Beginning your first artist’s journal is very exciting, but also a bit scary. You dream of perfect pages and expert drawings and know it will not come up to your expectations. No matter! Here are a few tips and tricks to find your way in.
My first baby step with a new book is to find a picture or decorative paper to glue on the front cover. This personalises it and, if you tend to use the same type of sketchbook a lot, differentiates it from all the others. I am always on the lookout for a great picture for the next book, and it is all part of the fun. This doesn’t have to be your own picture, just something that inspires you to pick up the book and open it!
If your sketchbook is a bound hardback, you may wish to cover the whole thing in a decorative paper or cloth.
Always intimidating, no matter how many years you may have been drawing. Use the first page to enter your name, address, phone no., email address and offer a small reward in case you lose it. This can be a heartbreaking event and this gives the possibility that some kind person will send it back to you.
I usually write a favourite quote next, something to inspire me every time I open the book, and maybe I will write what I hope to achieve in this book as well: “get better at tonal values”, “work with limited palettes”, “draw every cat in the neighbourhood”, etc.
Write Your Way In
If you are still hesitating, I love this trick. Write a description of something that catches your eye rather than draw it. On the next page, write again, but leave a little space at the bottom for a tiny drawing; you can even keep the pen on the last word and draw a wiggly line that goes straight into your drawing. Gradually over the next few pages, leave more space for drawing and less for writing until the writing becomes a title, an addition or an explanation of what you have drawn, rather than the main event.
There you go. Before you know it, you have begun your book and you are on your way.