snuggling up to my sketchbook

31 Dec

As I mentioned yesterday, I am hoping to become much better friends with my sketchbook in 2013. There is something to be said about collecting thoughts, visuals, ephemera, and ideas between pretty, patterned and colorful bound pages. And, correct me if I’m wrong, but sketchbooking regularly can help things surface in your work and make them more obvious: trends, themes, subconscious thoughts, exploration, successes, failures, starting points, etc. I wanted to share a bunch of ways to make sketchbooking easy, approachable and fun, because you can do so much more than just draw in your sketchbook! sketchbooking1Get messy: paint, draw, scribble, tape, scratch, even cut! Gone are the days where you should worry about marker bleed-through, or squishing paint over the edges of the page: sometimes those ghost images from previous pages can help inspire your next creation.  Have you ever heard of “Wreck This Journal” by Keri Smith? Essentially each page has a prompt to get you instantly making and creating, instead of being intimidated by the blank page. For those looking to go on a creative sketchbooking adventure with NO limitations, you should pick this one up, or check out this Flickr group where people share their finished “wrecked” pages. sketchbooking2Slap it on there: collage, attach, tape, glue, or tuck in little bits of memorabilia. As someone who loves to look at visual clutter  for inspiration (have you seen my studio walls?) it makes sense to create little visual collections in a sketchbook as well; there just aren’t enough walls to hang up all the awesome paper ephemera I come across. Add in colored/textured/patterned papers, tape down a cool image, glue in bits and bobs, slap on a sticker or stamp, etc. Adding any or all of these things creates visual interest, layers and texture, and can also be inspiration for mixed media layers, or an adjacent page.  A person who never turns a book page without adding a little ephemera or a line of washi tape to it, is my pal Zie Campbell who loves to do Smashbooking (just like a sketchbook with a scrapbooking twist). sketchbooking3Just Doodle: no one said it has to instantly be a masterpiece! One of the greatest things about a sketchbook is that there shouldn’t be any expectations. You aren’t drawing on a fancy rag paper, or an expensive canvas… it’s just ONE page of a big book, so don’t be scared! Just doodle from your mind, draw a quick silly cartoon, sketch from a photograph, or go for a walk and draw your surroundings. It may be one of the best drawings you ever make (amazing things happen when there are no expectations or pressure), or if your drawing turns out poorly and you’re unhappy with it, it can easily be covered with paints or collage so that you can start a new image with a fresh approach (like above). My friend Ella Masters always makes my heart melt with her adorable little sketchbook illustrations. She usually just explores using graphite with subtle splashes of watercolor or colored pencil, and her doodles often stem as inspiration her larger creations/bodies of work, like her recent series of bearded/tattooed men.

I hope my new sketchbook pages, the few of the artists I’ve shared, and the three media tips help get you exploring and doodling with me! It feels good to have a renewed dedication to an artistic outlet I have always enjoyed. I’ll make sure to continue sharing my progress in the New Year, along with other art techniques, and be sure to share yours as well (either with a link in the comments below or e-mail me).

And so I’ll end this post with one hand waving goodbye to 2012, and the other holding a sketchbook for 2013.

6 Responses to “snuggling up to my sketchbook”

  1. Happy New Year Jessica! Great post and sage advice. It has taken me a long time to realize that art making doesn’t need to be about perfection or BIG ideas. And I’ve come to this realization thanks to you and some other creative friends I’ve met. Looking forward to seeing your creativity grow in 2013 and I’ll continue to give it a go myself. : )

    • Serves me right for leaving a comment so early in the morning after a late night. Let me clarify: art making doesn’t need to be about perfection or BIG ideas ALL THE TIME. Cheers!

  2. Heather 01/01/2013 at 08:49 #

    thanks for the ideas! I’ve been trying to carry my sketchbook & pens everywhere and draw more. This might help!

  3. jane murray 08/02/2013 at 01:05 #

    I have not received your new snail mail address!!!


    jane from CRANBROOK BC

    PS sorry to hear you have not been well…


  1. the love list « joyfulwise - 04/01/2013

    […] If you’re like me and want to Make More Art! this year, then Jessica at Nature’s My Friend has ideas for snuggling up to your sketchbook. […]

  2. small creature, vast landscape « - 15/02/2013

    […] trying to stick with my resolution of sketchbooking more often… This page came about recently while looking for collage […]

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