This post is for those who find themselves new to sketching, watercolor, keeping a sketchbook or art journal. Anyone looking for permission or encouragement to let their creativity come to life.
After writing this Embracing Your Fears post some thoughts surfaced out of the comments that I want to share about. Many people keep sketchbooks as a hobby. I’m pretty sure, most of the people that read this blog are sketchers that do it for fun, and to record things from their life visually. I do this for fun, but it’s been in a dedicated way. I like sharing about things I’ve learned along the way, in case they help someone else out, or help them to get started. Anyone can keep a sketchbook or an art journal, no matter of skill or ability. We all start somewhere, and the best place to start is where you are at—right now.
Need a little help and encouragement? Let’s speak to our doubt!
One thing that comforted me when starting out, and still does, was having lots of paper, or more than one sketch/watercolor book. I feel like it keeps the pressure off, because I have plenty of room to practice, and it keeps the lack mentality from coming in of—this must look good because I will waste paper. I like the Bee Paper Super Deluxe Deluxe or a Canson XL Mix Media book. They are inexpensive and have lots of pages to splash paint around and experiment. Two of my favorite things I ever painted are in each of those books. They are nothing grand, but I love them.
I love having an everything goes book! Going with a seasonal theme here, I’ve made ink blob monsters, dracula, and even singed the paper to make ghosts. So much fun experimenting. I feel light hearted when I look at those peek-a-boo from the page below ghosts, because that’s how I felt in the making of them.
I have had the same small “scribble book” for years. It’s full of scribble marks from different pens, getting them to work, testing out fountain pen ink mixes and quick ideas sketched in pencil and such. Nerd alert! Trying to sketch the Starship Enterprise here, to boldly go where I had not gone before.
There is a Zen concept—Shoshin “beginner’s mind.” “It refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner would.” A wonderful state of mind from which to approach things.
I think we need no pressure, no expectation, no need for external validation places to express ourselves. How often do we get that in life? How often do we allow for it?
I want to have something creative where I feel I don’t necessarily have to produce, be good at it, or monetize it. I don’t want to put that burden on my creativity either. Some people are good with the creative hustle and thrive that way, I full-on respect that. Thriving and enjoying that hustle doesn’t seem to be the case for everyone though.
In his NY Times article, In Praise of Mediocrity, Tim Wu talks about how “The pursuit of excellence has infiltrated and corrupted the world of leisure.”
“But there’s a deeper reason, I’ve come to think, that so many people don’t have hobbies: We’re afraid of being bad at them. Or rather, we are intimidated by the expectation — itself a hallmark of our intensely public, performative age — that we must actually be skilled at what we do in our free time. Our “hobbies,” if that’s even the word for them anymore, have become too serious, too demanding, too much an occasion to become anxious about whether you are really the person you claim to be.”
Being on all the time is not healthy, it’s stress producing. Allow yourself to explore, create and scribble around, all for you! This is also a way to take your awareness back, from all those places that seem to demand it. If the hustle feels overly demanding—that is exhausting. Me? I’m sitting down, slow like, with this sketchbook and scribbling around and paying attention to what it reveals to me.
Don’t worry about being talented or let that get in your way. Pursue what makes you feel happy or free, it feels like when you don’t notice how much time has passed during an activity. Things will progress from there!
These are thoughts, ideas, concepts and things I’ve used to get over creative fear, and honestly, to get over some of myself too. Sure, fear still shows up, but meeting it as a story, and with some tools to push past it, goes a long way.
Creativity is yours by right. You don’t need anyone’s permission or approval. Seize it. Take it. It’s waiting for you.
There are many helpful resources here on Doodlewash, Watercolor Sketching: Getting Started, Watercolor Tutorial and Resources, Art Supply Reviews, and plenty of inspiration from other people. There are monthly challenges with painting/sketching prompts to help keep you going. Or, be a freebird about it and follow your own internal prompts and see what they reveal to you. Or a little of both!
Check it all out in the drop down menus at the top of the page.
Cheers to leisure and hobby!
Happy painting and sketching and scribbling 🙂Recommended6 recommendationsPublished in
Hi I’m the Doodlewash Supply Blogger and offer reviews of various types of art supplies, watercolors, and helpful tips. I approach artistic expression with a light-hearted point of view. I love to see, and support others opening up to, and embracing their creative process with any medium or creative expression. Follow me on Instagram!