Artist at work

Sketchbook Diaries

April 10, 2017

Something I really struggle with is spending quality time with my sketchbook. It’s a relationship that should be honest, but so many of us are guilty of pretending to be someone we’re not with our sketchbook. And that is…being perfect. The amount of times I have bought a new sketchbook and don’t want to ‘ruin’ it, so instead I’ll go straight in with a canvas. And well…end up actually ruining it. Why do I do this?

The ‘Perfect’ Artist Sketchbook

I think there are many reasons why this could happen. I mean, the beautiful ‘perfect’ sketchbooks on YouTube and Instagram don’t exactly help with these negative feelings. I regularly read through the comments on these ‘perfect’ sketchbook videos and there are SO many along the lines of…”Why doesn’t my sketchbook look like this?”. Although yes, I do love looking at beautiful things, I can’t help but feel negative about my own. That’s why I’m happy to get comments on my sketchbook video such as, “I am glad to see someone else with a slightly ‘unfinished’ and kinda messy sketchbook”. If we can break these ideas that, only those born into the perfect creative mind can make art, then we will all enjoy a much healthier, more fulfilling lifestyle.

You can watch my sketchbook tour here. Although I will say this one is a few years old now.

One thing I do find interesting is that an artist’s sketchbook is much more mysteriously enticing than final pieces. I feel like a sketchbook is a gateway into the artist’s mind. Final pieces have so many filters on them. This is why I want our sketchbooks to feel free of judgement. Remember you don’t have to show it to anybody, if you don’t want to.

Sketchbook Diaries

I wanted to take away the fears of using my sketchbook, and the only way to do that is practise. So I decided in the last week of March, I would paint or draw at least once a day in my sketchbook. It actually ended up being more, and I loved experimenting with new concepts and subjects. None of my sketchbook diaries were planned as such, it was whatever took my fancy at the time. I filmed each sketchbook sitting and uploaded it to YouTube to try and inspire others to use their sketchbook more. You can watch the videos below if you’ve not seen them.

Let me know if you’re a sketchbook user, and how you overcome the fears of it being ‘perfect’.

Love Katie x

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  • Reply Sandra simmons April 11, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    Hi Katie, I bought myself a good sketchbook about 18months ago and still haven’t used it lol
    I still practice on scraps of paper as frightened to spoil my lovely clean new book!
    Think I’m going to take it on holiday and go for it, at the end oif the day it’s just paper and can’t be replaced.
    Time to shut my fear out I think x

  • Reply Sandra simmons April 11, 2017 at 4:02 pm

    Oops typo, ment can be replaced x

  • Reply Habibah May 13, 2017 at 6:23 pm

    Hi Katie your work is so beautiful, you look so happy making art and that really inspires me I love your blog and videos keep up the good work

  • Reply Mariah June 19, 2017 at 7:39 pm

    Katie – Thank you for the push to actually USE my sketchbooks! I’m the same way, not using them for fear of “ruining” them, and then having guilt for owning them and not using them. Yeesh! I typically like my rough-drafts better than the finals anyway, so I’m not sure why I can’t seem to learn that trying too hard should be the real worry.

    Thanks for the reminder to take the pressure off and just play around for a bit every day. Hoping to make a habit of this – the only way I can think to reduce the fear. 🙂

  • Reply Edith McClelland August 3, 2017 at 8:11 pm

    Loved reading your sketchbook exploits Katie…thanks for sharing.
    I have so many wonderful (pristine) sketchbooks piled up in my studio and I also often think “I really must start using these” but, like you said, ‘don’t want to spoil them’ with the jumbled up ideas from my head.
    Then again, isn’t this what our sketchbooks are really for?
    Your article made me want to get started…..!

    • Reply Katie Jobling September 28, 2017 at 8:31 am

      Exactly! I agree, that’s what sketchbooks are for 🙂 Have fun!

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