Sketchbook Explorations

New sketchbook by Ivy Arch

One of my resolutions for this year was to start drawing again. I've dipped in and out of drawing in my adult years, attended a few months of life drawing in my twenties, took part in Katie Sollohub's wonderful Creative Journeys Monday morning course in Shoreham-by-Sea, and recently discovered Zen Doodling. However, I wanted to find a way to build on all this and make drawing a habit and an everyday part of my life, just as it is for my prolific ten year old daughter!

Sketchbook Explorations in blue and yellow circles

In January I saw a tweet by Colour Living's Tina Bernstein of some beautiful sketchbook work she'd produced after enrolling in artist and illustrator Lisa Congdon's online Sketchbook Explorations class. A few clicks later I'd signed up for the course too.

Circle backgrounds drawn over with micron pens

It's a four part course which teaches you how to develop a habit of keeping a sketchbook of colourful designs using and combining various mixed media techniques including watercolour, line drawing, collage, brush pens and gel pens. The course is designed to run over four consecutive weeks but can be completed in your own time. I felt that I wasn't ready to move onto a new technique after just one week, so spent several weeks working on each stage, before moving onto the next lesson.

Collaged backgrounds and line drawing

Lisa Congdon is a complete inspiration! Her course has really helped me conquer the fear of those blank white pages in a new sketchbook, and given me a feeling of freedom and playfulness in producing new artwork too. All too often in the past my critical expectations for producing a 'finished' piece of artwork have paralysed the creative process. The beauty of keeping a sketchbook is that every page is an experiment, some explorations will work and some won't. The most successful ones can be used as a starting point for another piece of work.

Moving on: painted background worked over with brush pen, micron and gel pens

The other thing I've loved about taking part in Congdon's online course is that it comes with an Instagram peer group. Students from her courses are encouraged to share their work on Instagram (search #cbugsketchbook and #sketchbookexplorations). I find seeing what other people are producing wholly motivating as well as inspiring.

Sketchbook exploration in paint, brush pens and gel pens by Ivy Arch

I'm now working on my second sketchbook and have subscribed to Creative Bug so that I can dip in and out of their other courses when I want to learn more techniques or just to try a different direction. I've also been invited to exhibit a piece of my artwork in Creative Waves Art on the Pier 2015 exhibition which has opened this month in Worthing. 

Starting all over again... #sketchbookexplorations
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