sketchbooks for 2006



Over the holiday, one of my sisters and I each bound a dozen sketchbooks for the year ahead. Working in our mother's beautiful seaside studio, we took a break from the rest of the world, folding and stitching and pasting and talking. Wonderful.

That sister - Maria - has been keeping a weblog with her drawings, too - she's a painter with two small children, and her sketchbook gives you a taste of the vitality of her work. We were having such a good time that another artist sister - Rachel - joined us and made herself a journal, and then my mother made four of them. My closest sister - Margaret - is a longtime committed diary-keeper, but she hasn't jumped into the world of blogs yet. I feel fortunate to be inspired by such an expressive and creative family.


Liz, I brought my new (landscape size) sketch book that I made with your guidance with me to the Hague. I am committed to a drawing a day. But I still feel not as adventurous as you. When you started out, did you do mainly pen and ink or did you blossom into glorious color right away? I have with me the niji brushes you gave me, aquarelle watercolor pencils and a watercolor set--pans, but I am timid about using color to DRAW. It feels like I am using a coloring book--filling in the areas. Any suggestions? There is an art store on our street.

An art store on your street? How glorious!

I started quite timidly, but committed myself to ink (because otherwise I was afraid I'd spend all my time erasing pencil). I didn't begin to use any color at all until after nearly a month. But then, I had not really drawn at all since middle school days...

Maybe come up with a set of color drawing challenges for yourself to defuse the coloring book feeling? Or try to lean into the coloring book idea - exaggerate it until it becomes something else/defused/abstracted/stained glass designs? If you give yourself permission to do really bad, dumb stuff, who knows what you'll discover? Or ignore color for drawing and just paint? I try to keep changing what I do so that I don't fall into any one set of habits - though I see the habits emerging anyway.

I try not to take quality too seriously - trying for the daily process, instead...

Elizabeth -- these books are beautifully bound! What kind of paper did you use? In your previous post I didn't realize that the spine was so nice!

Thanks! The paper is Lenox 100 - all cotton, it is a printmaking paper, about 120 lb. weight, but feels heavier to me. My sister Maria, who had used it before, suggested it. We ordered it from Daniel Smith online. Very reasonably priced, too... I only used three or four folded sheets in a signature. It ripped beautifully.



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