5 Ways to Fill Your Sketchbook
Dear Wonderful, Creative You:
Recently I’ve been feeling really tired. It’s nothing serious, just a short-term adjustment happening in my body, but really trying, nonetheless. This week, when it was time for me to do my Wednesday Art Chat where I share tips and tutorials on art and overcoming the inner critic, I knew I needed to offer something, but also to nourish myself. I want to share with you the insights about how I make art when I feel uninspired.
This is a simple, fun exercise that helps get my creative juices flowing, and makes me feel more grounded and light. It leads to lots of new ideas for my sketchbooks and art journals too. I’d love to hear what your experience is with it in the comments, and be sure to grab the free workshop at the bottom of the post too!
Make Marks in Your Journal
Let the lines and marks wander across the page and explore the space like the line is on an adventure.
- Practice making thinner and thicker lines,
- Drag the pencil or pen lightly
- Make it thicker or thinner
Vary Your Pen Grip
- Hold the pen super loosely, like you might drop it
- Use a death grip
- Hold it in your non-dominant hand
- Hold it from the top or close to the bottom
Use a Variety of Mark Making Tools
- Drawing pens – I like Micron
- Brushes – I like bamboo brushes like these and India ink
- Homemade brushes using sticks and pine needles, thread, or other ideas I share in this Pinterest board on mark making
Give Yourself Permission to Make a Mess in Your Sketchbook
Lately I’ve been writing in my journal: I’m tired. That’s the whole page. That’s it. And you know what? That’s enough.
Not every sketchbook page should be beautiful. In this age of social media and constant comparison, I think we get a false idea about what an art journal or sketchbook should be. A sketchbook can help you improve your art skills, but it can also be your friend. Your art journal can be an excellent listener. Give it a chance.
Using the mark making method, I can make a mess of the page, and at the same time, make order of my feelings. Funny how that works, right? I think the trick is giving yourself permission to make a mess in your journal.
Making a mess can be good for my feelings, but it’s also good for my art, because in this loose, anything goes state, lots of interesting marks and patterns can pop up.
Make Different Types of Marks in Your Sketchbook
- Continuous lines: Let the line explore the space of the page
- Short lines, long lines, skipping lines, jagged lines, fat and thin lines
- Circles, openings, pods, leaves
- Write whatever comes to mind in your non-dominant hand
- Write in giant looping, overlapping handwriting so it’s more of mark making than text
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Mindful Art Tips
- Slow down – Pay attention to the gift of the materials and time to make marks
- Notice what appears on the page – see when the lines start to skip, get darker or lighter, overlap, and create shapes
- Notice what your body feels like, where it feels warm, loose, tense, straight
I’d love to hear how you do with your mark making, be sure to drop into the comments!
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