If you’re a ‘visual artist’, the received wisdom is that you should ‘keep’ a sketchbook (that’s what they say). Not just keep – use. And that’s where the hating starts. You hate the purveyors of that wisdom, and you hate yourself. It’s the guilt: you’ve bought an expensive sketchbook (that you loved when you saw it in the art shop) and you can’t wait to use it. Except that it’s too gorgeous to use: the white textured weave of the Moleskine is too intimidating – its pristine surface has a force field that repels all but the most confident user (and you can’t easily tear pages out). And so you keep it… ‘Can’t wait to use that Moleskine I bought!’ In the meantime, you’re keeping a sketchbook, and not ‘keeping’ a sketchbook.

So – buy cheap sketchbooks, and be uninhibited about what you put in them. Because a sketchbook is an essential tool: it’s a resource, and if it’s used regularly, you’re putting down your reactions to your surroundings, your life experiences, your ideas, to draw on, in both ways. It’s a great way of filling boring situations. It makes you really observe your surroundings, and it is its own moment. And, as the received wisdom goes, it’s a primary resource, and what you do in it sometimes transcends the more finished piece. And if you can get over the fear of an expensive surface, it’s a sensual joy to drag your pen pencil brush across that ridged thick white page.

Look, this is just me working out some issue here. Don’t let me make you feel guilty.

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