my big creative year : sketchbooks

I was planning to share some artist’s sketchbooks I admire today. And I still am – but as I began to put the post together the idea to make room for my own daily sketchbook practice crept up. I take notes all the time and I make lists, lots and lots of lists – sometimes that’s the first glimmer of a new project for me, a big list or pages and pages of scribbled notes, but I do not, and have not had a consistent sketchbook practice even though I think it’s an incredibly valuable thing. I’m not sure why not – scared of it I think. The books below are a couple of my favorites and there is a remarkable collection of artist sketchbooks here.

Alison Worman:

alison worman's sketchbookAnd Mia Christopher:

mia christopher's sketchbook

The closest I’ve come is the cardboard horse project – it was kind of like a sketchbook – they could be anything, I experimented, they reflect where I was in a given moment, I got ideas – so many ideas and sometimes it was painful, sometimes it was a chore and sometimes I loved it.

 Over the weekend I’ve gone back and forth – there are good reasons not to:

* I’m already too busy and usually panicked about time. It’s adding another thing to my already giant to do list.

* Daily practices – even small ones – are guaranteed to be hard sometimes.

There is another part of me that is all for this:

* I love a record – a reflection of the day.

* I have a deep craving to make marks on paper

* This year – My Big Creative Year has to do with moving towards something — searching for something I need that I’m not giving myself or a place I haven’t gotten to – reaching. I have a strong sense that this small daily practice will move me in the right direction, it feels like a gift to myself, medicine.

The Plan:

* I am making it small, physically small, so it doesn’t scare me away. And instead of an actual sketchbook I’ve made myself a stack of 4 and 1/2 inch squares and I have a little box to file them in.

* I’m committing to one year – beginning yesterday, Sunday 2/15/2015.

* The question of sharing it – for the moment I will – I’ll post all the week’s entries here every Saturday. The promise to share is important, I need the accountability. It will probably feel embarrassing often and if it is too painful for me or seems too tedious for you I’ll create a separate page for it so that you have the option to visit or not visit rather than posting on the blog.

There are no other rules – just making marks. It doesn’t have to be fancy or intricate or detailed; I can glue stuff, scribble, splatter, draw – anything – I just need to show up and make marks on paper and I’ve got to do it every day.

Here are Sunday’s and today’s :

sketchbook 2/15/2015

sketchbook 2/16/2015Check back on Saturday if you like for all seven of week 1 – and if you’d like to join me in this experiment or you already have a regular sketchbook practice you feel like sharing – let me know – I’d love to see.


  1. I love this and am looking forward to the weeks review. I’ve always been leery of a Journal as writing is not my favorite pastime. But art painting or other….. possibilities.

    • So far it’s good – I find myself looking forward to it – we’ll see how I feel a couple months in…… hopefully still enjoying it.

  2. I fully understand, your pros and contras too, I also struggle sometimes to do this practice even without the pressure to take notes daily. I try to do it at least 3 or 4 days in a week. However it is an extremely powerful tool for me. This weekend accidentally I found some notebooks from my college time, was an interesting experience to read through. And it motivated me to continue.
    I like your sketches, cannot wait till Saturday to see the records of your week.

    • Thanks so much Tünde – going through old notebooks is great – and it does reiforce how valuable and yes – motivating – that sort of thing is. Thanks again for the encouragement.

  3. Perfect timing for me to stumble across this threshold. I’ve just finished a project that seems to be the bridge across the chasm (Bridge to Skate/Plywood project) and reopening the sketchbook to keep track of what has unfolded as a result… well that’s the plan, anyway. There are signs, though, that I am taking the right angle to the thermal that is the real bridge. Looking forward to following your progress as I begin to document my own <3


  4. This is an excellent idea! I have committed to a daily record of something creative which I post to Instagram with a summary to my website (under the events section) But already I feel it’s leading me in a different direction – I don’t want to do daily sketches. Your idea of loose sheets is great, I’ll find you on Facebook!

    • Wow Alice – your work is beautiful – I’m gonna spend some time with it this evening.

  5. I love peeking into other artist’s sketchbooks too. In fact I have been doing a lot of observing lately rather than just getting on and doing it myself! Doing it daily is quite a challenge…good luck!

  6. I’m working on the idea as well…I’m in my second Kourse at Sketchbook Skool, and hearing/seeing how the daily discipline has helped others to improve their sketching ability so much is definitely encouraging me to do it as well! – I recommend it to anyone with a scrap of artistic desire 🙂

  7. Oh this is so inspirational and timely. Every day i have this niggling feeling to paint or draw but everything else rushes in and I don’t do it. Have been thinking about making a daily sketchbook rule for myself. I agree, it’s so valuable.

  8. so much to do, and time…always time and deciding what to are an inspiration for me!!
    bit by bit, thread by thread…
    re-habing a home now that hopefully my husband and i will be living in by july…..can i commit to skethc book to?
    who knows..gotta go!

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