Monday, April 15, 2013

Tales From The Sketchbook

'Ever Watchful' 
9 x 12 inches graphite and white colored pencil
$45 plus $7 US shipping, or $15 International 

A few weeks ago I somehow ended up looking through a bunch of my old sketchbooks. I found one from 2004 that was my first sketchbook that I worked in nearly every single day. Most of my other ones were very hit and miss. I was absolutely amazed at the difference between the sketch on the first page of the book, and the one on the last page. Here they are: 

 First page sketch 2004

Last page sketch 2004 

Kind of a big difference don't you think? I almost couldn't believe it. 

As I looked through this book I could remember almost exactly how I felt with each sketch. The first pages were filled with insecurity and doubt, and a lot of not knowing what I was doing. But there was also such a desire to improve, to learn as much as I could, and most of all a passion for drawing. By the end of the book I remember feeling so much more confident, and also I remember it being more of an intuitive process, where my mind wasn't actively thinking about how to draw, I was just drawing. Where as in the beginning my mind was filled with 'rules' and what not to do.

After I closed that book I wanted to get back to sketching a lot. So when I saw that Strathmore had come out with these new sketchbooks with tan paper you can bet I snapped that baby up faster than Uncle Si could say 'Hey Jack!' 

But then when it actually came time to sketch in my new, pretty book I kind of froze. The first two sketches were horrible. And I mean Horrible. Un-redeemable. I ripped them out and threw them away, which was very liberating. 

I am pretty superstitious about my art creating rituals. I don't like to skip pages in my sketchbook because then I think I won't be able to make great sketches after that. I have a paint brush that is totally beat up and basically unusable but I always keep it next to me while I'm painting because I secretly think that it's the key to a successful painting. If I'm struggling with a certain area of a painting I have to put 'Hysteria' by Muse on my iPod and that will instantly make everything better. Yes I am a weirdo, I openly acknowledge this.;)

Then finally I did a sketch that I was happy with. The deer sketch is the first successful sketch in my new book. :) And I'm so excited to do the next one. Huzzah and onward to the next!


  1. Incredible drawings - I enjoy looking back on old sketchbooks too.

  2. I have the cover and hard back of most of my sketch books only, as all efforts get rip! I enjoyed my visit.

  3. LOVE these sketches, Crystal....especially the first one of the deer! I just adopted an Italian greyhound/chihuahua mix which looks exactly like her! she's adorable but unfortunately has a nasty streak so now I need a trainer, quickly!!! What a difference from when you first started and now!! Wow!!!

  4. A big difference. It is nice to see progress, see where you were and where you are now. =)

  5. The deer sketch is so delicate and oozes the character of the animal. Really wonderful post, Crystal, enjoyed it.

  6. Love your sketching. Unfortunately my sketch book ends up being a place where I make shoppings lists, write dreams, ideas, and sometimes make a sketch or two. Someday I'll devote the entire book to sketches. Until then I'll look at yours. :)

  7. Thank you for sharing this with us!

  8. Your deer sketch is beautiful and the perfect way to start your new sketch book!

  9. What an amazing example of artistic growth. Thanks for sharing it. Your first sketch still looks better than most of what I paint now. :)

    I love your work, Crystal! Great sketch - all of them. XOXO

  10. My dear Crystal, the deer sketch is sublime! And I so enjoyed your sharing of some of your creative quirks :)

  11. lovely sketch of the dear, just so well done. and the difference from the first sketch to the last is stunning!! what do you use to get such rich darks and shading?

    i'm so freaked out when i sit down to sketch, although it's all i'd been thinking about. it's so hard to start and warm up but once we get out past the breakers is clear sailing.

    beautiful work as always my friend!

  12. me again..sorry...obviously i meant deer!

  13. Goodness! I can really see such a difference! The first sketch is so sweet but I can definitely see how confident you are in the last page. Just wow!

  14. Lovely sketches, Crystal! I sometimes happen to skip a page in a sketchbook, by accident. Funny but I don't like it either and don't usually go back to the blank one but just tear it out.

  15. Love seeing/hearing about the transition as you developed your own style and the naturalness of it when the rules fade to the background and don't dominate anymore. I also love your rituals, we all have them I'm sure, but we might not be as mindful of them as you are!

  16. Well, there's a plug for perseverence! I really need to sketch more. I go on kicks here and there and then forget.
    Do what you need to get beautiful results ;)

  17. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this!!! Oh those dewy eyes!!
    I just adore your sketches - first and last - but the tanned paper really does work so well for sketching doesn't it?
    Maybe you could post a link for it - I want one, lol! :0)


Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment they really do mean so much to me! Because not all bloggers have their email enabled so I can reply directly through email I will try to reply here in the comments. If I don't please forgive me, life must have been hectic that day! :)) Huzzah!!

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