Everyone has a different relationship with their sketchbook. My love affair with my sketchbook has blown hot and cold over the years. But now I regularly use one and I love the freedom it gives me to try things out.

Sketchbooks as part of the creative process

Sketchbooks as part of the creative process

Experimentation 

For me it is a safe place to play about, experiment and see what happens, take some risks and generally have fun creating. Some pages are beautiful, some are rubbish. But I quite like that. There is always something to learn from the things that didn’t work, the pages that jar, the pages that don’t look right.

There is something quite liberating in the fact that the end result doesn’t matter. When you are painting on a beautiful piece of paper that costs £10 plus, the results matter more, but in a sketchbook you can experiment with colour, try things out, make mistakes, explore. 

Playing not perfection

I used to be a perfectionist when it came to my sketchbooks. I used to start a book and I wanted every page to be brilliant and beautiful. When I messed up and did something I didn’t like, I often used to abandon the sketchbook entirely. I would get cross with myself, judge my work harshly and be far more self critical than was necessary.

Helen Wells's Sketchbook

Helen Wells's Sketchbook

Kindness and creativity

Over the years I have learnt to be a little kinder to myself and my creativity. I’ve learnt that perfection is not a great thing to strive for, in life or in sketchbooks.

Happy messy accidents 

I’ve learnt that the happy, messy accidents along the way are part of the process and can lead to wonderful new discoveries, expansive new outlooks and new ways of doing things. Perfection is boring, experimentation on the other hand can be be very fulfilling!

Experimnetation in sketchbooks

Experimnetation in sketchbooks

Molskine and Fabriano Venezia

I have two types of notebook or sketchbook that I use most often,  small Moleskine notebooks for pen or pencil work and for paint or ink I use a Fabriano Venezia Art Book which has super thick paper which can take a lot of paint, it also comes in several different sizes. 

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