My Sketchbooks

A drawer in my studio is overflowing with sketchbooks of various sizes and shapes. Years ago, with the best of intentions, I set myself a goal to sketch regularly. Books about drawing and painting state that the best way to learn how to draw is to practice drawing – and learning to paint involves getting those brushes wet.

How was I to squeeze in sketching time in an already overloaded life?

I decided to take a sketchbook with me when I was away from home. Freed from my daily routine, I sharpened my pencil with great seriousness. I spent lots of time erasing to get my drawing just right.

Not much spontaneity was happening in all this practicing! One year, on my birthday, I decided to spend the day sketching on the national mall in Washington, DC. I left my pencil at home. Instead, I brought a pen and resolved to draw, not fuss. No erasing! What landed on the paper stayed on the paper. If it wasn’t working, I turned the page. I took along a travel box of watercolors to splash on color.

What fun! “Getting it just right” was abandoned, and my sketchbooks began filling up.