prefer silence but lately I like to have something going on in the background, even if it’s just the hum of a fan.
When you’re in an artistic mood and feel like creating, what do you like to have going on in the background or do you just prefer silence? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. 😊

Don’t Make Me Go Out There

Something a little cute from my sketchbook. The look in this little creatures eyes reminds of the time when I moved to a new neighborhood, watching other kids playing from my window, wanting to go outside but was a bit shy. Inside I felt torn, one side wanting to make new friends, the other wanting to crawl back under my blankets and daydream. Luckily the following weekend I finally got the nerve and made some new friends but ’til this day a part of my still begs “Please, don’t make me go out there.”

Bunny Sketches

Some quick bunny sketches. I’m still grappling with my apprehension but I’m feeling much better about rabbits now. Thank you Val for suggesting that I take a look at baby rabbits. They’re so much more adorable and less creepy looking to me. With that said bunnies seem to be a good subject for the first day of Spring. 😊

New Habit Old Resolution

“You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” ~ Unknown

I’m at it again, trying to get into the habit of keeping up with a sketchbook. If you’ve read previous posts before then you’ll know that I’m horrible at this. I have over a dozen half or quarter finished sketchbooks filled with nothing but scribbles…yes, literally scribbles. Not sketches, not doodles but scribbles of indecipherable ideas that amounted to nothing, most of which look like a child had a temper tantrum with a pencil. (Truthfully, most of them are actual temper tantrums.) I have fits in my sketchbook when I can’t get an idea from my imagination out onto paper. People assume that drawing is this calm and relaxing activity that always brings peace and joy. IT’S NOT! It’s painful and excruciating when you have an image in your head that you want to draw but all you can get out is scribbles of circles. So I often just avoid the whole thing altogether. I find it exhausting.

But I’m at it again. I stumbled across the quote above and thought about how I often come across the saying that if you want to get better as an artist you must draw everyday. Confession: I don’t draw everyday. With pointillism, I draw out my image and from there I’m actually inking for two, three, eight, 14 days on one piece depending on the size. So I spend way more time inking than actually drawing. You would think that the inking was the most difficult part with the time consumption and tediousness but for me it’s actually laying out the drawing. I’ll probably have to dig into my own psyche to figure out why it exasperates me so but at the moment all I know is that it does, despite the fact that I really do have a love for lineart. Because of that love I want to get better at it. So I’ve set myself on this journey of cultivating the habit of doing at least one decent line drawing a day, Monday thru Friday, totaling five drawings a week with Saturday and Sunday as make up days if I miss one. As of this week, so far, I’ve gotten three done. They’re not spectacular but as they say practice makes perfect. 😊