When I was in 7th grade I had an art teacher. A good one. Her name is Syndey and this is her website. She taught us how to draw from the book “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain”, which improved my skills immensely.
She also said we should keep a sketchbook, and told a story about another one of her art students —we’ll call her Sally because I don’t remember her name— who drew everyone at church. And someone in the congregation said. “Be careful, if you fall asleep at church, Sally will draw you.”
I wanted to be like Sally. I wanted people to know that they might secretly get drawn if they are around me. I’m sure there were two motives for this, one was to get better at drawing. The other was of course to feel recognized by others.
And thus I started to keep a sketchbook. I have sketchbooks going back from the time I was in 7th grade all the way up to today. My sketchbooks also tend to have a lot of head drawings in them. Many of those drawings I did while I was at church.
My sketchbooks have become a sort of visual journal of people I’ve met, landscapes I’ve seen, and ideas I’ve had. I also take a lot of notes. Church notes, class notes (when I was in college), and random notes.
My sketchbooks have a lot of ugly pages in them, although they are getting better, little by little, year after year. They have a lot of unfinished ideas and drawings that just didn’t turn out.
You don’t get to see those.
Not sharing drawings I don’t like is important.
But, when I do share things from my sketchbook they are the drawings that I rather like. Drawings, that I think you will like as well. Because while there are a lot of ugly pages in my sketchbooks there are also a lot of drawings I’m proud of.
Being an artist of any kind doesn’t mean you always produce great work, and one of the things I like about keeping a sketchbook is that it gives me the chance to try things and be bad at them when I need to.
I love the process of trying. Shooting for the stars and sometimes only landing on the moon, or a cloud. Luckily if I fail there is always another day, another drawing, and something new to try in my sketchbook.