I have now had a daily sketchbook habit for over 2 years. Some days I can sketch for 5 minutes or manage a blob of colour, other days I have the luxury of time on my side and can indulge.
In drafting this post I have used my flip through whilst still in the Corona Lockdown. Hard to believe this is now well over 80 days.
There is something intensely satisfying about flipping through my sketchbooks over the last few years. This is not just because I can see my progress as an artist but also because of the powerful memories it evokes. Think of scrolling through your picture reel on your phone and then multiply the feel good feelings by 100%.
The sketchbook continues to be a wordless repository of memories during whichever season of your life you are going through.
And…here’s the good news for those of us who are simply doodlers or rough artists. Regardless of how un-wieldly and rough these sketches (and the times in which we live) are the very process of sitting down, making an effort to fold open a new page of paper and truly look at something means later on down the line the power of association with that object in your sketchbook is doubly intense.
I often remember where I was when I was sketching, what happened to me that day, what I ate, the conversations I had and sometimes the smells. Oddly too I have found that my memory since starting a sketchbook habit has improved leaps and bounds – something happens to and in your brain. It is no secret that we use the right side of our brains when we pick up that pencil. Betty Edwards’ book “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” is a fascinating cult classic that explores and celebrates the benefits of enhanced creativity and confidence in art. I know I have become more pictorial in how I absorb information in general and far more astute in seeing an object, landscape or townscape and thinking “I’d love to sketch that”. There is no question in my mind that this approach has also spilled into my working and home life. Studies too show that people who are creative or indulge in art are less likely to succumb to depression and dementia and have heightened memory senses.
To unlock this potential as a sketchbook artist, however, you HAVE to develop a healthy sketchbooking habit. You can access my free download on how to start and build a sketchbook habit when you sign up to my community here!
I hope you therefore enjoy my repository of memories….My little girl sliding down the banister, chocolate brownie making with kitchen paraphernalia, (that frankly I could spend all day drawing), a leather country kitchen chair, brown betty teapots and the advent of asparagus spears for their short season, social distancing coffee through a friend’s window, the children basking in sunshine, flowers ranging from hydrangeas to my weekly supermarket bunches (you’re going to see a lot of those from me over the next few months), a Nottinghamshire village, chickens (love them), allotment irises, and a country house in the distance….These are the things I choose to remember over the challenging bits.
Its clear that a sketchbook can form the basis of an artist’s bible and a place of escape from difficult days, and in hindsight looking over the darker days it is a reminder of coming through!
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