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One of the best feelings in the world is cracking open a fresh sketchbook and making it yours.

The Beauty of Starting a New Sketchbook – The Proper Way to Use Your Sketchbook

Starting a brand new sketchbook is probably one of the best feelings in the realm of traditional art.

It represents a fresh start—a step forward in your art development. Hopefully this chapter proceeds completing a previous sketchbook (unless you’re the type to leave yours halfway when starting a new one).

I’m proud to say that I’ve almost filled my Canson Mixed Media Sketchbook that I purchased 2 years ago. I left a couple of blank pages in case I just want to return to it with an odd sketch or two; but it’s completed for the most part.

My previous sketchbook showcases my progress as an artist. I have no doubt that I’ll flip through it and appreciate the various stages of development that I’ve gone through. However, there’s something revitalizing about filling a sketchbook at the starting point of being fairly comfortable with your art. In this case, you can focus on creating illustrations that showcase more of your skill, rather than the stark improvement of your drawing abilities from start to finish.

Now, if anyone was wondering about my 100 Days of Art Practice Challenge, consider it a bust. I lasted for one month before stopping. Why? Well my sketches began to feel forced and meaningless. I found myself creating more and more half-assed sketches just to meet a daily quota.

The reason I bring this up is because at this point, I think it would be best to switch gears: I’ve decided that I’m going to complete my new sketchbook by my birthday, which is in mid-November. It might sound like a long time from now, but based on my (unimpressive) track record, accomplishing this in 6 months would be a feat worth celebrating. I truly believe that this challenge will be significantly more effective than a daily art challenge.

Going back to a blog post I wrote during the Inktober challenge, Inktober 2018 – Making Time to do What you Love, sometimes there just isn’t enough time or creative energy to create an art piece—especially if art isn’t a daily priority, which is completely okay. In all honesty, I’d rather take a little bit more time on my own volition to work on my art, rather than trudging my way through a daily challenge. And this is not to say that all daily challenges are emotionally draining. Everyone experiences creation differently, and practicing art everyday might very well breed life into many artists.

Don’t get me wrong, drawing everyday via a self-imposed challenge forced me to create some pretty cool pieces that otherwise wouldn’t have existed; however, this doesn’t change the fact that I want to create with intent. And unfortunately drawing everyday through obligation is the opposite of motivating.

Perhaps I’m trying to justify this switch, but I don’t necessarily count it as failing an art challenge—I’m simply changing it up. Turning the challenge into something more attainable and intrinsically rewarding.

And to think, this realization all started with cracking open a brand new sketchbook.

. . .

Starting a new sketchbook is truly a fulfilling experience.

It can be quite the motivator to create as well. If you’re feeling stuck, consider beginning on a fresh page of a new book, and you might just be tempted to fill it up.

Additionally going forward, if you choose pursue an art challenge, don’t beat yourself up if it starts to feel tedious. Instead tweak the rules a little bit to make said challenge better match the approach that you take to art. Art challenges should be insightful. They should be challenging of course, but also exciting. If an established challenge doesn’t fit this criteria, make it yours—the world is truly your oyster.

A/N: Here is my very first illustration to greet the first page of my new sketchbook:

bubble tea girl illustration
Solo shopping/bubble tea adventure! A.K.A., my ideal Saturday afternoon.
bubble tea girl sketch
An initial sketch drawn on Mother’s Day.

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