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The Importance

Sketchbooks aren’t something that artists always share but I share mine in this sketchblog because it may spark new folks to start a sketchbook of their own. If I wasn’t driven to share the fulfillment of drawing for oneself with others I would keep it fiercely private. Its real purpose is only for me. Folks wonder why the drawings in my books span so many styles, subjects, and mediums in such quick succession and that’s because it’s a free space, an unfiltered, unjudged place to PLAY. It’s a place where I don’t even judge myself since there’s nothing to second guess about it. There’s nothing about a sketchbook that is meant to be a finished product or a completed thought. The emotions put out there don’t need to be tamed or convenient. The pages don’t get interpreted, exhibited, or sold. They don’t serve the same roles as doing a full body of work where you have a singular voice devoted to pursuing something with laser focus from all perspectives.

In the sketchbook you are completely in the moment. It binds you to the moment. I unapologetically pull it out of my pack to draw regardless of the place, people or setting. The ever patient people in my life learn that my ears and words are fully committed to them even if my eyes and hands are trained on the page. Recently I found myself drawing in the pitch dark during the middle of an Opera. I think it’s easy to feel sheepish or rude, but for me I couldn’t honor an experience more than feeling the need to connect to it even more deeply by making something, anything in that space.

I won’t shy away of trying anything in this precious book. Sometimes I deliberately set out to make something ugly just so I feel even less pressure to perform.  I’ll try anything here. On a personal level these sketchbooks are the most important thing I’ll ever make. I pay attention to things over periods of years that appear and reappear on these pages. Those are the things I need to pay more attention to. Sometimes it’s a subject or a drastic shift in the way I’m putting pen to paper. It can tell me a lot about what matters to me, how I’m physically and conceptually responding to things going on and it is in the sketchbook when I notice that my more focused body of work needs to shift in order to stay relevant. I think this is true for anyone who journals and draws. Even if you aren’t a professional artist it is a magnificent tool for both being in the now of life and reflecting on it all.