The Summertime Sketches of a Female Artist
A sketchbook is a personal outlet and will be used differently with each creative. For me as an illustration student, I’m usually creating something every day. However, once summer hits, there’s not much to keep me drawing. This summer, I’ve tried harder to keep drawing and although I’ve not drawn every day, I’m proud that I’ve done a much more than previous summers! When drawing for my course I can often get caught up in focusing on concepts and outcomes: keeping a sketchbook has given me a place to record experiences and enjoy drawing rather than worrying about a final product.
It’s not perfect, there are many abandoned drawings and questionable lines. But this is what makes a sketchbook personal and a diary of my summer. Sometimes I start a drawing and the person leaves, or someone sits in front of me and blocks my view. Sometimes, I can't push past doubting my ability and I give up. But when I keep going and don’t worry or judge, I notice so much more in what I’m drawing. Drawing is so different from just seeing or taking a quick photo. Sat in front of Van Gogh’s sunflowers sketching the painting meant that I spent hours looking at it, taking in every detail and noticing more than I ever would have done otherwise. I get so much more from drawing from life. A photograph is static, it doesn’t give you so many extra details; you can almost subconsciously add to your drawing the atmosphere, the sounds and the feeling. You also end up connecting to the people around you; whether it's from a worried glare, someone coming up to you for a chat or comment about your drawing or to take a photo. They all make funny anecdotes.
I’m lucky to have some lovely illustrator friends whom I can sit in cafes with and draw away. Having a community of people to share drawing and illustrating with encourages us all to stay motivated. Wherever you are there's always a drawing or art class that you can join if you were wanted to find fellow sketchers. In Edinburgh, there’s life drawing at Summerhall and courses on at the galleries. If you wanted to start a sketchbook of your own, it’s more important to have quantity rather than quality. You can do it in anyway that you want, it’s a place just for you, to make a mess, and get your worst drawings out so you can draw your best ones.
I still have many pages of this sketchbook to fill, and I hope I can add more imperfect drawings before the summer ends and my final year of illustration begins.
If you would like to follow my progress, keep an eye out on my Instagram @melaniegrandidge for more sketches. I hope you enjoy this little insight into my sketchbook, and that it helps you find the joy in keeping your own.