There's a reason one of the most common pieces of advice from artists is:
It doesn't matter what it looks like, how often you add to it (although creativity flourishes in an active environment), or what you choose to explore in it. It just matters that you do it.
It could be the knowledge that your sketchbook is a safe space to try new things, or it's simply the only thing you have on hand when inspiration strikes (or you're enticing it to strike), but the work that comes from your sketchbook practice can truly prove magical.
What's holding you back?
Not ready to make your own? No problem, there's also many great manufactured ones on the market. These are a few of my favorites:
A good place to start! If you want to try making your own sketchbook, check out:
*These sketchbook links aren't affiliate, I'm just a happy user!
I used to hoard sketchbooks. I was in love with the day-dream of being "one of those artists" that boasted dozens of interestingly (and coincidentally perfectly) filled sketchbooks on their bookcase.
But when I'd crack open one of my many pristine tomes, I instantly felt like my art wasn't worthy to grace its pages. What if I messed up? Or worse, what if someone saw my failure to be that artist in my day-dreams?
Been there. Over that.
I specialize in sharing thought processes and studio habits that make it easier for your natural artist to emerge and evolve. One the best tools to do this?
All you have to do is get started.
So, if you're ready to get serious about your sketchbook, find clarity on your style, and to know what it feels like to experience truly authentic artistic growth...
A 90-min Mini-Workshop from Etchr in which I explore a subject in 3 color palettes, then choose one to translate to a small painting. We'll cover how to stay in touch with the elements you loved about your thumbnail while scaling up your work.
Go to Class!
Allow yourself to create bold original art with your unique style without the fear of bad ideas ruining your art. Using a combination of thumbnails, Procreate layer masks, and digital compositing, learn how to preview background options and trial all your ideas for your work in progress (WIP) before you jump in with the first mark.
Using Masks in Procreate to Try-On Creative Backgrounds
Transform Your Art:
This 90-min Mini-Workshop from Etchr is all about enjoying the present process and past moments by combining the casual sketching nature of ink with the fun and sponteneity of watercolor.
Join me as I draw and paint Jax elbow deep in his papa's slippers. We'll cover how to achieve depth and realism with line weight, focus, and value.
See where the Etchr class came from! Peruse the light-hearted story of pandemic life at home from the cats' point of view. Each page includes an illustration done in the style of the class, a bit of narrative, and some snarky remarks from the boys.
There's no class from me, since I didn't come up with this marvelous idea. Instead, I was fully inspired by Lara Gastinger's work in her journals.
I do thoroughly enjoy the process of checking in with your surroundings and being observant throughout the year, especially those months you think there's nothing of interest!
I even made a bigger Everyday Sketchbook just to record my findings starting in Spring 2022!
learn about perpetual journals
The second half of my sketchbook breakthrough from hoarder to user! Making a custom sized, easy to assemble, quality cotton, yet affordable sketchbook really took off the pressure to perform perfectly on those pages.
ugly - sorry- EVERYDAY, sketchbook to fool around in will make you feel more comfortable trying new things and actually exploring a bit. Taking more chances equals discovering new territory and exciting unique styles all your own!
Your sketchbook practice can take you anywhere you let it, but the inescapable first step is just getting started! Don't let those blank pages stare you down anymore. Each mark, each page, and each book you fill up just keeps adding experience and helps you learn about your unique art style.
ready to get started?
Sketches, swatches, thoughts, and processes
I think you may find interesting or helpful!