I seem to be getting into many conversations lately on the merits of keeping a sketchbook. Almost everyone agrees they are a good idea, but surprisingly few actually do it. The excuse I hear most often from non-sketchers is “I can’t draw”. And now I’ll tell you what I told them:
Sketchbooks are not about being a good artist, they’re about being a good thinker.
Obviously, some people bring the practice of sketching to a higher art form, but to me it’s always been about visual brainstorming and record-keeping in a format with a ridiculously low barrier to entry. My drawings look like shit, but fidelity doesn’t matter as long as I can convey my ideas to others or to my future self.
We should revel in not caring how good or bad we are, and by knowing that our means for thinking has improved with each stroke of our pencils. The point is to keep doing, it’s how you get stuff done. And most certainly how you get better.
I’m trying to get myself into the habit of filling up a page or so a day. Sometimes this might just be a list of thoughts, other times it’s a drawing or bunch of thumbnails. I don’t care if practice makes me perfect, I’m happy if practice keeps me competent.
In the spirit of awareness, I’ve set up a Flickr group for this very purpose. Post one, and only one, spread/page from your sketchbook. It’s always fun to see how everyone else’s mind works.