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Piccolo: Don’t fear blank notebooks

Another nugget of excellent advice from Rina Piccolo, creator of Tina’s Groove regarding the keeping of sketchbooks.

I used to be afraid of brand new sketchbooks. The blank, pristine pages were intimidating, and seemed to look back at me with a demanding stare: Draw Something!
The pages wanted something else from me, too ? they wanted whatever marks I made on the pages to be good. Talk about performance anxiety.

Today I see my sketchbook as less of a performance space, and more of a personal retreat where I might draw, think, write down ideas, and record day-to-day notes. It?s common to see a scribbled email address next to a drawing, or a reminder to do something next to a series of doodles.

Read the whole thing.

Community Comments

#1 Howard Tayler
March/18/2011
@ 9:13 am

Kevin Wasden gave a great presentation at BYU a couple of years back about “sketchbooks for kids,” saying, in essence, that children need to doodle, draw, make notes, scribble, etc, and having a space devoted to that fosters creative skills in great ways.

#2 Jim Lavery
March/18/2011
@ 10:45 am

I’m too afraid to write anything in this blank space

#3 patty leidy
March/18/2011
@ 11:05 am

Jim- blank paper is our FRIEND! lol
I USED to be scared of blank books..no more.. I go NUTS when I get a new sketchbook!
if you’re scared of paper…and old art school trick is to take the paper and mash it up,crumble it ,ruin it a bit..THEN unfold it and you won’t be afraid of ‘wrecking’ it!
Though you can’t really do that to a sketchbook.
I spend time making a title page and doing all kinds of goofy stuff on it..then I can move on to the heart of the book!

the only time I really got intimidated was when Cranes Stores closed and I bought a large amount of their calfskin- Moroocan leatherbound gilded paged blank books.. originally priced at around 75 bucks or less,but purchased for DIRT cheap, I finally got over the fear when I kept reminding myself I got them super cheap! I view them as a whole little art show contained in a fine presentation piece..HAHHA

#4 George Ford
March/18/2011
@ 11:37 am

I was afraid of brand-new sketchbooks myself until I realized that the first page doesn’t have to showcase a masterpiece. If I stop dreading and worrying about sketching, and simply shut my mind down and let it go, I have found that I’m more than pleased with the results.

The best way to draw is to just get started. Rina’s advice is right on the money!

#5 Stephen Beals
March/18/2011
@ 1:45 pm

I draw on everything. It’s a compulsion. I like to think that the people who receive my bill payments are delighted at random doodles on the blank spots, but I’ve never seen anybody I’d regard as delighted in an accounting department.

#6 Dave Stephens
March/20/2011
@ 7:34 pm

Ha! I’ve always been that way too, Stephen – every blank spot on every grade school and high school text book had to be filled, relentlessly and non-stop, especially when a teacher was talking… My poor mom had to buy the textbooks from the school…

#7 Bridgett Spicer
March/21/2011
@ 9:35 am

I want to publicly thank my high school art teacher, Ms. Zinn, who insisted that every student in her class carry a sketchbook. It’s a habit I have developed & kept over the years, and like Linus and his blanket, I feel “wrong” without it. It goes everywhere with me… so I can capture the world in it. I am nearly done with #99… and I will throw a big ol’ party for number #100! Come on by!

#8 Ben McCormick
March/21/2011
@ 1:40 pm

I have several unused or minimally used sketch books that I can’t bring myself to use. I admit being intimidated by the clean pages demanding that I draw upon them. I realized that this problem increased in relation to how nice the sketch book is. The cheaper the sketch book the more I would draw.

Now the majority of my sketches, doodles, character designs and comic thumbnails are on yellow legal pads. I have stacks of them full of sketches, joke ideas, hands, eyes, etc.

#9 john gustav
March/22/2011
@ 6:11 am

You know that for every 200 drawings you do of a character your skill in drawing that character doubles, every time you reach the 200 sketches mark. another reason why sketchbooks are so invaluable

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