Monday 29 August 2011

Mucking up a sketchbook so you're not afraid to "muck it up"

It's been a while since I've posted due to health issues, which are improving daily now. One of the things that has helped me through this time, is a commitment I made to myself earlier this year to learn how to sketch. Back in March I got terribly excited at the concept of doing 365 drawings this year. But didn't get as far as I wanted to...

I kept trying... and would get so far... and then somehow lose the thread. Until I came up with an idea that has started me of on an adventure that I hope will never end. It's so simple and I heartily recommend it to anyone who is just starting to sketch, having trouble getting back into it or staying the course.

I had an 8 ½ x 11 inch black hardbound sketchbook - any size or type will work - that I had started to use for something completely else but no longer needed. I tore the old pages out and, with some heavy duty glue and some tape, repaired it as best I could. So now I had a “mucked up” sketchbook that I couldn’t… well… muck up, because... well... it already was. (Note: this works particularly well if, like me, you like to think you're a perfectionist...)

Next I tore several pictures at random out of a magazine, and glued them throughout the first twenty or so pages. The only thing these images had in common was that I liked them enough to want to see if I could copy them.

And then I started. I would turn to any page and start sketching from the picture. When I had enough I would start another sketch of the same image, or turn to another page and start sketching the picture I found there. I wasn’t remotely attached to whether my sketches were any good or not, I just kept putting pencil to paper.


Very soon I would get bored with “copying” and turn to some clean pages and just start sketching whatever I wanted, be it something in my line of vision or some image in my head. (Are you picking up on the second bit of clever reverse psychology here?) And this kept happening.

Soon my sketchbook went everywhere with me. I’d go to bed, pick up a book to read and put it down again only to reach for my sketchbook and sketch for a while instead. I’d wake up in the morning and write for a while in my journal, then reach for my sketchbook to draw.

Within a couple of months, sketching has become the focal point of my life in so many ways and indeed has undergone yet another transformation which I’ll post about in the future.

So it’s that simple:

1) Grab a book that has already been interfered with, or “ruined” and patch it up as best you can

2) Pick some pictures from magazines you’d like to draw and glue them one per page (or double spread)

3) Start “copying” the pictures without being attached to the outcome

4) Move into your own sketches when it feels right

5) Repeat steps 2) 3) and 4) as often as possible

Oh yes, and have FUN!


Catriona said...

Great post, and inspiring to all those (me) procrastinators out there!

jkroznos said...

Great idea to get started in a sketch book. I'm going to try it.

Krista/Ruca said...

This is a brilliant solution to a problem that plagues many want-to-be sketchers. Good for you for figuring this out and thanks so much for sharing it! And great sketches by the way;-)

marguerite1997 said...

This is a super idea, especially for folks who are intimidated with that first page or are frightened by thatblank white page starring at them.

Shena Meadowcroft said...

Thank you for all your comments! Truly appreciate them ~