Sketchbook woes – part 1

One of my objectives on this whole MA journey was to learn how to communicate visually. It was important to me to overcome a fear of drawing, sketchbooks and art language. I wanted to develop a visual language, and learn ways to communicate my ideas. I envisaged that I would be taught how to do those things as part of the course.

I even ventured to life drawing class! Thank you Oliver Lovley for living up to your name

The phrase ‘Just have fun with it’ began to haunt me, I felt like my rescue pup, faced with a range of toys and tennis balls, not having played with a human before. I didn’t know how to ‘play’, let alone have fun and enjoy it. I had no idea how to explore ideas on paper, in fabric or on a computer. I began my own hashtag #sketchbookwoes and dreaded drawing. But I kept trying and attended drawing workshops and life drawing classes, determined to face that fear. I found I enjoyed using ink, it had an intensity of colour that appealed, and I splashed it around with abandon, but without knowing how to take it further.

Click on the gallery below to see some of my trials…


My poor friends listened to me with great patience as I outlined my woes, even loaning or giving me art materials to try with. Thank you Rachel and Gail for your support! Rachel and I went to a sketchbook class taught by the super-talented, patient and understanding artist Helen Hallows. We packed up our materials and papers and turned up at a fantastic eco-venue in Derbyshire. Helen turned the light on for me. She took us through various exercises to loosen up and forget that we were drawing. I tried continuous line drawing with a pen for the first time and that was it. I found had my style, my method and my medium.

[Edit – additional 2020 -I’ve developed a continous writing style, and in later posts you’ll see how I’ve pushed that further into picots (edges loops) and brides (joins between motifs).]

Just don’t tell me to play!