Yesterday I wrote about my new watercolor journal. Later this morning, I plan to go out to my herb garden — chives are already growing — and do a bit of sketching. Buying a new journal — which is in reality another sketchbook — made me stop and reflect on my artistic journey.
I remember well the trepidation I felt when I purchased my first sketchbook. I was wasting my money. That was the thought inside my head. I was actually a little surprised by the cost of a small sketchbook, and certain that I would fail in my attempts at learning to draw, I wanted to invest as little as possible. The idea of actually filling up a sketchbook was laughable. After scribbling unrecognizable shapes on a few pages, I’d most likely give up and toss the sketchbook aside.
It didn’t happen. Instead, I found myself thoroughly enjoying my drawing time. Each morning I would sit down with my sketchbook, work on different shapes, and practice, practice, practice. Day by day, the pages became filled with little drawings. Almost before I knew it, I’d come to the last page.
I hurried off to the store, eager now to buy a second sketchbook. This second time around, I experienced a completely different set of emotions. I felt a sense of accomplishment, a sense of purpose, and most of all, an overwhelming sense of happiness. Yes, all from the simple act of buying a new sketchbook.
It was, you see, proof that I was learning something, a testament to my determination. As crazy as it sounds, I now deemed myself worthy of owning a sketchbook. I wasn’t throwing money away. My second sketchbook would be used every day and would become one more measurement of the progress I was making.
As I wrote recently in Getting Bigger, it wasn’t long before I was filling up entire pages with single drawings, and as I moved on to study one-point and two-point perspective, I definitely needed more room. So, I bought a bigger sketchbook. Later, I began learning to work with charcoal, so I picked up a sketchbook with toned gray paper to keep those drawings separate.
When I bought Sketching and Illustrating Birds, I decided to buy a new sketchbook, too. All of my bird drawings go into it, like this little watercolor illustration of a flamingo I made while playing around one morning.
Sketchbooks are handy in so many ways.
- I can use them for actually making sketches.
- I always have one with me, so it’s easy to make notes.
- Sketchbooks are personal, so I can doodle whatever I want.
- Drawings in a sketchbook don’t have to be good.
- My sketchbooks show the progress I’ve made.
Most of all, though, is that feeling of art-worthiness I get when I buy a new sketchbook. Although I’m not a great artist, not even a very good one, in fact, I’ve earned the right to buy sketchbooks.
Every line I’ve drawn, every moment I’ve spent shading, every single mark I’ve made upon those pages shows my persistence and perseverance. Yes, I love my sketchbooks. They’ve become a part of my life; they’ve become a part of me.