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D'Lady
05-04-2013, 09:01 PM
I was in Phoenix with DH the other day, and bought myself a new hardbound Daler-Rowny sketchbook. The pages are probably a bit too thin for painting much, but I have a nice tin of Inktense pencils I enjoy using. The book is much larger than the last one I filled up.

So what have done with it? Nothing, of course. It's sat here for four days now, and nary a mark has been made.

Reasons are several, and varied:

I'm afraid of making a truly nasty mistake the very first day. Since I don't like removing the pages, seeing something I'm really unhappy with right at the front can just sap all my enthusiasm.

Lack of inspiration. Despite the thousands of images in the RIL, and a full house of junk to draw...nothing has any real appeal.

Fear I may change my mind...I love the themed sketchbooks and such that people make, and I'd love to give one a go. But it never really works that way. Either I just dive right in and start some subject that has caught my eye, or I spend time planning, carefully placing elements, researching and scrounging for just the right ideas...and then regret it when I run out of steam or (more often) just turn a page one day and wreck the whole idea by sketching something that has caught my eye.

(sigh)

Does anyone have any tried-n-true methods for overcoming inertia and fear? The book really does me no good at all if it's just going to sit on the table waiting 'til I've grown old and grey trying to bring myself to make a decision and stick with it.

Dragoon
05-04-2013, 09:39 PM
Do a colour chart of your Inktense on the first page. There, now that dread first page is used. (and useful-you know how the pencils will perform on that paper.) Add a chart of some watercolours too. :cat:

From there, use the back end of the book for random sketches, and the front end for a theme. Mark the theme on the outside so that you can always add on in the right book. You can have a few themes going on in different books, so that you don't get bored.
Variety is good!

Hope I helped!
D.

janinco
05-04-2013, 10:10 PM
I'm just breaking in my first watercolor sketch book and had the same apprehensions. I finally made a page full of labeled animal footprints just to get something started. Then I did a sketch of a cabin in the mountains from a trip last summer. Today I did a sketch of the Kentucky Derby trophy, stands, roses and winner.

I tend to be very critical of my paintings and decided this was my safe zone to make mistakes and try to dump my perfectionist tendencies which can be paralyzing.

It might help if you check out a few books from your library about art journals. It really made me feel better to see what professional artists and illustrators have in their books. Often they are half-finished, distorted and messy. But they are also charming because of the spontaneity. I want to remember what caught my fancy on any given day...I know it will be fun to look back later, even if I'm a bit embarrassed about the quality at the time.

Jan

happhoto
05-04-2013, 10:22 PM
I have a jar...and in that jar I put ideas for future paintings and such...when ever I'm totally flummoxed and don't have the "inspiration" I go for the "perspiration" and pull a slip from the jar. Sometimes it's just "apple"..or banana or whatever and that's the beginning. I am so far from perfect I KNOW I'm going to make mistakes and I might as well live with them before I make them than suffer FOR making them!
hap

Neeman
05-05-2013, 12:12 AM
Note books are for MISTAKES.......
Where else will you be able to work them out
Experiment.................If you do then there are no mistakes

Print in the front of your note book
Rule #1: There are NOrules
Rule #2: See Rule #1

D'Lady
05-05-2013, 12:47 AM
Awesome ideas, everyone!

Dragoon -excellent suggestions! I'll make a chart or three on the very front pages, and it will be there for reference if I'm trying to figure out how to fill up a passage later. : The book is about 100 pages, I think, so if divide it in half now, and put random stuff on the back, I could do several little themed sections of five pages each. I don't think I usually ramble on that far, but if I set the pages aside for it, I can always fill in the empty spaces later. :)

Janinco, I'm also very critical. My father was a sign painter, and for him everything always had to be precise and perfect and legible. If us kids drew something that wasn't hyperanally supremistically exact, he would tell us how sloppy it was...needless to say, none of us kids persued anything artistic 'til I rebelled in my 30's. But I still can't break free of the need to be controlled and disciplined and fuss constantly. Hence...sketchbooks I can burn if need be. ;)

You also just reminded me I bought a book about art journals, and you know...I don't think I ever read it! I'll have to go look and see if I can find it.

Happhoto...a jar full of ideas! Suddenly, in my mind I'm picturing a cute little cookie jar overflowing with scraps of assorted stationery bearing arcane bits of questionable wisdom and poetic journal prompts. :)

Neeman...awww...maybe someday. But I still have too much inner angst and emotional baggage to toss out the rules. Someday...the DragonLady will fly without a net, but it won't be soon.

WthrLady
05-05-2013, 01:12 AM
My trwo cents.... just open it to any random page and start painting.

Neeman
05-05-2013, 01:29 AM
Neeman...awww...maybe someday. But I still have too much inner angst and emotional baggage to toss out the rules. Someday...the DragonLady will fly without a net, but it won't be soon.

Once upon a time there was a blocked person afraid of white paper.

I took a very expensive sheet of watercolor paper
I ripped it in half, and said
It is only paper
I ripped it into quarter and at each rip I said
It is only paper
It took me a long time to rip the sheet in to little pieces
Each time I said
It is only paper


Try it
It is only paper

D'Lady
05-05-2013, 01:51 AM
Once upon a time there was a blocked person afraid of white paper.

I took a very expensive sheet of watercolor paper
I ripped it in half, and said
It is only paper
I ripped it into quarter and at each rip I said
It is only paper
It took me a long time to rip the sheet in to little pieces
Each time I said
It is only paper


Try it
It is only paper

I have.... In fact...I think it was probably YOU that gave me that advice -what, five years ago?...and I was making pretty good strides toward being a decent painter.

But, as it often does, life just got in the way. Then my DH lost his job and was injured, and money became a constant issue...so I just...kinda quit. I decided to go back to it late last year, and had a real chore just assembling all the supplies I've purchased into one room, let alone figuring out what is still good. And since I can't just buy whatever appeals to me anymore, I have to plan and make the most of what I have, so that makes me even more paralyzed. Thankfully back then my whole family supported my hobby, so I have a LOT of stuff that people gave me as gifts or sent me because they no longer wanted it.

In the end, I just want to flip through my new sketchbook one day, and be happy with most of what's in it, instead of wondering how to sneak into the trash without a family member retrieving it. :rolleyes:

I did just find two books I bought: Artist's Sketchbook's and Journals and The Decorated Page. I think there may be another one around somewhere, but I'm not sure.

Neeman
05-05-2013, 02:37 AM
Good luck and blessings

Marcio C
05-05-2013, 02:49 AM
I just start on the third page. That way I do not have the first page responsibility until later. You can also do some lettering or text work on the first page.

olliewood0702
05-05-2013, 11:14 AM
Aww Dragonlady, I totally know how you feel. I'm always afraid to just "jump right in" too. I always feel like I need to plan and that takes away the spontaniety. I've never been very spontaneous but wish I could be. I have never really kept up my sketch books. Every workshop I've attended the instructors have advised keeping sketchbooks handy.

I'm my own worst enemy and so self critical. I think either you're that way or your not. I hate being so self doubting all the time; so I have to work at it everyday.:thumbsup: Maybe sometime in the near future I'll be able to look at my work and actually like it.:crossfingers:

I've recently bought some and decided that it's something I need to do. I also have been advised to do value studies which I usually don't do. But lately I'm feeling that my paintings will be so much better for having done them. It's never too late to change I say right?

You've been given GREAT ideas; and I just may take some of them too. That's what I LOVE about this site.

Best of luck with this issue; and I hope your DH is mending nicely; I'm so sorry about him losing his job. I sure know what that's like.

Take care and have fun!

D'Lady
05-05-2013, 04:01 PM
You've been given GREAT ideas; and I just may take some of them too. That's what I LOVE about this site.

Yes; and yes. When I first found this site, I had a 10-year-old box of moldy watercolors and a vague idea I wanted to decorate some fabric.... I credit this site and the wonderful, lovely, helpful, friendly people here for giving me the confidence to try to learn to draw and paint, and even to post some of my work. Even if I never pick up a pen or brush again, I will always be grateful for the advice and the gentle crititisms I've been given here. I not only have a wholly different outlook on art and design, but also learned to see things in entirely new ways. :)

I sat up last night reading the art journal books I found. I had an idea maybe I should cruise the 'net and WetCanvas! everyday for a while, and make an entire journal filled with sketchbook ideas.... :D

Yorky
05-05-2013, 05:28 PM
Just do it! You can always get another book when you feel competent. Meanwhile make the sketchbook your private record of your progress.

My advice is capture parts of a subject, a door, a piece of ornamentation, anything that catches your eye.

Doug

CharM
05-05-2013, 08:21 PM
make the sketchbook your private recordI like that notion!

happhoto
05-05-2013, 08:47 PM
Just a thought here.....
On the first page, write...write you goals, your thoughts, and your plans to get there. write supportive words, that will encourage you, words like FEARLESS, EXPLORE, DISCOVER, JOY, PRACTICE, and PERFECTION IS PRACTICE, MISTAKES ARE LEARNING TOOLS!!

D'Lady
05-05-2013, 10:41 PM
Thanks, everyone, for the great ideas! I'm off to dinner with my family, but when I get home I plan to spend some time sketching somewhere...maybe my new book, maybe not. But it seems the most important thing to do is just to pick up a pencil and draw something...even if it doesn't turn out very well.

Mayberry
05-06-2013, 12:09 AM
I've got a few different sketchbooks, but I don't think of them as "SKETCHBOOKS." I kind of randomly pick up the first one I see close to me (they are in different places in the house), try out a new color, or a new brush, or a little composition, or a color combination, or a brushstroke, or a little drawing, or attempts at different textures, or compare a few color ideas, or paint new swatches of all my blues to date. But there is no organization to it. I don't even care if I fill up the pages in order. It's just a tool, not some kind of thing for display. If I'm going to do a finished work that I might want to frame, I use a stand alone piece of paper.

It had not occurred to me to make a themed sketchbook. I think if I wanted something like that, I would do the sketches on separate sheets and then arrange them and bind them together once I had enough of them done. If a themed book of nice looking sketches is the goal, then it makes sense to take the pressure of consistent perfection off, and not try to make a perfect series in an already bound book.

Saint Ragdoll
05-06-2013, 12:59 AM
A sketchbook is sort of like a diary, private (unless you choose to share) and for you, if you feel happy, sad frustrated etc you can put it all in the sketchbook and no one need ever see it. I like to think of sketchbooks this way and remember that they are not for finished works or masterpieces, but a place to play, experiment and try new things without fear of someone saying " how awful" or " that dosnt look like a whatever" .
A thing I do to get over my fear of that white perfect paper is to put down a colored wash all over the page, doing different colored washes on different pages. Then sketching on the wash covered page is like sketching on colored paper...it is fun and a different way to sketch.
Teresa
Saint Ragdoll

jmb57
05-07-2013, 11:08 AM
there are some great ideas in this thread. i certainly have that problem where i almost get scared to use the materials i have because i dont want to waste them. but i am getting used to the idea that 'it is just paper', and it is better for me to use the damn stuff, than for it to sit on my shelves gathering dust. i know i have to almost give myself permission to start that sketchbook or journal, and get practicing, date the stuff, and in 12 months look back and hopefully see improvement , and go get anouther sketchbook.
i wonder why this is such a common problem, but i am encouraged that others do go through this process.
thanks for the great ideas, i will take some of them on board

Brindle
05-07-2013, 03:06 PM
You could always just open to random pages in the book and splash on some nice washy watercolor, spatter it and let dry, then later, when you come to that page in the normal course of things it's got a nice background already prepped.

How about painting your hand with paint and pressing a handprint into the first page of the book :)

Could make a page listing "Worst That Will Happen If I Mess A Page Up". Of course, that page would be kinda blank ;)

I think it helps to have a sense of humor about sketchbooks and not be so serious. For what it's worth, I too have these grandiose plans of keeping a sketchbook for a themed something or another, and then they just sit. Now I just grab whichever sketchbook I feel like using on a given day and work on some random page in it. Eventually all the pages get filled and it's fun to browse through recalling what was going on at the time you made each sketch. I don't care if they are in date order or not. If I want to present them in date order I can always digitize them and present them that way online or in print.

Have fun...that is what this is all about.

Hoplite
05-07-2013, 03:46 PM
Once upon a time there was a blocked person afraid of white paper.

I took a very expensive sheet of watercolor paper
I ripped it in half, and said
It is only paper
I ripped it into quarter and at each rip I said
It is only paper
It took me a long time to rip the sheet in to little pieces
Each time I said
It is only paper


Try it
It is only paper

Rrrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiip!

It is only money!

Wait....did I get that wrong?

******

I just declare the new sketchbook to be about something. One is notes and experiments. Another is simply pencil (because that's all the thin paper can handle). Yet another is "nature", "mythos" and "pyrates" (though anything nautical goes). I'll get around to still life, and maybe favorite book illustrations. Really, whatever sustains an interest in you. Household objects, the minutia of life, travel, flowers and garden, urban settings, people at work, the beach, band practice - themes are easy. Do something in the middle to warm up - save the first page for something special, or maybe just a special title page - it doesn't have to be sequentially accomplished!

Neeman
05-07-2013, 11:21 PM
Rrrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiip!

It is only money!

Wait....did I get that wrong?

******



Wrong?
What is that?

ingbranch
05-08-2013, 03:41 PM
All such great advice. I also have that fear of the new sketchbook. I found it helpful to paint watercolor charts in the first few pages as well. I like Doug's idea of just focusing on a part of the subject. It is overwhelming when I look at the big scene or set up and often times will back away from painting altogether.

CharM
05-08-2013, 07:22 PM
But it seems the most important thing to do is just to pick up a pencil and draw something...even if it doesn't turn out very well. It feels as though you're sabotaging yourself... I don't mean that to sound hurtful, but are you expecting masterpieces with everything you produce?

Your sketches may or may not turn out well. In fact, if you've been away from your art for awhile, you may be a little rusty. But the more you do, the more you'll improve your skills. It becomes a journey...

I sure hope you can get past this... :grouphug:

D'Lady
05-08-2013, 07:46 PM
I don't mean that to sound hurtful, but are you expecting masterpieces with everything you produce?

No; I don't really suppose I will ever create a single masterpiece. But...it does frustrate me that the work I do now is terrible compared to the work I was doing before. I still have my last sketchbook, which I filled back years ago when I was painting everyday, so I keep looking at it and feeling frustrated that I can't just pick up where I left off.

But, you're right.... I do have to stop thinking in terms of what I used to do, and rediscover enjoying what I can do now. I know if I can get back into the habit of painting everyday again, the skills will return.

I need, I think, to put away the old sketchbooks, stop looking at previous works, and just start over from the beginning. Like a person who is beginning at "drawing 101" and just take it from there.

Plus...I do need to accept that I'm getting older. My eyesight has deteriorated, my hands shake a bit sometimes, and I get stiff sitting in one place for too long.

I just need to adjust.

In the meantime, I found another older book that was only half-used, and am filling it up with simple line drawings and getting reacquainted with my pencils, brushes, and tools. I'm also discovering many of them need replaced. :(

CharM
05-08-2013, 07:54 PM
*nodding*

Yup... always look forward! Every journey begins with the first step... You just took yours!

Undergoose
05-09-2013, 03:34 AM
I'm with Mayberry, my numerous and random-sized sketchbooks are strewn around just about everywhere I exist. I just use them as tools, countless color charts and comparisons, rough sketches of ideas, no structure...and most of the time I can't find the one I'm looking for when I need to reference something.

Whenever I'm looking to do something 'real', I always go for the good paper and someday may bind them all into an actual book. With the luck I have, using something pre-bound, I'd paint 59 awesome pictures and bork the last one. hehe

I've looked at those hard-bound field books, and while I find the notion of keeping a visual diary as romantic and wistful as the next person (imagining myself posing ruggedly under a shade tree in my rakish and daring haberdashery while I plan my next masterpiece or epic world-altering adventure), I've never purchased one.

Actually, now that I think about it, my only relationship with a spendy sketchbook has been to pick it up, hold it, go glassy-eyed and stare off into the distance for a second, then put it down.

The next step is always to grab the six wire-bounds that I can get for the same price, tuck them under my arm, and head over to raid the scratch-and-dent brush bins for sable treasures with the occasional errant bristle. :P

I LOVE the crafty DIY house-persons that need a brush to paint the flower pots on the porch. They always grab the $70 kolinsky, pull the little plastic tube off, glance at the bristles, harrumph at the price, then cram the little tube back on, bending several bristles back. Next inventory, the stockboy sees the damaged brush and chucks it into the dingy box on the bottom shelf with the "all brushes, $1.65, no returns" sign on it. It's like Christmas every Monday morning over there. Sorry for the tangent. :P

There's always the option of the "Random Stuff I've Painted" theme. I've got THAT one nailed. :)

CallMeCordelia
05-09-2013, 03:09 PM
Hi DragonLady. I used to struggle with starting new sketchbooks, too! I understand how you feel. For me, it was even harder to start a new sketchbook, if I'd had some real successes in the previous one. Maybe the next one wouldn't be "as good!" Plus, it was hard to switch to a new book, after carrying around the old one, for a while - we were like old pals!

The first thing that helped was to draw a picture of my old sketchbook on the first page of my new one. I always knew what to draw, that way and it was sort of like bringing an old friend along on new adventures. I'd throw some supplies next to the book, and just draw/paint them.

Then, after a while I decided I needed to look at my new sketchbook as simply a continuation of the last one. After that, I didn't stress about the new one and how to start it.

I don't know if either idea will work for you, but I hope this helps a little. Of course there is always this philosophy: we MUST use our art supplies, so then we'll have to get MORE!:lol:

Finally, I am sure that your return to "Drawing 101" will go even better than you hope. I have done the same thing and the return trip was easier and faster!:clap: Congrats on taking the first step!

Good Luck!

:cat: Noelle

D'Lady
05-10-2013, 03:45 PM
Finally, I am sure that your return to "Drawing 101" will go even better than you hope. I have done the same thing and the return trip was easier and faster! Congrats on taking the first step!

lol

I grabbed some printer paper and my sketching pencils last night, and spent a couple of hours just practising random shapes and rendering forms. Looking at them this morning, I do believe I'm rusty but not entirely incompetent. Most are a bit wonky, but a couple came out nicely.

Early this morning I continued in the same vein, and practised some flat washes. Three of the four are streaky, one just because a hair came out of my brush and left a footprint, but one is nearly perfect.

Later today, I'll do the same again. Practising on the El Cheapo paper is the way to go for now, I think. I didn't feel pressured or afraid, and just enjoyed myself very much.

I'll venture back into the sketchbooks when I feel a bit more self-confident.

In the meantime I also read both of my art journaling books cover to cover. They both focus a lot more on collage techniques, mixed media, and what I consider "crafty" endeavors. I think maybe I would have fun trying some of them, even though I don't see them as being roads to fine art. Again, I do believe just getting something moving -the process, the journey- is more important overall than the finished results.

Quinacridone Gold
05-13-2013, 05:51 PM
I like the idea above of doing a sketch of your previous sketch book.
I also like to do a painting of my water-colour palette, or a chart, in the beginning of the book as that shows what colours I'll be using throughout the sketch book. Drawing your materials is a lovely task in itself.

D'Lady
05-13-2013, 07:38 PM
I suspect the moment of decision is near at hand. The old book I've been scribbling in only has three pages left. :)

Yorky
05-14-2013, 02:30 AM
:lol: :lol: :eek:

Doug