WELCOME to the Sketchbook Adventures Online Workshop. I am so excited that you’re joining me!
A blank page can be exhilarating. There are so many possibilities. But it can also be intimidating, scary and paralyzing. Maybe you sit there staring and waiting for the ideas to come. Or maybe a flood of ideas comes to you but your inner critic shoves them all away, saying things like “that’s not good enough” or “you’ll never be able to pull that one off.” Maybe you’ve always wanted to keep a sketchbook but haven’t been able to dedicate the time to it regularly. You’re here because you’re ready to put a muzzle on your inner critic, dedicate some time to exploring your life and creativity, and build your artistic skills.
The idea for this class came to me when I pulled out my sketchbook on a weekend trip and realized that the last time I’d used it was on my last weekend trip. I’ve been keeping a sketchbook since I was a kid but as I got older I found it more difficult to spend time exploring my life and creativity in it the way I had done before all the responsibilities of adulthood. Even though my sketchbook was always near me (on my bedside table or in my purse), months had gone by without me even opening it, let alone creating a collage or drawing inside. I looked back at my goals/to-do lists for the past few months. Every week I had written down “do something in my sketchbook” and despite the fact that I get great pleasure from crossing things off my to-do list, I failed to do ANYTHING in my sketchbook for months. So I thought up a list of reasons of what could possibly be stopping me from doing something that I enjoyed so much. The two things that stuck out were: don’t have time and not sure what to do.
The first thing: “don’t have time” is such a horrible excuse. I use this one for things I want to do but don’t have to do (especially things related to self-care like going to the gym, fixing healthy lunches, meditating, meeting up with friends and even painting my toenails). Yet I manage to find time for all the things I HAVE to do daily, like showering, working, eating, picking up groceries and doing laundry. Why can’t I spare a little bit of time once a day or even once a week to do something I love? The only thing stopping me was making it a priority the same way I made those “have-to’s” (like showering) a priority. Okay, first problem solved. Make spending time in my sketchbook a priority.
As a life-long goal setting junkie I also know that just because you make something a priority doesn’t mean that you’ll do it. You’re more likely to accomplish a goal if that goal is specific both in what you want to do and the time you need to accomplish it. “Do something in my sketchbook” is a very general goal. I don’t outline what I’ll do in the sketchbook or set a time frame for how long I’ll spend doing it or when it should be done. Goals that are general like that are hard to accomplish because you don’t know precisely what to do or when to do it. I took the big general goal: “do something in my sketchbook,” broke it down to make it specific and time-bound, and altered it to be: “spend 20 minutes a day three times a week working in my sketchbook for one month using prompts.” Then I brainstormed prompts that not only sounded fun but that I also thought would stretch my artistic abilities. This was the solution for both of my problems: don’t have time and not sure what to do. I could no longer use those excuses since A. I had a list of things to do and B. I set a realistic time goal in which to accomplish them.
I spent the next month working my sketchbook and after FINALLY checking it off my weekly to-do list, I realized how important it was. I built my artistic skills by trying out techniques I’d never done, I revisited techniques that I hadn’t used for years, and best of all I expressed myself artistically and discovered new things about my life, perspective, goals and style. It was awesome! I knew that there must be other people out there like me who wanted to make but had excuses (like I did). I wanted to share my experience with them and make it easy and accessible for anyone (even those of you that don’t feel creative or artistically inclined).
I don’t subscribe to the notion that only artists are creative. I truly believe that every single person on this planet has creativity inside of them. Perhaps you don’t think you’re creative and look at artists and makers and think, “I wish I were more creative.” I believe you are. Even if you don’t realize it yet, you’re likely already more creative than you think you are. Creativity doesn’t just manifest in paintings, music and crafting. It lies in many of things we do every day, like creating a meal for our loved ones, decorating our houses, planting a garden, solving a problem at work, writing a thank you note, even organizing your junk drawer. If you’ve ever done even one of these things, guess what? You are creative! All of these things require us to tap into the part of our brains where creative thought lies. The part where we don’t just do what we think we should do or what we’ve been told to do but the part where we find our own ways to do things and express ourselves.
This workshop is designed for all of you, whether you consider yourself an artist or not. The first seven chapters will help you build your knowledge of supplies and techniques. Once you have explored these methods you’ll use what you’ve learned in the prompts that follow. Each prompt has an example from my own sketchbook and directions on how to create your own page inspired by the prompt. It’s up to you to decide how long you need to finish the course. You can do one prompt a day every day for a month or do several prompts on your day off or do one a week. Whatever timeline you set for yourself, be sure it’s realistic and fits with your schedule. If you don’t meet your deadline for finishing, don’t beat yourself up! This is meant to be fun and exploratory. Likely there will be days when you just don’t feel like doing it. That’s okay, but if you keep pushing it off you should revisit and adjust your timeline. If you’re pressuring yourself to create the perfect page, let that go. The goal is adventure, fun and discovery, NOT perfection.