As some of you know, my house has been upside done for some time now because we were doing some renovations. The current jumble of things around me is directly translating to my mind space as well and I've felt somewhat lost. When everything feels a little out of my control and I don't have the mental clarity or space to jump into something new or big, the thing that always comes to my rescue is sketchbooks.
Now I have to add that there are a lot of feelings that come up when I see a fresh sketchbook page...once again its influenced by the amazing sketchbook art you see on instagram and the like. They are works of art in and of themselves and I always feel this internal pressure to have a 'good' sketchbook. But thats totally NOT the point of one. The point is to play, to lean into the thing thats exciting you in the moment and also to use some of the hundred little exciting art things you've bought thinking 'someday i'll use this cool marker that is iridescent'. Having said that, I still find it VERY hard to be loose and messy and to not worry about the results. I'm still working through that, but in the meantime, and inspite of these rules I make up, I have had some really fun times playing in my various sketchbooks.
Here's what I played with a couple of days ago. I've always loved the art and sketchbooks of Helen Wells . I love the flowing lines, bright juicy colors and patterns she uses. I thought I'd try my hand and enjoy playing with color without restricting myself too much. This is what I ended up with. I picked a few colors that called out to me and just went with some flowy lines and shapes and patterns. I even felt brave enough to do a LIVE session on instagram where I colored it in and you can see me make color and pattern choices.
I find that I really enjoy myself when I lean into my current interest and don't think too much about what I 'should' be making. Sometimes I just want to make happy silly drawings and thats cool. Here you'll see I've had a phase of nostalgic sketches based on old family photos, a sketch of a lovely zoom call with artist friends, this tan sketchbook that really called out to me to make desert creatures (and use that delicious white gel pen to get those lines) and the tiger sketch where I use random prompts.
There's no specific consistency to the art, but now that I've grouped them together I'm surprised to notice a family likeness in them! I find that allowing myself to play always relaxes me and takes me out of the dumps and makes me feel ready for the next thing. Every time! It's also the best way to try and capture some of the loveliness of artists you admire on the gram. That way you get a chance to try how someone has approached their art and still not feel like you're 'stealing' from them. More about that in another blog!
Here's some artists whose sketchbooks I admire and get super inspired by.
“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct.” -Carl Jung