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How to Sketchbook

Discussion in 'Resource Guide' started by Andrea, Aug 14, 2017.

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  1. Andrea

    Andrea Administrator Staff Member

    Even though there are a lot of videos about the subjects, and lot of artists showing their own sketchbook habits, I feel like this is harder to break down and explain than any other subject. First because it’s personal, second because well… you just need to do it, and there is not much I can add to that, but...

    First step

    The idea of doing it is not gonna resolve whatever inner struggle and pressure you are faced with if you are having problems with drawing a lot. For some, this comes natural, and for others it just doesn’t. It can also be daunting when you go on social media and art sites and see finished drawings presented as “sketches”.

    So how do we break through. Let’s say this is your game and you play it by your own rules. So first you will need to figure your own rules out, don’t you?​

    The quality barrier

    To give some examples, I’m just going to share my own experiences with you. My personal goal was to basically go from not sketchbooking at all to sketchbook all the time. It is a well known fact that to be a professional you need to spend 10 000 hours on something, That means 12 hours a day for around 2 years, no days skipped. Art wasn’t always part of my life so I needed to make major changes on my daily schedule but when I tried to draw for a few hours every day, it was draining. I had to take long breaks, I was frustrated, I didn’t improve much. I believed I had to make it look perfect on the first try or else I just don’t have what it takes. Art is complex, and you need time to figure it out, break it down to smaller problem, solve each of them, put it back together ( start it over if the pieces just don’t fit… ). The idea that my sketchbook needs to look great killed my desire to draw. I didn’t think that I could be drawing just for the exploration itself. Everything needed to be done to please others because that’s how you land a job, trying to fit into something that didn’t come from you.​

    Get going

    Now all of this is not entirely wrong, is it. Pressure is high when it comes to skill set. But you still need to have your own space and relax time. You need to enable yourself to just do things because you want to do them. Draw what you like and do not worry that you are still not there. Simply because you need to get going.

    I always bought pretty sketchbooks and left them empty. I was afraid of ruining them with my ugly drawings. So I got a stack of copy papers and put on a challenging daily practice, that I kept doing for a long time. Quality over quantity. If you feel like you are bad, then you know what? Just go for it, be bad. Let it go, do bad drawings. But keep pushing. Get used to just drawing a lot.​

    The List

    Now it wouldn't be me if I could just settle with being bad at something. Accepting the idea that I cannot solve all my problems on the same day helped me to clear the first obstacle. Lesson learned. But I still want to have those nice looking sketchbooks and not go crazy about it. At this point I started separating. I got nice sketchbooks, and cheap ones, digged out the old half finished ones. And I wrote The List. The List about the things I need to practice now, about the things I want to learn in the future and about the things I just simply enjoy drawing. I dedicated a sketchbook to each, you should see the pile I ended up with.​

    Divide and Conquer

    Separate your sketchbooks. Have some for serious studies and some for fun. Have some you never show anybody. Get used to the idea that you may spend hours or days on a nice artwork and you never ever show it to anybody. It’s for you. It’s for your experience. It’s one from many you need to do before you get there.

    Try techniques. Try different tools. Use colors. Make it exciting for you. You start to get bored? Just switch to a different sketchbook. And keep filling.​
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