Emily M. DeArdo

writer

Visual Journals: My Sketchbooks

drawing, Sketchbook SkoolEmily DeArdo1 Comment

 

2015 brought a lot of surprises, but one of the biggest is that I found out I liked drawing. 

Until recently, I'd equated art with math--it was something other people were good at, but unlike math, it was something I could easily appreciate. I love going to art museums and fawning over the art. I've always wished I could do that. 

My art training was mostly art classes in school, grades K-8, which became progressively more challenging, but we didn't really learn anything about art--concepts or theories or really how to draw. It was, here's the project, do it. And I wasn't very good at it. Art seemed to elude me. I could paint ceramics decently (There was a once-a-month class at a local studio), but that was it. My art was going to have to be music and writing.

Proustian tea break!

Proustian tea break!

But one day last spring, while reading Melissa Wiley's blog, I discovered Sketchbook Skool. Melissa said they could turn even serious non artists into artists. It wasn't formal. It wasn't graded. But all sorts of different artists taught students various ways of drawing, of creating art. 

So I enrolled. I learned to play with colored pencils and watercolors, how to mix colors and blend colored pencils together. I grew more comfortable using pen that couldn't be erased. (Although sometimes it still makes me nervous!) I started carrying around a Moleskine watercolor sketchbook and drawing--sugar packets, fountains, whatever. 

And I found that I liked it, even when my drawings were wonky or not very good, or not what I imagined. 

the bunkbeds at my grandma's house. I'm glad I drew this because the beds have since been dismantled. 

the bunkbeds at my grandma's house. I'm glad I drew this because the beds have since been dismantled. 

I've noticed that my drawings are getting better--meaning they meet my expectations. I am really happy when I manage to blend just the right color of a madeleine with my pencils, or get the shadows right in a watercolor. 

Last week, I finished my first Moleskine sketch journal. I didn't think I'd do that, when I first bought it. I thought that maybe I would really hate art and just leave it to sit in a corner somewhere, with really bad pencil marks marring a few pages. 

But it didn't. All the pages are filled. 

Now I have three more sketchbooks in progress--it's gone mad, I know. :) One is another Moleskine watercolor sketchbook, for my Sketchbook Skool classes--I like having the thick watercolor paper for that, and the larger size. The second is my Moleskine Art journal that I use when I travel. I really liked having it with me when I was in Boston and it's definitely coming to LA with me. 

from the Boston sketch pages. 

from the Boston sketch pages. 

Lastly is a red Moleskine art journal that's for home. By "home", I mean drawing things around here--what I eat at Starbucks during my sketch days, drawings of my house, my parents' house, buildings around my town, etc. I'm having a lot of fun with it so far. 

I'm in no way going to be a professional artist. But drawing taps into my creativity in a different way than writing. I like to think it complements it. I'll never stop keeping my written journals, but I don't think I'll stop sketching now, either. Maybe I just need to buy stock in Moleskine, since I use their journals for both writing and drawing!

 

impressions of my Christmas tree. 

impressions of my Christmas tree. 

In 2016, I'm hoping to take two more Sketchbool Skool classes, at least--Stretching and Storytelling--and continue filling the pages of my art journals. 

What new skills did you pick up in 2015?