Facing A Blank Sketchbook Page

Day 16 - Facing Down A Blank Sketchbook - #doodewashMay2018 Doodlewash

For today’s art challenge prompt of “sketchbooks,” I wasn’t quite sure what I would sketch. I’d already sketched a stack of sketchbooks for my 1,000 watercolor sketches post recently, so I was a bit lost as to what to do next. Staring down at my trusty copper Lamy Al-Star pen, I decided to just paint what I saw. A little blank page waiting to be filled with something. Of course, I had to use my trusty blue Lamy pen for this little urban sketch and grab a fresh sketchbook. But this is how I start every evening of each day after I get home from work. There’s nothing there on that white sketchbook page at all, often not even an idea of what should appear there. I’d love to say that since I actually write these monthly prompts, I’m prepared with an idea, but the truth is, I forget what’s coming next and show up just as surprised as anyone else. And even though staring at a blank page with artist’s block can be a bit daunting, I’ve learned that if I just wait a bit longer, distract myself with other things and come back, something will eventually appear there. And each day, for 1,047 consecutive days now, something always has. And that always makes me smile.

When I first started watercolor sketching, I was so absorbed and enthusiastic that everything came rather easily. You had to actually stop me from sketching every moment that I could. Now that I’m in my third year of daily painting, there are indeed days when I feel less inspired. Surely, I’ve reached a fabulous milestone and could take a little break right? But, I don’t sketch and paint to make masterpieces. I sketch and paint simply because no matter how I feel going into a sketch, it always makes me happy when I’m done. I feel a little sense of accomplishment, no matter what appears on the page. And showing up to ramble about it here after I’m done completes my daily art and recharges me for the next day. It’s become a little ritual and if I stopped, I know I would feel a bit of emptiness. The key is, I put absolutely no pressure on myself to produce anything of value at all. I’m absolutely thrilled if people enjoy my sketches and my writing, but it’s always just a happy side effect of doing something I love. I’ve literally surrounded myself with talented artists on this site, and yet feel no real need to make a comparison.

To me, each artist is so profoundly unique in what they make it’s absolutely impossible to compare. Even when they choose the same styles, their own personality shines through and transforms the sketch or painting into something singular. On this site, I feature famous artists alongside artists just starting their art journey. To me, each have something to teach us, and every one of them has something beautiful to share. There will always be those incredible masters to guide us, and my hope is that we can all stick together and continue to encourage each other along the way. Not everything we make will be the thing we hope defines us as an artist. But the act of making is the only thing that really matters in the end. Each attempt is another step closer to some level of mastery, a chance at making something wonderful. So, that’s why I insist on making something each and every day. And this is exactly what I remind myself on those days when I’m feeling less inspired and facing a blank sketchbook page.

About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Cobalt Turquoise, Benzimida Orange, Quinacridone Red, Terra Cotta, and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Day 16 - Facing Down A Blank Sketchbook - #doodewashMay2018 Doodlewash
Recommended4 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!

16 Comments
  1. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 5 months ago

    The Doodlewash site is a wonderful achievement because it honors the journey rather than the achievement. Everyone who tries makes a successful journey, incomplete but luminous in its invention. You’ve encouraged all kinds of folks to try something new, maybe something challenging, and it’s always exciting to see what everyone creates. Like this little notebook, waiting for paint to annul its blankness, and there it is, newly adorned with promise.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      That’s such an amazing comment to receive! Thank you so much, Sharon! 😃💕This site has been such a journey and so many little bumps along the way to make it happen. I’m so happy you enjoy the result! That definitely makes me smile!

  2. Sharon Nolfi 5 months ago

    I love the perspective – it makes me want to grab the pen and start drawing.

  3. Sandra Strait 5 months ago

    Your sketchbook and pen are beautiful right down to the elastic band and inviting white page. As usual, your daily ramble makes complete sense to me. I think we all crave routine, if it’s the right routine and feeds our creative spirit. It’s a place of peace and order the helps us through the chaos of the day.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Thanks, Sandra! 😃💕 Yeah, I think when you find that routine that makes you feel a bit of peace, it’s always worth fighting for… or in the case of artist’s block… fighting through.

  4. krcc 5 months ago

    Even a blank page has full ‘o color! Oooh, fancy pen.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Thanks so much! 😃💕 Hehe… Yeah, I always have to add a bit of color, even when it’s white! And love my Lamy pen!!

  5. slightlyunnerved 5 months ago

    1,047 consecutive days? Wow. Your dedication and your work are inspirational. Thank you.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Aww thanks so much! 😃💕 At this point it probably qualifies as an addiction, but as addictions go, this one is pretty awesome and I highly recommend it!

  6. Mary Roff 5 months ago

    Love your Doodlewash today. You are absolutely right,, getting something on that blank page is a wonderful feeling.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Thanks, Mary! 😃💕 Yeah, it’s so funny that some days I can feel a bit uninspired, but as long as I put something down on that page, I’m inspired all over again!

  7. smzang 5 months ago

    When I read:

    “I don’t sketch and paint to make masterpieces. I sketch and paint simply because no matter how I feel going into a sketch, it always makes me happy when I’m done. I feel a little sense of accomplishment”

    I am reminded of a quote from Emerson:
    “These roses under my window make no reference to former roses
    or to better ones; they are for what they are; they exist with God today”
    I put that quote on the back of one of my books of poetry. Like your statement,
    it is in no way an apology. It is a celebration that understands that every piece of art,
    written or sketched or painted is unique. Its value comes from its ability to lift the consumer to new heights of vision and awareness. Your work does that every day.
    Thank you again and again..

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Oh my goodness, just having my quote next to Emerson’s is quite a wonderful thing indeed! 😊Thank you so much, Sarah! 😃💕I truly believe that we each have something special to share and I hope that we each share it, no matter what!

  8. Aneta Koehn 5 months ago

    Exactly what I need to read today. Thank you!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Aww thanks so awesome to hear! 😃💕 I’m so happy you enjoyed this post, Aneta!

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