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Helter Sketcher 001
Are you Keeping a Sketchbook? Or are you a Sketchbooker?
Hey friends this is a new series: Every Wednesday I’ll be posting a sketchbook page from the previous week, along with a few brief words on my personal Art journey. This one is a tad longer, but I want to give you some background.
Are you Keeping a Sketchbook, or are you a Sketchbooker?
2022 was a good year of sketchbooking and fountain pens. I started keeping a sketchbook going, and was about one third through. Then my eyes went downhill fast, and I needed surgery. Now recovered, I want to get back on that Art horse.
Fast forward to today. In tandem with dusting off my sketchbook, I started re-reading Atomic Habits by James Clear. The goal is to develop the sketchbook habit, and become that life long sketchbooker.
A key point James makes is that it’s better to make an identity shift, than to aim for an external goal. True long term change comes from identity shift. Don’t sweat the scoreboard, that will take care of itself. Sweat who you are as a player in the game. I’m paraphrasing hard. Apologies James. But the short version is: You don’t run marathons for medals, you run them because you like running. If you identify as a runner, the medals are inevitable.
So here we are. Over the years I’ve always had sketchbooks laying around at various points of completion. But I wouldn’t say I’m remotely consistant in the habit. Am I an Artist? Check. I’ve finished lots of Art, painting, drawings, all kinds of various projects. The main problem getting to the Art, is first inspiration and generating ideas. But where do the ideas come from?
Thinking back to the ideas that make it onto canvas, or illustration board, most all had their first rumblings in a sketchbook. As artists we need a system that continually generates ideas for the long haul. The key to creativity, and generating ideas, is giving yourself the gift of play. Play is the power of the sketchbook. Let yourself play and daydream on paper, and the sparks will happen.
We need the time to let our minds wander, and explore, to blow on faint embers and watch them catch fire. We need a playground for our thoughts to get lost in. We need to surprise ourselves. To wind up on strange shores that we didn’t set out to find in the first place. Here is where all kinds of characters, creatures, and landscapes emerge. We crave spaces to experiment, to water those curiosities, and let them percolate. Then – see which one pops?
You should be far more concerned with your current trajectory, than with your current results. – James Clear
This can then become a powerful resource, over time. Something to rely on and trust. Artists need an archive of our little worlds and thoughts that we can then flip and sift through. Now entering a more logical thinking mode, we can recognize patterns and connect the dots. Old ideas can be combined and twisted into newer things. We can also see the need for course corrections, new trajectories.
Little worlds will appear, and if we nurture them, they will return the favor and nurture us. But we must do the work to help them grow. - Sumrow
This is the ultimate goal. Not a finite local, but the process itself. The path is the destination. But you have to stay on the path. So I’ve started again, and making it a point to hold myself accountable. I’m going to hack my sketch booking. Hell or high water, I’ll fill pages daily, and send them out into the world on a schedule. And in time, crystalize the habit.
Looking back at the drawings … unlocks memories. It’s a high-definition archive of your life – in ink and color. The risk is low. The reward is high. - Sketchbook Skool
There are many boons to being a sketchbooker. On those bad days when the idea faucet is stingy, the little world you built is your Art fuel. Your fire. Pure gold. Warts and all. It is your life in ink. These are but a few. Need more convincing? I’ll let Sketchbook Skool have a shot. Give him nine minutes of your time to convince you. I’ve talked enough.
I’m off to explore another page. Hope you will join me.
When I get to the bottom
I go back to the top of the slide
Where I stop and I turn and I go for a ride
'Til I get to the bottom and I see you again
Yeah, yeah, yeah…
Go crack that sketchbook – You got this!
Helter Sketcher 002 will be short I promise.
Godspeed – Sumrow & Rey
PS: The Noodler’s Flex fountain pen above is new. Just got it. Have been wanting to try one for a while as a doodling pen. It works great for doodling. That said, I have never received a pen that smelled so bad. It smells like a frogs ass. Apparently you need to leave it out in the sun a bit so the plastic/resin can set. It’s a know issue with Noodler’s pens.
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