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. ☺

Bits Of Nature In My Pocket

I’m always bringing home little things that can fit in my pocket from my nature walks. Although snow has come early to my neck of the woods, I have a shelf that’s littered with pine cones, acorns, rocks, sea shells, feathers and what nots. So today I felt like getting a little sketching practice in with something I could touch and feel, instead of using references images, so I picked out one acorn from my little nature collection. I wish I could do this with little animals but I sure the animals and my better half wouldn’t be too happy with me turning our home into a miniature wild kingdom. My hubby tends to shake his head but smile at me lovingly when I come in from being outside and dump out the contents of my pockets on the kitchen table. This makes me wonder, is this typical behavior of most nature artists?

This little doodle wasn’t only some practice in sketching something in person but also practice in sketching with a ballpoint pen, or as my fellow artists in the UK say, biro, which honestly, I prefer because it just takes less breath to say. So I hope nobody minds that I’m stealing this word. The wonderful thing about sketching in biro is that it forces me to let go of my perfectionism. There’s no erasing or covering up or even working things out in pencil first, so whatever marks I make, I have to live with them. It’s a bit freeing and since I was working with a simple shape it wasn’t particularly taxing to hatch out. I initially just did a biro sketch but then I looked at my pen jars and noticed I have a few brush pens that I keep forgetting about. So I put them to use and added some color to the sketch. I can’t say I’m particularly fond of the color but it does have a festive feel to it that’s suitable for the season.

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. 😊

Thinking Of Doves

If you’ve been with me for a while, then you’re aware that things with wings, particularly birds, are one of my favorite subjects to draw. Lately I’ve been tossing around the idea of doing something with doves, so last night I got to sketching out some thoughts for my next piece. I’m just in the preliminary stages of this so nothing is final. This piece will be a bit larger than my art card drawings, probably about 5×7, so I’ll be working on it for a while. But I’m excited and looking forward to inking it, although, I wish there was a way I could just take the image from my mind and just place it on the paper. Trying to get something from my mind, to my hand, to the pen and on to paper can feel rather laborious at times.

And Life Happens

A bit of wind has been taken out of my sails for the moment. After finishing “Bloom”, I was ready to dive right into another carving but just recently I was informed by family that my 95 year old grandma won’t be with us much longer. Her heart is failing and the only thing that can be done is keep her comfortable, in other words, she’s on a steady dose of morphine. I spoke to her and she was rather chipper but I suspect that was just the morphine talking. Life feels like it’s on pause right now. I have been bracing for this moment for some time but I see you can never really be prepared for something like this. We’re all just waiting now.
My thoughts haven’t been much on designing and carving. After four days of just puttering around the house and staring at the walls, I’ve been able to squeeze out a few sketches, evidence that I’m starting to feel a little better but not enough to focus on anything serious at the moment. So as I wait for that inevitable phone call (or text), I guess I can spend some time honing my sketching skills.