Monday Motivator: A Sketchbook is a Working-Out Space

Monday Motivator

“Knowing that the sketchbook is a ‘working out’ space is super important to me, it allows me to reframe that space as somewhere where the mess, mistakes, and crossing out is allowed, and nothing needs to be finished or fully realised. I can’t imagine the energy I would lose if I looked at the pages as if each needed to be a perfectly articulated rendering of my practice. The beauty of them is that one page might be a bit of a mess and the next page might hold a really great image that inspires a painting.”

Inside the Sketchbook of Katie Eraser
13th June 2024 by Clare McNamara Jackson art blog

I prefer single sheets of paper to a sketchbook for when I’m drawing or painting because there feels like there’s less pressure to “get it right”, that it won’t live amongst the other pages permanently haunting me. Conversely, I like a sketchbook when I’m pursuing something because then all the little bits live together.

Highland cow sketchbook page

If I were more systematic, I could paste pieces done on loose sheets into a sketchbook along with attempts, breakdowns, colour studies, so it puts all the elements together. And photos of any painting that’s developed from these. But that feels like Work with a capital W, so it’s not happened. Yet.

Sketchbook page from river at Uig, Skye

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