I have pushed myself creatively this year (taking classes to learn new techniques and mediums like painting, writing a book- more on that in another post, even relatively simple things sewing with Tyvek (thank you all for the nice comments on that, by the way!), One of my most recent self challenges is to sketch more. You see, I once said, many years ago, right here on this blog, that I could not sketch. And there is nothing like telling yourself you cannot do something to, well, give yourself permission to never do it at all. I decided I'm just not letting myself get away with that kind of thing. (I wouldn't let the kids.) I don't need to learn to sketch, but I simply wanted to stop saying I can't, because I honestly did not even know if that was the truth.
I pinned some amazing photos of artist's sketchbooks on one of my pinterest boards recently, and it got me thinking about this whole idea of a sketchbook. Sketching something that would just remain in a sketchbook forever possibly never made sense to me or even appealed to me before, I mean who has the time? But there has to be something to it if artists swear by the exercise of daily sketchings, right? So I bought myself a sketchbook and have decided that for a few minutes each day (365 days, to be exact) that I will work on filling one page in my sketchbook. It can be more, but it must be at least that much. My sister-in-law Jen, my father-in-law Kurt, and even Emma (when she can), have all joined me on this simple, yet ambitious artistic challenge (a year! every day!).
That was how The Sketchbook Project began.
It has been so inspiring to watch each of us, in our own way, posting together on a blog. We all have very different styles (and wouldn't the world be boring if we were all the same!), and having our daily sketches all together here in this one space sort of shares a little bit of each day. Not to be critiqued or analyzed (comments are disabled there), but just to allow us to share quietly. Sometimes there may be a line to qualify the sketch, something we may want to remember, but otherwise no other explanation.
Each of us in the family has our own set of personal goals for this project. Mine? In addition to simply committing to the discipline of sketching every day, a goal is to push my own ability to draw. Already, just a few weeks into this project, I am gaining more control over the tools I'm using. In fact, I sketched my drawing tools below on September 6th ... which consist of some markers, Sharpie pens, pencils, water brushes, Micron pens, a water soluable marker, and a small travel watercolor set (even though my paintings are in acrylic or gouache, surprisingly, I enjoy using watercolors in my sketchbook). I'm still learning what each tool does for me when I'm drawing.
I'm also drawing things like the flowers in the top photo or still life objects, things that I have never tried or even wanted to try before. And I know Jen is working on anatomy sketching. And of course I will also be drawing quilt designs in my sketchbook, some days its all I can think about.
My very first sketchbook entry, below, a simple quilt design, using the colors in a tear sheet from an old Martha Stewart, has inspired the pieces I'm working on for the end of year collaborative show at Artstream. See, its already working!
My sketches will probably be quite simple on days when there's no time. That will be when the hard part of sticking with this project comes in to play.
Have you ever committed to filling a sketchbook or pushing yourself to draw out the creative things you have in your own head? A year long creative project? I would love to hear about your process.
Some inspiring links about year-long projects of various kinds
And lastly, a wonderful video that Jen sent me a link to artist Danny Gregory sketching his breakfast. Enjoy!