1-You Must Record Your Ideas.
I'm sure a lot of you have been through this. A sudden image pops into your head so clearly, you know you want to draw it, BUT oh noooo, "I'm still working on something" "I'm not skilled enough for that one." These are all things that have crossed my mind and still do. And the only you gain from that is the eventual loss of your idea.
A sketchbook is a wonderful medium to record any whimsical fantasy you conjure up, and many times have I surprised myself with the things I drew in it. You won't believe the sheer numbers of ideas you get daily until you start keeping track of them. I've started to lean towards a quick sketch whenever I get an idea, as opposed to writing a description of it and dumping it into Evernote never to be seen again for a few months. And the great thing about it? I can go back and develop any of the ideas I've recorded anytime I want to. (My insistence on finishing my sketchbook was purely a goal I set for myself.)
What is this even
It's always nice to write down affirmations.
2-You can draw a lot more than you think.
I look at the stuff I drew a few months ago, they would average around 4-5 digital works. Every piece is a commitment of several days. In a couple months, I finished 2 sketchbooks, each 80 sheets, drawing on both sides of the page. That is 320 pages worth of drawings and ideas. Comparing that to my output digitally just makes me wish I started this practice earlier.
From what I've experienced, drawing a rough of an idea in my mind takes less time than I initially predict, with the detailing taking the majority of my time. In a way, being in a sketchbook is my version of "Speedpainting".
This was inspired by a dream I once had.
3-Things are more simple than you think.
I see all my favourite artists sharing sketches they made digitally, and I cannot for the life of me see myself doing that. You see, since working digitally offers so much power, tools and capabilities compared to my traditional setup, I am always tempted to take every single piece to fruition, which undeniably takes time and effort.
Or say I'm drawing a face in SAI. I would make each eye a separate layer, the nose, mouth and eyelashes, all on different layers, because "You never know, I might screw up something, oh but what if this turns out bad? Does this look good mirrored?" So much doubt and caution, when I believe art in its purest form should effortlessly flow from oneself.
When I draw in my sketchbook, I am faced with limitations. I can't zoom in to the smallest pixel, I don't have a mirror handy all the time, I don't have an unlimited number of "undos". What happens is that by working on paper, you can't worry about these things. And more often than not, I find myself drawing just fine, with fear becoming less and less of a obstacle.
Same thing when it comes to inking. I always dread inking long hair, and lineart was for a long time the most time consuming step which yielded little progress into the painting.
When I look at it from a traditional perspective, all I can see is "A Few Lines". All drawings are just a few lines connecting to form a certain shape. This "JUST a FEW lines" approach has been so liberating for me, and I'm no longer sitting in front of my screen nervously thinking about how to make that next stroke, because after all, IT'S JUST A FREAKING LINE.
Part of the "25 Essential Expressions" Challenge
A concept that stuck in my mind upon hearing the words "Frozen Tears".
4- THERE ARE SO MANY THINGS TO DRAW
As a child, you would often see a cool thing, be it the picture of dinosaur in a book, a comic illustration you liked, Pictures from how-to-draw books etc. And you would copy and redraw those, most likely for no other reason other than "You wanted to draw it."
But as we grow up, this practice of "Copying" and even sometimes "Referencing" is looked down upon by our peers. We see it as "lacking originality" or "Ripping off", even though that is how we all began this journey.
I am no longer afraid to copy some artwork into my sketchbook purely for the sake of it. You learn to look more deeply, you start to develop an awareness and understanding of how something is formed, perhaps even more then referencing, which is using another artwork to leverage something of your own.
I copied anime frames I like and/or want to learn how to draw them, I copied illustrations and designs from video games. I copy logos on supermarket items that catch my attention and put my own touch in them. And It's completely fine. I would never claim any of these as mine. It's fine. You can only come of it with good things.
I drew this in the morning following a sleepless night.
You have to record those precious moments of happiness.
5- It's a Great Goal Setting Tool
Filling up a sketchbook bestows a blissful, numbing feeling of accomplishment that's hard to find sometimes. There is something addictive about holding a book filled to the brim with your ideas, inspirations, ups and downs, etc. Filling it up within a time limit is exceptionally exciting. A lot of people say to make a sketch a day, and I say you can do so much more. 5 sheets. Back to back. Every single day. The hardest part is getting started, with worrying and procrastinating taking most of your time. Actually drawing on the other hand, still makes time fly by, the only difference being a few more filled pages.
I swear I wasn't on something when I drew this.
And that's all my little brain can come up with at the moment! I hope you get something out of this and maybe start using a sketchbook yourself! ^^
PS: As for materials, I used a couple A5 hardbound sketchbooks I got at my local store. I tried spirals but I just can't seem to get a good feel with them. A 0.5 mm mechanical pencil with 2B lead and a kneaded eraser are my go to, though I want to try more ballpoints and colored pencils in the future. I just use what feels comfortable the most in my hand.