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Sketchbook Voyage - Week 3!

Hello Dearest Voyagers!

Welcome to Week 3. I truly hope you are starting to use, explore and experiment with and in your sketchbook in new ways as we continue to work together and inspire each other. My goal is to get you IN to your sketchbook practice in some way. Not to tell you exactly what to do with it- but to be the initiating force in creating a sketchbook habit that you can sustain.

If there's something specific you are needing help-instruction-guidance- with… remember to let me know. I work best when I’m answering questions!!! And with our small group I am more than happy to give you one-on-one as needed.

So with that in mind, let's revisit the theme that is guiding EVERYTHING:

How to start and maintain a sketchbook practice:


  1. Make art everyday. Just do something. And do it daily. Showing up every day will probably feel uncomfortable at first, but the routine and progress will soon reward you.

  2. Set a time limit. Five minutes, fifteen minutes, an hour. Whatever gets you excited. Whatever you think you can actually pull off. Sit down and set a timer if that helps quiet you into staying put. Set your phone alarm or the egg timer or an hourglass if you have one handy.

  3. Choose a place. Maybe keep your sketchbook tucked in next to the cookbooks and settle down at the kitchen table for ten minutes a day. Maybe take it to the coffee shop with you. Or keep your sketchbook and art supplies next to the phone (or near where you tend to talk on your cell phone). Some of my favorite doodles were done while I was talking on the phone. It is distracting and can therefore allow you to be more free, less inhibited. Or you can go outside. Rain or shine, put on what you need to go sit, observe, and sketch for ten or fifteen minutes. That might not sound like enough time, but it will get you out there and you will see something you wouldn’t have otherwise seen, create something you wouldn’t otherwise have created. It is about the experience and the practice more than the result.

  4. Prioritize your pastimes. We all waste a lot of time each day doing things that don’t really rank on the self-actualization meter. How much time do you spend texting, facebooking, watching netflix, or running extra errands? Swap out ten minutes of something unnecessary to make time for your daily sketchbook practice. It is a real challenge to quiet the chaos of daily life. When considering how to spend your time, thinking about what you will remember in the long term can help put things into perspective. Think about what will make you feel best about yourself.

  5. Create a ritual. This can reinforce your new habit and enhance your experience of it. This is because when you ritualize something you make it personal - it is customized specifically to bring you joy. Maybe you will sit by the window, light a scented candle, pour a glass of wine, and sketch while listening to an Edith Piaf record. Perhaps you will assemble your sketch kit and a little snack into a cloth satchel that you will carry with you to the park or your backyard. Pick a few of your favorite things and surround your new habit with them.


Here's my starter list of nuts and bolts for making sure you have everything you need for success!


What to sketch on, in and with?

  • Pick your paper, size, shape, type

  • Pick your colors/palette

  • Pick your brushes/tools

  • Choose your accessories

  • Create your portable kit (or many!)

What to draw or paint?

  • The same thing (object) - over and over

  • The same thing (place) - over and over

  • Scribbles/Nothing/Nonsense

  • Draw from Life

  • Words

  • Go Abstract

  • Interpret: feelings, emotions, sensations

Some thoughts to keep you going:

  • When in doubt, keep it simple

    • Simplifying either your tools, your subject helps get you going

  • Have multiple sketchbooks going at once that each have a theme

    • For example - one in which you only use black sharpie, another that is only pencil & pen, one that is just abstract - another where you are drawing only shapes…etc.

    • Then, when you grab a sketchbook - the book itself will dictate the direction you go in.

  • Try different approaches to working :

    • one where you choose random pages,

    • one where you fill forward to backwards,

    • one where you fil backwards to forwards,

    • One where you constantly change the orientation of the page…. Etc

  • When in doubt, keep it small or with very few pages

    • Make one page sketchbooks

    • Find sketchbooks with very few pages so you can easily FILL them

  • When in doubt, make something that's not a sketchbook into a sketchbook

    • Phonebook idea

    • Daily planner (white out is amazing)

    • You can always gesso the pages

    • An old book (like from the little free library)


Check out this site of catalogued artists sketchbooks. Peruse through by theme or subject for inspiration and ideas. Remember - if you find an idea you like… try it! That's called being inspired!


Work from other Artists

This week we talked about (and practiced!) working from other artists as a source material. Sketching from other works we like or enjoy helps us on many levels. Remember to keep a “sketchy” approach - not trying to copy or imitate the work you are drawing in, but to learn from it and to gain insight from sketching it. And take lots of notes! In the margins, on the page itself or on the page next to your sketching.

And heres our featured artist (Hockney) from class and some more links to explore:

Link to Youtube from class

In case you need to fall in love with David Hockney more:

In case you dont know who Hockney is:

Creative Quest

  • Make your own “sketchbook challenge”. Fill A 30 page sketchbook in 30 days? Fill a 300 page sketchbook in 30 days? Who knows what will inspire you and sound fun! Follow the fun and see where you are guided. What is here for you?

Dont forget your DAILY PRACTICE

  • One mark a day.

  • One page a day.

  • 30 seconds a day.

  • Fill in your own daily practice

  • All of the above?

See you Friday at the River at 12noon. PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU ARE COMING! Thank you.

I’ll put our meeting at a museum on hold for now. Maybe NEXT week? If that gives you enough time to make arrangements.

Toodles & Doodles!


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