The Sketchbook and the Journey

What IS the importance of a sketchbook? What, of all the bound together pieces of paper, makes a sketchbook so special?


So I’ve been a very bad artist… I haven’t kept a consistent sketchbook since before college, and I graduated almost 2 years ago. Once upon a time, I not only kept a sketchbook, I’d have it completely filled in a month! It was so intense, the local Mart down the street from my parents (it sold my favorite sketchbook) knew me by name purely because I came in to buy that often.


Now, I struggle to fill a sketchbook in 6 months.


I started one at the beginning of the year. I was so excited for it. I was diligent for a while, but it didn’t take me long to drop off and stop regular sketching. Now that sketchbook is lost somewhere in my office, with the “1/17-” on the cover taunting me.


Reminding me how I failed.


And in a way, that’s the root. I struggle with failure. Not in a, “I’m constantly failing” way. But I constantly feel like a failure. I’m 26, graduated college 4 years after the majority of my peers, and now I’m doing my best to keep my head above water and make this Illustration thing work.


Do I think, ultimately, it will work? Oh, yes. And so does my husband.


But at this moment, struggling with the feeling of failure, it’s difficult to remember how far I’ve come since my days as a teen, filling up a sketchbook a month.


Never sharing it with the world.


It’s hard to remember how far you’ve come when you’re so intimidated by how far you have to go. The road is dark, long, and in many ways it’s something you walk on your own.


But even that notion. Is it true? Am I doing this completely on my own? No, I’m not. I have my husband. I have my friends. And I have my colleagues. And I have those who are taking the same path I am. They’re there too, walking alongside me. Some are farther down the path, and they are encouraging to me. I’m farther down the path from others, and I have the opportunity to encourage them. The comradery reminds us that we’re not alone on this journey.


And what of my sketchbook? It’s a journal of my ideas. A snapshot into my mind, of my creativity and my thoughts. It’s a map to help me navigate the path. Helping me sort which direction I need to go.


As I process through all this insanity that I keep thinking, I come back to the importance of a consistent sketchbook. A single book to hold your ideas, or perhaps 2 sketchbooks you keep together to process ideas side-by-side. Any way your mind processes information, one thing is sure: keeping any form of physical journal is important to your travels as a creative person navigating the world.

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