stephanie male sketchbook - character design - faerie elf woman - copic marker - shinhan touch alcohol marker pen

Building a Sketchbook Habit from Scratch.

Ey’ up Chuck- Been a while.

Okay okay okay, so 2019 was a difficult year for me. To be honest, it was pretty much a wash, much like 2020 is going to end up being too- COVID19 SUX BUTTS. At the start of 2019, I unfortunately had some health stuff going on and my mental health really suffered as a result. It really made me reassess my priorities in my life, and I needed to take a long overdue break.

For 2019, I pretty much stopped drawing altogether and it made me take a closer look at where I am with my art practice. To consider what I want from my drawing and where I’d like to be in the future. Running the shop and pumping out mediocre art to sell made me lose the love of drawing, and I desperately want it back.

Closing Up & Starting afresh

A few months ago I closed up my Etsy shop temporarily, and the weight almost instantly lifted off my shoulders. It was a big and difficult decision to take, but I’m glad I made it. Since closing and taking a break, I’ve started doodling and sketching in my sketchbook again, close to – but no quite everyday. It almost feels wrong when I haven’t sketched in it now, like I’m missing an important part of my day. And that’s exactly what I’ve been missing over the last few years.

I’ve never really been a sketchbook kind of person. Throughout school and college, even University, I jumped straight into ‘finished’ illustration and pieces. Backtracking my sketchbook after the fact- just to hand in for assessment to please my tutors. That is not what a sketchbook should be for.

I REPEAT.

THAT IS NOT HOW A SKETCHBOOK IS USED.

A Sketchbook should be used to experiment, to grow as an artist. Practice faces, practise mark making, practice hands (For the love of the Gods, practice hands Steph!) Without using a sketchbook, your jumping to the end, skipping a bunch of steps and it shows in the final finished pieces. They’re not as polished or thought out as they could or should be.

This is what I’ve been repeated doing throughout my life, skipping steps, pushing out okay/mediocre artwork. Saying “It’ll do.” Rather than trying to make it perfect. I have become a lazy artist.

A Sketchbook is somewhere you can process ideas, polish your drafts until it’s as close to perfect- then you take it out and finish it to perfection. So with all that in mind, I closed the shop, to allow myself time to build a sketchbook habit.

It’s only been a few weeks but my habit is starting to form. For the first week, I tried to set out an hour or two every few days to sit and sketch. I made space on my desk, I got out all my alcohol markers and pens, and doodled. More recently I’ve been trying to aim to improve something in particular, yesterday was fabric & clothes draping- even if it’s just following a 20mins video and sketching notes.

It’s going well so far, but as I said it’s still a forming habit. I’m not adding a mass of pressure on myself, as long as I finish at least one page a week, I’ll be happy.

Check out below for some of my favourite sketch pages so far. I’ll be posting my sketches on Instagram every week, so don’t forget to follow me!

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