Two sketchbook pages with drawings of hands, leaves, and flowers. In the background is a desk with a sketchbook, pens in cups, and a watercolor pan set.
Drawing,  Sketchbooks,  Traditional Painting

Embracing Sketchbook Messiness

If I want to finish my current sketchbook before the end of spring, I calculated (a couple of days ago) that I need to finish an average of 1.5 pages a day. Is doing that calculation a sign that my need to control chaos is creeping into my art practice again?

I’m not sure how I feel about that, besides that I know I want to push myself to finish sketchbooks faster than before. I don’t want to preplan out all the little details and steps about how I can a better artist, but I do really want to be productive. And that’s hard to do, when you’re studying alone, answerable only to yourself.

But pushing myself to use my sketchbook doesn’t have to restrict my practice. I can embrace that sketchbooks aren’t meant to have perfect pages, but are allowed to contain rough studies and mess. I can encourage myself to dive in and just draw and paint. Without reservation. Follow my instincts and make what strikes me as interesting.

A sketchbook page with drawings of hands, most in ink outline, some with purple and green watercolor.
A sketchbook page with paintings of leaves and flowers. To the left is an open watercolor pan set.

Tonight, that was hand studies from Adorkastock’s hand reference pack. And then half a page of calming leaf studies, mostly from imagination. But after a few of “guessing what leaves look like”, I opened my reference file of photos I’ve taken walking through Wisconsin prairies.

The flowers are half done – I want to add ink, but ran out of time. I got 100% distracted by Wanda Vision, and it pains me to have it paused halfway through S1E4, knowing I can’t finish watching it tonight.

I also watched some MST3K on Twitch at the beginning of tonight’s art session, but I was not in the right mood. Or maybe it’s not suited to be a background show while I work?

I was three years old when that show came out, and fourteen when it ended, so I kind of missed the boat on it. But it was always this cool acronym mentioned on the message boards of yore, so it still has a mystique around it for me. I shall get around to watching a full episode of it someday!

In other mundane ramblings, today was a busy day at work, so at the end of the evening I spent a good amount of time practicing mindfulness meditation. It was so worth it. Every time I sink into a meditative practice, I wonder why I don’t do it more. I know I need to make more time for a mindfulness practice. I can’t help be feel that is piece of balancing order and chaos in a creative practice, whether code or paint or words. May I learn to fold mindful presence into this artistic practice.

‘Til next time. <3

Listening to: Therru's Song (From "Tales from Earthsea - Study Ghibli") [Piano Version], Streaming Music Studios (on Spotify)
Current mood: contemplative

I'm an illustrator and web developer honing my skills and learning all I can about drawing, painting, and storytelling through visual art.