If you’ve been drawing for a while or have even taken a few art classes, you may have heard of the importance of keeping a sketchbook. They’re what I like to call a “Creative Safe Zone.” It’s a place just for you where you can get out concepts you have in your head, practice drawing certain subject matter, experiment with media and techniques, or just be free to express yourself creatively.
Sketchbooks typically aren’t works that go on display, so you don’t have to worry that someone is going to see your work and judge it. It’s just for you, which means you can choose to share it or not. You can be whatever artistic voice you want to be inside of it. It’s where ideas are born and sometimes also sadly where they die. Additionally, they can serve as a visual diary or journal of your artistic journey. There are so many out there in all paper types, sizes, price ranges, and brands. (You can even make your own if you want extra creative points!) It doesn’t matter what kind you buy, what matters is that you develop the habit of working in one.
Sketchbook Ideas & Examples:
I always have multiple sketchbooks on the go that serve different purposes for me. For example, I have one in particular that I use for mixed media exploration. Because I really hate wasting paint, if I have a lot of certain colours left over I will paint a page or two in this sketchbook and then go back later and do a drawing over top of it to try out an idea I have.
I have a travel sketchbook specifically for when I’m on trips or vacations. You never know when inspiration is going to hit. Pictures are great, but sometimes what the drawing captures in the moment is so much more than what a photo can. In my opinion, it also somehow forces you to be more in the moment than the few seconds it can take to snap a photo of something. You really have to study your subject and see things you may have missed at a glance.
A few years ago, I was feeling creatively stifled. I wasn’t sure what to draw and was having a hard time motivating myself. Because I have a weird quirk (read:obsessive) need to finish things (just ask my sister) I purchased a One Sketch A Day book from a nearby bookstore. The book was small and the spaces seemed attainable for a small sketch every day. At first, I didn’t really know what to do, then at one point I hit a good stride, and by the end of it, I had a book with some ideas I would later pursue into more finished works.
There were days I resented it a little, I’m not gonna lie. The important thing was that I drew every day, even if it was small. They weren’t all winners, but it was a step towards me getting out of the creative block.
There is no right or wrong way to have a sketchbook. It doesn’t have to pretty, the drawings don’t have to be finished, and most of all you don’t have to share it with anyone if you don’t want to. Use those pages to free your creative mind, jot down ideas and more importantly EXPLORE!