Developing A Sketchbook Habit

March 29, 2020

Over the past few years I’ve worked on developing a consistent sketchbook habit. I try to draw something every day, or at least once a week. Since 2015 I’ve filled around a dozen sketchbooks. But I struggled at first.

Overcoming Perfectionism

I tend to be a perfectionist. It's something I'm trying to overcome. My initial attempts at keeping a sketchbook were frustrating. I tried to make every page look like a finished work of art. I had the wrong idea about what sketchbooks are for.

You need to practice on a regular basis in order to improve. And you can't do that if you are obsessed with making each drawing perfect. Your going to make mistakes. That's expected. You're learning a new skill. You improve with repetition. And a sketchbook is a place where you can experiment with different mediums, styles and techniques. It should be messy.

When you first start drawing, there’s a big gap between what you want to create (some ideal vision in your head) and what you’re actually able to produce (reality). I imagined effortlessly filling page after page with beautiful drawings. But when that didn't happen I got discouraged. I finally realized the only way to close the gap was to draw more. And to do that I needed to let go of my perfectionism.

”Done is better than perfect."

With each sketchbook I complete I relax a little more. Now I just draw whatever inspires me. No pressure. No expectations. I normally limit myself to around 60-90 minutes per sketch. I give it my best effort and move on. I've adopted the "done is better than perfect" philosophy. This keeps me moving and has helped me finish multiple sketchbooks.

I've accepted that not every sketch will be great. I'm okay with that. I'm improving a little with every attempt. And since I'm creating more overall, I end up with more drawings I'm happy with.

A Look Inside My Sketchbooks

Here's a collection of some of my favorite sketchbook pages I created between 2015-2019. I'm still keeping a sketchbook in 2020. I'll post more drawings in the months ahead.

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