When I talk about keeping a sketchbook, I often get the response, “No – I can’t draw!” But keeping a sketchbook isn’t only about drawing skills, (which incidentally are known to improve the more you do it.), it’s a way to be mindful of the minutiae of your daily life. I consider my sketchbook an illustrated journal, because it doesn’t only hold my drawings, it also has pasted in ticket stubs, take out menus, magazine clippings, recipes, great things my Grandkids said and memories of all kinds.
If you start an illustrated journal now, as the years go by, your art talent will grow, but your oldest pages will be all the more precious because of the memories they hold. What seems ordinary today will no doubt be interesting and enjoyable to remember in the years to come
What really excited me about keeping a sketchbook was Danny Gregory. He’s been doing it for years. He’s an artist who draws his life – starting with breakfast. Yes, breakfast. Check out his newest book: Art Before Breakfast.
Then there’s Kate Bingaman-Burt. She drew everything she bought for an 8 year period: February 5th, 2006 until Februray 5th, 2014! Wouldn’t that make you more mindful of the money you spend and the products you bring into your home? It’s just zany fun to look at her illustrated purchases. She sells both prints and a book of the illustrations from that period.
Sketchbook groups have popped up all over. There’s Urban Sketchers, and Nature Sketchers. There’s even Sketchbook Skool for aspiring artists of all levels to expand their creativity! I just started this – Fantastic!!
Maybe you’d like to illustrate your family recipes? You must check out the They Draw and Cook website. Fun illustrated recipes galore!
I have several things to say about the “I can’t draw” thing:
1. Don’t be so hard on yourself! You can certainly draw. Even if it doesn’t look like what you wanted, you DID draw it.
2. If you can’t possibly be happy with what you do draw today, then why not practice? A daily sketch will make you better tomorrow and better still a month from now. Why not go ahead and take the risk to be imperfect? I find perfection to be highly overrated anyway. Some of my favorite drawings are decidedly wonky.
3. If you want to improve your drawing dramatically, get yourself a good instruction book, such as Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. This one helps me alot.
Inspired to start a sketchbook, but don’t know what to draw? Here’s a wonderfully creative list of 50 prompts to get you going.
Follow it faithfully, or just pick and choose the prompts you like – you’re the boss of your sketchbook. Fill it with….well, yourself!