on sketching

For as long as I can remember, I have loved watercolor paintings. More specifically, watercolor illustrations, especially if they have some pen/ink and/or words. I'm not quite sure where this affinity came from, but it has been long-lasting and continues to inspire me. 

As I recently mentioned, knitting is causing me a lot of problems these days. It's really sad and I feel an empty hole in my heart that can only be filled by creating something with my own two hands. As I have also mentioned previously, I have been a creative thing my entire life and have never not been doing some sort of art or craft. In junior high I was introduced to the idea of keeping a sketchbook. It was encouraged in one of my drawing classes but I never really did it. But I had to admit that there was something so pleasing about the idea of doing a little something everyday and filling up a book with whatever I wanted. 

In high school I continued to take art classes and continued to every once in a while play around in a sketchbook. It wasn't until I was in college that I started putting ideas to paper more often. It still wasn't an everyday thing but it was so fulfilling to see pages filling up in my sketchbook! This sketchbook habit was highly encouraged by my painting professor during my senior year of college. She didn't care what we did in our sketchbooks, but she wanted us to be doing something in them. We turned our sketchbooks in at the end of the semester and she filled the pages with sticky notes with her comments. 

Now, if you aren't an art-type person you will have no idea how scary all of that was. Someone else looking at your sketchbook!? Commenting on it?! What?! All the comments were positive, of course. You can't just go through someone's sketchbook and tell them you don't like it. And guess what? I have a sick fascination with other people's sketchbooks. Always have, always will. I love to see what people are doing in their own little art space, all the ideas they are working on and just messing around with. And I feel that same sense of satisfaction seeing someone's sketchbook filling up as I do with my own sketchbooks. 

So anyway, this is getting tangential. What I'm saying is this: not knitting is leaving a void in my life and I think working on my sketchbook more often will help fill that void a little. I learned in college that in order for me to actually keep a sketchbook, I need to take the pressure off of myself for anything to be "good" and also I needed to downsize. I am a person who is just naturally drawn to tiny little things. My sketchbooks weren't huge- usually 8"x12"- but the pages were just large enough to make me feel intimidated about filling them. At some point in college I picked up a little 5.5"x7.5" sketchbook with thicker pages perfect for using watercolor on and figured out that it was my perfect sketchbook size. I collaged the front of it and the rest is history- I have completely filled up two of those sketchbooks and am working through a third. Each gets its own special collaged cover (because I find the covers they come with very uninspiring) and filled with whatever I want- notes from books I'm reading, lots of hand lettering practice, swatches from new supplies, paint sample cards, magazine pages, sketches that I blatantly copy from other artists, the list could go on and on. 

This all comes back around to watercolor, I swear. It is often my preferred sketchbook medium. I am not formally trained in watercolor at all but I find it to be so fun. Some of my favorite illustrators work mostly in watercolor and I get so inspired by their work. After perusing Pinterest for a while, I am inspired all over again to play in my sketchbook more often with my watercolor. I did so on the 4th of July and it was pretty much the best. So this is me setting some sort of intention in the world- I want to do more watercoloring in my sketchbook. I'm not going to put any rules around it but it is merely a little goal, something I want to strive to do more of. 

Now for some watercolory links. 
My "art inspiration" Pinterest board which is full of watercolor and pen/ink illustration
Yao Cheng Creativebug watercolor class
Jennifer Orkin Lewis Creativebug gouache class
Jennifer Orkin Lewis (a few years ago) on painting in her sketchbook everyday