I got out of the habit of using a sketchbook. I just started put things down on random pieces of paper instead which I discarded after I’d used the idea. Which meant I had nothing to look back on, no record of what had (or hadn’t) worked.


It was recently when I was looking through some old sketchbooks that I realised that they are so much more than just a random number of images and words.


For example, I found this one which I made after I found one of my neighbours ducks dead one morning. In fact the whole sketchbook is more than a collection of sketches – it’s a train of thought, a record of what I was thinking about and why: a kind of diary.


A sketchbook is a great way to document observations from around you as well as ideas from your mind – and quite often a combination of both – which is what makes your art particular to you.


I have noticed recurrent themes and it’s interesting to see how some have developed and how I am still struggling to visualize others. It’s a reminder of what an ongoing process that being an artist is.


Sketchbooks allow you to experiment without fear of failure, both with ideas and with materials. There is no need to pressure yourself – no one else need ever see your sketches, thoughts and ideas unless you choose to show them. They are a place to play, to work things out and mine are often loose, a bit crazy and messy.


So I am excited to have decided to start using a sketchbook again, it’s good to have a healthy habit!