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Looking Back on my First Sketchbook!

Sketchbook #1

First Tentative Steps into a Sketchbook Habit

I think I first started thinking about keeping a sketchbook in about 2015, when I was pregnant with my third child. I had discovered Jennie Maizel’s Sketchbook Club on my google searches, looking for inspiration and ideas on how to start and keep going in a sketchbook. I was really inspired by her beautiful approaches to journalling and her sketchbook pages.

I remember buying some basic starter kit from her website, which I think included an A5 soft cover sketchbook as well as a stackable Koh-i-Noor water colour palette, which was fantastic to begin with and I absolutely still have it for the kids to use! I think it also included some acrylic paints, a paintbrush or two, a pencil, and possibly some colour pencils but I can’t quite remember… anyway it was enough to just get me going.

I did one of Jennie’s online workshops which was painting some houses in acrylic. I think I remember doing that with with my eldest, who would have been about 5 at the time, and really enjoying it – but there was something I found a little bit inaccessible. I found i a bit too prescriptive. I was essentially just copying her style, which is fine if you’re learning, but not something I wanted to continue to do.

Finding My Way

What I really wanted, was to find my own voice in my own style. To find my own way of keeping a sketchbook – improving my skills and capturing the my daily life. However, life took over, and my first tentative steps were soon forgotten. My youngest was born, and I was dealing with 3 little boys aged 0 to 5… but the creative itch did not go away. In 2018, I discovered Danny Gregory and Koosje Koene’s Sketchbook Skool. I was absolutely taken with their whole approach. The style of sketching was much looser, much more engaging and accessible. It felt like something I would be able to achieve if I followed along, did some of their classes, and followed them for a Inspiration.

So, I enrolled on some of their online courses and learned a huge amount, as well as discovering loads of other inspiring artists to follow, such as Lapin, Irma Serrano, Felix Scheinberger, Liz Steel, Cathy Johnson… and more! All these people continue to inspire me, as I follow them on Instagram, I’ve taken some of their Domestika courses, and continue to learn from them all to this day.

I also started a large collection of Sketchbook related books! Starting with pretty much everything Danny Gregory has written, as well as some of those other artist’s books that I’ve mentioned.

So, I thought I would start at the beginning and show anybody who is interested in starting a Sketchbook, how I started and maybe see if that would inspire you to start too! I’m certainly not the best artist in the world, but I don’t think that matters. It’s all about the process, and not thinking about the outcome.

Sketching transports me into a relaxed flow state that I don’t find in any other area of my life. I find that it clears my head, much like a walk in the countryside does, and it makes me a calmer person in general. If I go a few days without sketching, I definitely feel more stressed and so I really need to keep this positive creative habit going. I think it’s a really healthy habit and it’s fantastic to see my sketchbooks piling up on their bookshelf.

My Sketchbook Collection So Far!

I filmed a short flip through of my first sketchbook – you can see it on my youTube channel, and hopefully via this embedded video below 🙂

Sketchbook 1 Tour

I hope you enjoyed reading about how I got started with a Sketchbook habit. I plan to film flip through’s of the rest of my sketchbook collection, so watch this space!

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