I’ve talked about this before, but I’ve been drawing again since last December. And for the most part I’ve been doing all my drawing in sketchbooks. The exceptions have been cards I’ve made for people, but other than that, I stick to the sketchbooks even though I have some really nice stand alone paper.
Lisa Congdon recently wrote a post talking about how she uses her sketchbook and something in it resonated for me:
…[W]hat I make here is not for sale or for a client or for any one but me.
I thought about that line after reading the post (if you haven’t clicked the link, I recommend it, Lisa’s sketchbooks are incredibly beautiful and inspring). Having an art degree and then not doing art for about 13 years post graduate school, I’ve been thinking about what it means to make art to me now. Why is sketchbooking and the way I’m working now so important to me? And why am I so quick to stay there even when I’ve watched several classes take the same techniques and apply them to a larger, stand alone piece?
The answer for me lies in the training I got oh so long ago in art school. The place where making money off art and being in the elite art community was the goal of most students. The place where professors rarely talked about experimenting, but you were constantly critiquing finished work. And that’s the thing; I don’t know that I want to think about finished work or selling work or being a part of the elite art community.
One of the things I’ve found fun and inspiring this time around is that I’m not feeling any pressure about what I create or how I create it. My sketchbooks are for me. They are experiments. They are play. They are to relax. I don’t make my living this way and to be quite honest, the thought of attempting to turn art into my living makes me cringe.
But I do love sharing my work on Instagram and here. I love looking at other’s work and getting inspired. Creativebug has been a source of constant inspiration to me and I’ve been getting books from the library to expose myself to other ways of drawing, painting, seeing.
As you can see from the spreads I’ve sprinkled throughout the post, I’m morphing and changing what I do in my books. I started with smaller sketchbooks and now I have 5 sketchbooks going of varying sizes. I’ve enjoyed going large (at least large for me) recently with a watercolor Moleskine that is amazing and with a Strathmore Mixed Media journal that takes gouache and water quite well.
So things aren’t staying static and I’m pushing myself into new areas and into new things, while also going back to my favorite motifs and size of sketchbook, simple ink drawings of every day things will always be a favorite.