Welcome to the first of my monthly sketchbook flip throughs!

As of this month (November 2022) I will be reviewing the month that has just been in some of my private sketchbooks. I tend not to share many of the images within them. I started this journey over 3 years ago with the sole intention of developing my creative intuition as a means of managing my well being.

And so it shall remain!

Running a business focused on drawing, however, means I have to work slightly harder in keeping my personal reasons focused and separate to my business. Some of my personal drawings I share if I am teaching the subject simultaneously. Every drawing day for me is a learning day!

I’m going to be talking through a monthly process in this blog post, not just for posterity but also to highlight to you the types of things that happen to my development as an artist in the space of my monthly sketchbook flip throughs.

Here’s a little highlight from over 3 – 4 different sketchbooks that I have found myself keeping on the go;

  • My sketchbooks this month see me starting to experiment with blending colours, moving away from just watercolour and experimenting with autumn colours morphing into winter. I grabbed my Talens Art Creation Sketchbook and a range of colouring pencils (see my materials list below.) I’ve come to appreciate and start to learn about the power of applying simple strokes to my pages.
  • The 3 live sessions that we meet on weekly as a community that have filled my small sketchbooks. Teacups, chickens, and buildings. These live sessions keep me structured with a mid week drawing session that challenged the way in which I build my technique to draw. I keep refining how I draw small.
  • A new travel journal and the lessons learned about why I draw differently when away and how I can transfer the holiday feeling into my every day. I’m much looser and more instinctive when I am away on holiday because I don’t have the same time constraints working against me. How do I transfer this same mindset approach into my everyday.
  • My ongoing exploration of drawing the human! Over the last month I have been deepening an understanding of the human figure and pushing past my own comfort zone.
  • Drawing my home as the theme for the Signature Sketchbook Course. A sketchbook that I will take away and develop further in the coming month!

Quite often when producing a sketchbook there will be elements of technique (colour, the way I draw, with what I use..), ideas and themes, lots of mistakes, experimentation with different papers and on it will go!

The flip through is a powerful review tool that every body who draws and creates should implement. This is an aspect of creativity that forces you to be objective about what you produce. I advocate reviewing every 30 days so that you can chart your progress whilst being fair to yourself.  You will start to be able to assess what you enjoyed, what you produced that you are happy with, the learning points to move forward or explore getting support with and any creative ideas that will motivate more creative ideas.

What normally tends to happen when you produce a drawing is that you immediately critique and shoot yourself down in flames! The temptation to rip it out or start again, even start a new sketchbook, or bury what you have produced under a cloud of “I’ll never be good enough(s)” is something we are all guilty of.

What if you set yourself a goal to simply draw daily or however much you like and only stop to look at your work every 30 days?

I have just sat and reviewed my last 30 days of drawing which you can see in a panel of images accompanying this post. I always find it interesting that a 10minute to 1/2 hour drawing habit per day has the potential to produce so much!

I also find it fascinating when I arrange all my drawings in this way to notice the similarities and ideas running through the month. Things I was not able to see whilst I was working on them. We often fail to see the woods for the trees!

As you watch through the video of my latest November sketchbook there are a variety of things for you to think about that may help you on your own creative journey.

You can access the video on my learning platform here! 

  1. Do your own review or re-cap of what you have produced in your sketchbooks over the last 30 days. I often advocate that whilst drawing keep going. Don’t ruminate too long on the how’s, why’s and wherefores of how good you think your work is. You will never draw again if you do! Turn the page and keep going for 30 days. Only after the 30 day period should you take a moment to review what you have put together with a more objective, un-emotive eye!
  2. How does it make you feel to flip through your works? What do you notice about your development, the process you’ve been through as well as what you feel you have learned? Are you surprised by what you have produced? Any stand out moments?
  3. Look back at your first drawing. Do your feelings towards it change 30 days on? Why or why not?
  4. What can you learn by watching other people’s sketchbooks that you can apply to yourself? Different sizes and paper types of sketchbooks to experiment with, new mediums to try, different formats and ideas for drawing to consider?
  5. Can you set yourself a consistent challenge and book a date in the diary by which to review your work every 30 days?
  6. In order to achieve consistent drawing what do you feel you might need to do? You should most definitely book onto my free live sessions taking place on a Wednesday covering a range of different topics. Setting a regular time slot for drawing if you struggle to find one is useful.
  7. Make a list of artists that inspire you and start to follow them as well as watch what they do and how they work! However, this comes with the health warning. In today’s culture we are sorely tempted to simply watch our way into inertia! Ever had that feeling? You download and collect videos, how to-s, and tutorials with the good intention of tackling them later only to run into frustration and overwhelm later?
  8. If you’re struggling, address how important keeping a sketchbook could be to you. Consciously allocate your creativity as a priority and not as a hobby!

There are three foundational principles to the way I teach at Emily’s Notebook. Some of you will have experienced them on my courses.

I focus on exploring mindset, teaching methodology, and encouraging momentum in your sketchbook and drawing practice.

As you implement your own monthly sketchbook flipthroughs push yourself to assess not just the improvement in your technique but also the mindset with which you approach what you draw.

With regards to momentum, there is a space and time that we should all be seeking encouragement and inspiration from a variety of quarters! This is one of them. Watching what others produce to inspire your own way of thinking or doing is a great lesson to learn as someone interested in completing a sketchbook.

And remember if you are inspired to rush off and have a go then the inspiration has done the trick!

Here is a list of materials I have used this month;

Sketch from scratch kit – my own branded small sketchbook that I carry around with me.

Royal Talens Sketchbook.

PanPastel Artist Pastels.

Stabilo CarbOthello Chalk pastel pencils

Conte a Paris. 48 colour pastels

Caran D’ache NeoColour Aquarelle (full set)

Faber Castell Albrecht Durer Watercolour Pencils

Derwent Watercolour Pencils

Get inspired to review your own sketchbook flipthroughs as you go!

Don’t forget that you can join Emily’s Notebook community here!