For today’s sketchbook practice, I am working on making two handmade idea journals. The bright colored journal will be for immediate ideas and things that need to get done right away, while the more muted colored journal will be for long-term and/or not immediately actionable ideas such as art supply recommendations that I’d really like try some day.
During the #FindYourFlow program, Karen Abend discussed idea journals as a way to help us stay motivated when completing a daily practice. It’s often difficult to come to a blank page so flipping through an idea journal can help to kickstart creativity. I have realized since beginning this journey that I desperately need a way to stay organized with all the ideas and suggestions I’ve been receiving.
I’m part of several courses right now, and I’ve got several different projects going, too. Ideas, recommendations, and suggestions are flowing to me at a high rate of speed, and I’m having a difficult time managing them all. These idea journals will help me to keep everything organized in a color-coded way. It will be beneficial to my daily practice to have my ideas in a centralized place rather than being scattered on scraps of paper, photos I’ve taken with my phone, e-mails, and web and social media posts I’ve saved. These journals will also help me to get these ideas out of my head to free up more space for creativity since I won’t have to use that mental space trying to make sure I don’t forget something.
I am feeling quite fatigued today, so I thought it would be best to return to something familiar and not too taxing. So, for today’s sketchbook entry, I returned to Nina Rycroft‘s #EmojiMe Skillshare class where I picked up where I left off with anger. I also wanted to practice sketching with graphite again rather than my beloved blue pencil. Sketching with graphite was a challenge as was trying to draw an angry face. This took a lot more work than I expected. Happy faces seem to come somewhat naturally to me, but angry faces do not. I had to keep erasing and redoing the eyes and mouths in an attempt to make my characters actually look angry. The characters that did finally emerge are intriguing to me. They have a story to tell which is something that I don’t usually feel with the happy characters that I’ve drawn.
I am very happy that, even with my fatigue, I figured out something to do, and I sat down and did it. Once I got started, my attention was diverted from the intense fatigue I was feeling, and was fully focused on the process of sketching. I have been doing at least one sketch a day for the last 45 days which is quite an accomplishment for someone who hadn’t drawn for years and never even had a sketchbook. I owe my renewed commitment to developing my artistic skills to Karen Abend and the support she offered in her two amazing programs #SketchbookRevival and #FindYourFlow. I am looking forward to seeing where my commitment to this journey leads me.
Today is the last day of the #FindYourFlow challenge, and it is bittersweet. I am proud that I completed all thirty days even under some very difficult and unusual circumstances. I proved to myself that I can do art no matter what and that art does not mean perfection. Another accomplishment is that I have filled my first sketchbook ever!
Sketchbook Revival and then Find Your Flow have set me on the path I’ve always wanted to be on and didn’t know how to get to. Thank you Karen Abend for shining a bright light and showing me the way with ease, compassion, love, and support.
Another unexpected result of the challenge is that I’ve made a blog post every day for thirty days! Another first in my life!
I’m not sure what’s next. Today has been a difficult day physically so I have not been able to do the reflections and make a new plan yet. No matter what I decide, I will keep making art a daily requirement. In the meantime, I have started watching the #womanunleashed videos which have given me much needed inspiration to keep going with this daily practice. I’m looking forward to sharing with you whatever comes next.
Today I decided to create a watercolor celebrating all of us. Another member had shared her piece of heart art to celebrate the completion, and I thought I would do the same. I hold so much gratitude for all the members, Karen Abend, and also Nina Rycroft for her amazing Skillshare videos which were a reliable companion to me throughout these thirty days.
Below is the heart watercolor. I love how, even though they were random, the lines from the watercolor drips found a way to connect the hearts, just like how we all are now connected.
Below is also the paper towel I used as it created its own really cool art.
Much love to you all ❤️
For today’s sketch, I decided to continue with Nina Rycroft’s Emoji Me class and created a character with a surprised expression. Over this nearly thirty days, I’ve gotten quicker with the character sketches and have also been figuring out what artist’s tools work best for me.
I’m still not sure what I’m going to do after the #FindYourFlow program ends tomorrow. I may just start working through the many books I purchased from Sketchbook Revival artists or take advantage of some courses I’ve got waiting for me. My creative mind is on fire and wants to do everything all at once, but I know that leads to overwhelm and then giving up. In the next day or two, I’m going to do what Karen Abend has taught us, make a plan and set an intention for whatever I decide to do next.
What I think I will miss most is the accountability of being part of the group and the thirty-day challenge. Well…really more than those…I will miss the input of group members that have made me feel that what I’m doing is not futile and a waste of time. Sometimes it feels like that when you’re all alone. So I say with the deepest gratitude, thank you to all of you. This has been an incredible experience.
And to Karen Abend, you are a rockstar! I have no idea how you managed to respond to every single post from every single member with thoughtful comments, but you did. You are truly amazing and have jumpstarted the latent creativity of so many of us through your programs. To you I say: thank you, thank you, thank you ❤️❤️❤️
Two projects I’ve been working on are coming to a close – the #FindYourFlow thirty-day challenge and the #StorytellingFlow six-week course. As the end of the month gets closer, I can feel my anxiety rising. What’s next???
There are so many options, and nothing is really calling to me like Sketchbook Revival and then Find Your Flow and Storytelling Flow did. I don’t know what to choose, and I’m running out of time. I don’t want to lose the momentum that’s been created over the last several months. I know I need some kind of accountability in order to stick with my creative practice on a daily basis, but most of what is available to me does not include that essential component. Oh…What to do? What to do?
For today’s daily practice I continued with Nina Rycroft’s Emoji Me Skillshare course. This is a representation of sadness which is right in line with how I feel when I think about the ending of #FindYourFlow. I used Derwent Inktense pencils for the color.
Two more days…sigh…and it will be over. BUT, I will have my first full sketchbook! What an accomplishment!
I decided to go back to character sketches for today’s sketchbook practice. This is a representation of “joy” from Nina Rycroft’s Emoji Me Skillshare class. I used Raffine Aquarelle watercolor pencils for the color.
It felt good to get back to character sketches because I really connect with my intuition when I’m drawing characters. There is this little voice or pull (it’s hard to put it into words) that will say, “There needs to be a different chin there,” or “The jaw should be rounded here and here.” The best I can describe it is like being able to see in my mind’s eye a characteristic before it exists on the page. I could have a square jaw already drawn, but the sketch will keep calling for a round jaw until I change it. This fascinates me, but also causes some irritation because what I set out to draw is never what comes out on the page. Oh well 🙂
I found myself wanting to get all serious with my sketchbook practice today. I wanted to return to the seriousness of sketching characters, get back to what I started during the first half of the #FindYourFlow challenge. But…my mind wanted play. The watercolors kept calling me. I kept telling myself, “No, get back to the character sketches.” I kept procrastinating. Then some new watercolor brushes came in the mail. I got super excited. Set up my table to do watercolor, try them out. But then my serious mind said, “No, get back to the character sketches.” I put the watercolors and brushes away. Procrastinated again. Then my son’s therapist arrived for his session, and I thought, “I will just play with the new brushes while she is here.” That worked to bypass my critical mind. And…dare I say it, I had FUN creating today’s sketchbook entry. Character sketches will have to wait for another day…or more 😉
Today I thought about the journey…the artistic journey…the life journey we are all on…the way there are no straight lines, no direct route from point A to point B. There are times we fall off the path completely, then by magic or sheer will, we seem to pick back up right where we left off, sometimes many, many years later.
There are dark patches in our paths where it feels like we will never see light or vibrant colors again, but no matter how bad it’s been, the light and colors eventually come back as does the darkness. Again and again we follow this circuitous path towards what…well, I don’t know. Maybe, it is a journey back to ourselves, to our core, to our heart center.
I imagine it is a journey of shedding all we’ve been taught, those things that we believe blindly, that have become a part of who we are, but that do not serve us in any way except to keep us tethered to our feelings of worthlessness, of not being good enough, of not being deserving of all the goodness the Universe has to offer. I am starting to become aware of those beliefs, those messages that were given to me by family, advertising, friends, lovers, and so many others. It makes me angry that I so easily took them on as my own without question. What might my life look like if I excavated those beliefs and exposed them for the falsehoods that they are? Who might I be then? What might I create if my intention was to create only for the pleasure of creating and not for receiving validation, approval, and love from others?
I’m not feeling particularly motivated today. I’ve started to worry about where my sense of commitment will come from when the #FindYourFlow program ends on the thirtieth. Will I keep going? Will I convince myself that continuing doesn’t really matter when nobody’s looking? I have benefited so much from the group through the support and inspiration they offer, but most importantly, the accountability the group provides.
I am in the middle of another flare-up…the second one in less than a month after being free from them for nearly nine months. I am frustrated, hopeless, left once again not knowing what to do. It is strange when some unknown thing ravages your body unpredictably. I want to give up…crawl into bed and never get out…white flag waving. But I keep getting up, keep trying the next thing in case it is the answer, keep going and going. I think it’s time to get in touch with that part of myself that gets up despite everything telling her to stay down. Who is she? Where does she get her courage? Her tenacity? Her hope?
Despite my not feeling well, I still felt the importance of continuing with the daily practice. When I returned from vacation yesterday, my three rose bushes were ravaged by thousands of beetles. The roses bring me so much joy, and I could not ignore the similarities between their plight and my own. I have given them tender loving care, cutting back the parts that were no longer serving them, and I know soon enough they will spring back to life and bloom once again. My watercolor today symbolizes their fight for life, their beauty, despite the circumstances.
Today was a long day – another ten hour drive – this time heading home. When thinking about my sketch for the day while driving, I thought a watercolor of the road and surrounding forest would be fitting and representative of my experience today. It seemed there was only road and more road and more road.