The first thing to mention is that everyone can keep a sketchbook. There is no such thing as not being good enough to keep one.
Its been massively encouraging since starting and sharing my sketchbooks the amount of people that have come up to me or got in touch to figuratively whisper that they too are now keeping one. A secret society of sketchbookers!!!
What drives someone to pick up a pen and paper? Private expression of emotions, improving skills, getting more professional, testing out new ideas and materials, getting inspired..are all good enough reasons and no doubt you may fall into one of these categories.
For me, however, my driver and the focus of this post is how a sketchbook contributes to telling my story and understanding and assimilating the stories of the world in which I live and move through. We are driven to keep a sketchbook to help us understand our environments, to document a moment, reflect on something by really looking at it, or express an idea.
Its clear that the sketchbook has become part of a journey – what started out as drawing every day objects and situations in neat boxes; a green velvet Chesterfield armchair on a Sunday out for coffee, a box of prawns at lunchtimes, and some overripe raspberries one summer afternoon that needed eating has now morphed into sketching that allows my thinking to really deepen and puts me at the centre of my learning. I still sketch my day sometimes but keeping a sketchbook helps trigger other creative ideas that I want to get down on paper. Rarely are the pages perfect, rarely do pages need to be seen by anyone and some of them aren’t, and it is always irrelevant how good I feel I am at the moment I am drawing. I shy away from commissions – everything is fixed in a book of ideas. Its the total opposite to our selfie obsessed lifestyles. Its a private anecdote to a very public cultural landscape.
I’m fascinated about how our thinking deepens when we draw, intensifying how we see and interpret the things around us and in turn respond to them. This in itself is a powerful enough reason to start and want to keep your own sketchbook.