Sketchbooks are one of the most valuable and useful resources available to artists. They can be used as a way to realize concepts, characters, and ideas, or as a portable way to practice your skills and techniques without pressure.
However, they do have some uses other than merely for drawing and sketching. Let’s take a look at what are sketchbooks used for.
We all know the saying: ‘Practice makes perfect.’ This is especially true in the case of artists. There is no better way to improve your technique or develop an art style than to practice, and sketchbooks prove a stress-free way to do so.
Art is not something that anyone can simply decide to do. There is a lot of creativity and technique involved, and most artists spend many hours honing their skills to become good artists.
Art is not just about drawing. There are several other media involved, like watercolors, oil pastels, and charcoal. Most good sketchbooks can handle watercolors and charcoals, but there are certain sketchbooks that are specifically designed to work well with oil pastels.
Choosing a Sketchbook
There are a few things to keep in mind when picking out a sketchbook to buy, such as when and how you plan on using it. One of the simplest ways to ensure that you use your sketchbook on a daily basis is to keep it with you at all times.
Keeping your sketchbook with you as much as possible will allow you to jot down or quickly sketch an idea or concept the moment it strikes you. A heavy or bulky sketchbook is probably not the best option if you plan on carrying your sketchbook with you at all times.
Additionally, you will want to compile a collection of media and materials that you look forward to using. Most artists tend to use just a pen or a pencil, but you should not hesitate to experiment with new media as well.
Do Not be Afraid of Mistakes
This is perhaps the most difficult challenge that artists face, as most artists are self-proclaimed perfectionists. It is easy to succumb to the expectation that every page of your sketchbook needs to be a completed work of art.
Many published sketchbooks that belonged to artists seem to be filled with the most perfect art in the world, giving more amateur artists the impression that every single page of their sketchbook needs to be perfect. Obviously, this is not true.
In fact, making mistakes is a crucial part of the creative process, as they allow you to see what techniques and styles do not work for you, and how you can improve upon them.
Approaching a sketchbook with the perfectionist’s attitude can make the prospect of a blank page that much more daunting and can leave you feeling quite uninspired and unmotivated to keep practicing.
A better approach to sketchbooks is to have a relaxed and playful nature, thinking of it as a place to play rather than a place to perform. This can make the creative process a much smoother one and can provide a more satisfying sketching experience.
Combine Imagination With Observation
There tends to be the belief among amateur artists that using references is cheating. In reality, reference images are a great way to improve your techniques, especially when it comes to anatomy and more complex realism.
Artists generally use sketchbooks in one of two ways: They use them to realize an idea or concept, or they will use them to observe and document the world around them. Using a combination of the two can be a great way to hone your skills.
If you are an artist who frequently draws portraits of people, you might want to consider trying blind contour drawing, which is a technique in which you draw a subject without glancing down at the paper, and never lifting your pencil.
This exercise helps break the routine and can help you produce unexpected imagery. Most drawings done with this technique tend to be messy, loose, and illogical, which can give you some insight into your own techniques.
Think of Your Sketchbook as a Companion
Channeling your emotions and thoughts into a sketchbook can be quite therapeutic, almost like confiding in a friend. They can stay private, and can, therefore, become a safe space for personal expression.
Sketchbooks can even be used as a coping mechanism for stressful situations, like awkward social events or public transport. They document your life like a diary and thus can be the most faithful companion.
In conclusion, sketchbooks are great for a number of uses. Confining yourself to one or two methods or media can start to feel claustrophobic and unsatisfying, and sketchbooks are no different.