Welcome to Tool Box Tuesday! This week I want to share one of my favorite creative tools- sketchbooks!!!
These seemingly simple tools can pack a punch in your creative endeavors. I began using sketchbooks somewhat regularly about 2 years ago as I began my journey into mixed media art.
Hearing other artists talk about working in their sketchbooks I became curious as to what exactly you are suppose to do in a sketchbook. I know, for many this is pretty darn obvious, but for me it wasn’t. It didn’t help when I would search for it online. Pictures of gorgeous “sketches” from professional artists would appear leaving me feeling inadequate, to say the least.Their “sketches” were better than anything I could hope to accomplish in my finished work at that point in my art journey.
It wasn’t until I took Sketchbook Delight online class with Alisa Burke that I began to have a better understanding of how to utilize a sketchbook as an artist. I enjoyed her class, learned some art techniques just watching her art in her sketchbooks, and got a better understanding for what to put in my sketchbook.
I then had a quilting project that I was designing my very first quilt pattern for so I took to my sketchbook to try out some designs using colored pencils, writing down measurements, and figuring out the math. I started to see that my sketchbook could be even more than just drawings.
It was around this time I began to loosen up on my ideas of what a sketchbook was and to let my children draw in them with me occasionally. Early on I was freaked out by them touching my sketchbooks. They were a sacred book of art after all. But the more I began using them every day, the more that they became a journal of my art adventures and a document of my children’s artist journeys as well. We were collaborating. This has become magical for all of us!
The sketchbook blossoming continued this year as I took The Artful Wordsmith with Joanne Sharpe through Life Book 2015. She showed us how to create an art journal using a cheapy composition notebook to practice our lettering in. Brilliant!
Around this same time I registered for Radiant Faces, an art e-course by Effy Wild, who I also learned about from Life Book in 2014. I adore her teaching style- she’s incredible. Well, apparently the art goddess was shining down upon me because Effy had a different type of sketchbook that she teaches about. It’s actually more of a notebook taking system for online art classes, but it’s also a sketchbook sorta thing as well. So here was another way to use a sketchbook. And this one was also made from a cheap-o composition notebook. Wait a minute…sketchbooks don’t have to be expensive, leather bond, schmoo schma books??? No way- anything will do!
Lastly was a really cool sketchbook idea that I learned about through Christy Tomlinson’s She Art e-course. What I loved about this was it incorporated my
addiction love of Pinterest. I had been struggling with understanding how to really USE my inspiration in my art work. I had collected hundreds of pins, but what to do with them? Then Christy showed how she takes pictures from magazines and prints ones from her Pinterest account then tapes them into her sketchbook- one side has a taped picture, the other side is left blank. She then has inspiration to practice in her sketchbooks whenever she wants! This cracked my whole sketchbook world wide open! From her classes I now have one for boots and one for women with awesome headdresses on (feathers, butterflies, bridal, flowers, other!) It’s so much fun to grab a sketchbook and just play.
Which brings me to my conclusion on what I think sketch books are. I’ve spent two years exploring these bad boys- small, medium, large, ginormous, cheap, expensive, art sketchbooks, moleskins, homemade, composition books…the list can go on and on.
Sketchbooks of all kinds have become my art playground. This is where I can try out new techniques, sketch ideas for art work or craft ideas, play drawings with my kiddos, experiment with color and words, test drive a new art supply… Basically I can do whatever I feel like in the moment- no rules. Unless I want rules.
I’ve learned that every artist is different. Some feel that a page should be complete, others are fine having it be what it needs to be. Some have different sketchbooks for different purposes, some just have one for everything.
After all my experimenting, learning from other artists, and researching online I’ve come to believe that it’s best to do what feels right in the moment to you. Let it be a fun adventure on your artistic journey. Nobody needs to peak inside so let yourself be wild and free. Who knows, you just might surprise yourself in what you create!
How do you use your sketchbook(s)? What’s your favorite type of book to use for a sketchbook? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic in the comments below.