I stumbled onto the Sketchbook Project pretty much by luck. It was advertised on two of the blogs I read, and I finally clicked the link just because I saw it a few times and really dug their logo. It took a lot of discipline, but I actually got it done. Well, discipline and the fact that I spent a chunk of change entering. It boiled down to just keeping the book with me all the time and squeezing in writing/drawing when ever I got the chance.
A common misconception about creativity is that you have to be “great”. I always hear people say “I’m not that good at drawing/sewing/painting/whatever” and so they don’t pursue it. It’s an understandable obstacle. There were weeks at a time where I did nothing in this book at all. Then I felt all worried because I waited so long, so my next thing had to be amazing. And then if it wasn’t exactly what I pictured in my head, I wouldn’t be too happy. The thing is, if you really want to move forward in any creative endeavor, you just have to let that go. If you created the most perfect thing in the world, there would still be one person finding fault with it. But if you create something terrible, one person will still love it. So in the end, you need to create for you. It sounds greedy, but at its essence, it’s the only way to get anything done.
At the top of this post is the first page where I really just cut loose and said the hell with it, I’ll doodle like I want. It was inspired by a wallpaper print I was really digging. it was just fun and relaxing to sit and shade all the bits in. Best of all, it loosened me up.
I didn’t do this book in purely linear way. I went through and wrote here and there and skipped pages and did half pages. I knew there were things I wanted to write about, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say. So I would paste in a bit of paper or stamp some words. That would just keep an idea in the front of my brain so I couldn’t forget about it. On the denial page, I knew I wanted to touch on art being pushed to the back burner of my life for a really long time. I had the words stamped there for a few weeks before I filled the text in. But I think it worked out really well. And helped get some stuff off my chest.
The lily page was totally different. I was sitting at lunch and did the sketch as filled in the color as soon as I got home that evening. There was no deep thought involved, just throwing color on a page and moving on. But I think it turned out well and has a lot of movement and good contrast.
The back of the book was my favorite part by far. I took a few pictures of myself and did three different spreads talking about my life and how to got to where I am now. I hadn’t given a lot of life experiences any real thought until I was diving into this book. I wanted this sketchbook to be a catalyst in moving forward, and it really ended up doing just that — pushing me forward. In this one, I have a photo from college with a good friend of mine. I just wrote about what I remembered most. And it was nice to get it on paper.
So I may not have named specific steps for getting unstuck. But hopefully I’ve shown you that just cutting loose and getting stuff on paper is really good for you.
If you want to learn more about the Sketchbook Project, check out the tour blog. You may even find a date near you where you can go check out my book and the many other great ones that are there. If you are itching for a project and need some motivation, try the Art House Co-op main page. They run the Sketchbook Project, but also have a whole mess of other fun things you can get involved in.