Last year I purchased a sketchbook from The Sketchbook Project from the Brooklyn Art Library. I had comprehensive plans for it, just like everything else in my life in 2020. It ended up turning into a collage and drawing sketchbook about my feelings throughout this year so far. The deadline slowly, but also unknowingly approached and photography became a straightforward way of completing the sketchbook.
I have always used sketchbooks in the past for art classes, but never just as one to do whatever with. I now realize they are essential things to any creative process. I have discovered the art journaling, taking notes and keeping information is more easily remembered in these little books if you always have them with you.
Art is a process, and brilliant ideas come with a lot of thinking and planning. So if you’re not keeping a sketchbook even for photography, here’s five reasons you should.
1. Develop Ideas
If you are anything like me you have a million different things running through your head a day. You also have a million more for photo shoots or drawings. Sketchbooks help hash out those ideas to see if they are even viable.
Sketchbooks also helps develop over all visions about bigger projects like a series or themes you want to explore. Often when I have one idea, it will lead to a series of other ideas related to the first. Hence, creating a series or theme you didn’t think of before.
2. It’s a Place to Safely Express Yourself and What You Are Feeling
A marvelous thing about a sketchbook is you don’t have to show it to anybody. Like a written journal, it’s a visual place for your thoughts. It takes the pressure off to be perfect and just make whatever pops into your head.
3. Practice, Practice, Practice
Want to get better at making art? Drawing? Observing? Or new ideas? Practice. Every day. And there’s no better place to do it than a sketchbook, because sketchbooks don’t have to be perfect. Also, by keeping a sketchbook you can see how much you have progressed and use it as inspiration to continue.
4. It Becomes a Source of Inspiration
Maybe you are stuck on what photo to take next or series to work on for your blog. Flip back through your sketchbooks. Was there something, an idea, there you wanted to expand on? Maybe a pic you forgot about or a quote that sparked a painting?
Having ideas to go back to means you’ll never run out of inspiration. You’ll never run out of ideas. You’ll never stop creating.
5. It Helps You to be Mindful and Live for Today
Do you see things in your day to day that you wish you could remember? That inspired you to create? I do all the time.
Sometimes I put the inspiration and idea in my phone, but I never remember to look at them later. When I have a small sketchbook that I can fit in my purse I am much more mindful of the things I see. I’ll often stop to look longer, write more details, or even draw the scene. I am excited to review what I wrote or drew that day. I am thankful for it.
Bonus tip for photographers:
I know a sketchbook might seem like a silly thing for photographers, but for product, stock, flat lays and even portrait sessions they are helpful.
See my photo of stock photo sketches I have planned out below? I do this so when I am shooting I can immediately move into the next scene without having to use valuable brain power deciding what I will do next. I have so many other thoughts in my mind to think about, I can’t make up scenarios as I go.
Sketching allows me to free up brain space to focus on camera settings and the best lighting for each shot. It also helps save time by allowing me to pump out photos quickly because I already thought of everything else.
The best thing about a sketchbook is seeing your growth not only as an artist, but as a person. It will boost your creativity and your mind.