• Jen

An Evolving Love for Sketchbooks

Updated: Jul 20, 2020

Where my stationary-lovers at? I absolutely LOVE sketchbooks. They represent a freedom to explore and try things with the risk, but not fear, of failure. I believe sketchbooks help us - anyone that is, not just artists - evolve our ideas and work through problems. And I mean to share that opportunity with everyone I can!

Over my lifetime, I've dabbled in every kind of sketchbook I would find in book stores, craft shops, tourist shops, and garage sales. For a while, I had an affinity for the lined books, since I was an avid journaler when I was really little. As I've matured, I go for practicality: blank sturdy sheets and hard covers, with flexible spines so I can draw and paint with my favorite materials everywhere.

About 1/4 of the sketchbooks I've collected and filled with nonsense throughout my life.

In the past few years, I've put in a lot of thought and experimentation to take store-bought sketchbooks and mod them to really match my ambitions. Check out this post from my old blog about my tricked-out sketchbooks.

My friend Alexandra Schaefers once showed me how to make a quick, simply-bound sketchbook and that got me hooked on creating my own. I love this practice especially because it helps reduce waste -- sketchbooks can be really wasteful and expensive -- and it's completely customizable so I can add pockets when I want pockets (I always want pockets), and different kinds of paper, even pen and pencil holders or small paint pallets if I'm really feeling wild.

I make these all the time now, actually. To prep for a recent backpacking trip, I made three different sketchbooks to experiment with weight and size (I ended up with an entire mini art set that I'm particularly proud of). I also make these for classes and workshops, ones I teach and ones that my friends and neighbors teach in the community.

I have an entire philosophy worked out as a Sketchbook Manifesto

about the value of practicing freedom in creativity that I work to include in all my classes and community programs.

I have a couple of classes and workshops coming up, and in the time of COVID-19, I designed workbooks for those so that participants can have everything they need in one place to get the full experience of the class and practice.

And while I love making these and they are affordable, there are some costs for materials and time. That's why I've put Mini Sketchies up in the StickyInklings etsy shop to help support costs for making sketchbooks available to kids, teens, and adults in my community. It seems like the simplest and bestest gift to give anyone: the encouragement to try and make something, to give space to learn and practice without fear or shame. When I give out sketchbooks to students (of any age), I usually tell also give them the same little spiel: "This sketchbook is your space; it's private and you can share as much or as little as you want of it, because it's just for you."

If you'd like your own tiny space in the universe to experiment, and have it be so small it can easily fit into your pocket (even on women's pants! ha!) then go check out the Mini Sketchies at StickyInklings.