When Juliette started creating her own sketchbooks as an art therapy exercise back in 2012 she didn’t realise just how precious they would become to her and how the process of making them was a powerful form of medicine for her mind.
'In these incredibly challenging times, an opportunity to clear our minds of the everyday stresses and be distracted by doing something completely different is a wonderful thing and I hope you will be encouraged to have a go at creating your own sketchbook.
I have taught many reluctant artists over the years from teenagers to adults and I can honestly say that even the most stubborn pupils are inevitably wooed by the joys of creativity in the end. If less focus is put on what the outcome will be and more on the process itself, it can be a truly enjoyable experience. It doesn’t need to cost the earth either and I often use whatever’s to hand rather than invest in lots of specialist equipment, you’d be amazed at what can be created from your own kitchen store cupboard!
What even is a sketchbook anyway?! Well this can be very different things to different people - for me it is a collection of creative thoughts and a bible of ideas which I constantly refer to and use as inspiration for my products. Mine have very few actual sketches, they are more like a journal of explorations using different materials and processes and you can see some of my pages on my Instagram highlights @julietteodesigns
I have often sat at the front of a classroom with many self-conscious students lacking confidence in their creative abilities. A key point here - don’t take it too seriously, this is supposed to be fun after all! Also, you really don’t have to be good at drawing and who’s to say what a ‘good’ drawing is anyway?! Think less about sketching, more about having a creative celebration . The best results come when you are most relaxed - once you stop being too precious about your pages, that’s when the magic happens!
A sketchbook should be personal to the maker and it’s useful if you have a theme in mind too. One of my Adult Ed students did a great sketchbook based on her daily dog walks for example - it really doesn’t have to be overly complicated, just accessible. It’s an investigation, like a diary of thoughts and an opportunity to record ideas and consider possibilities.
Once you have made a start, with lots of inspirational visual information you can then refine your ideas and create an actual product with them i.e. a hand embroidered piece, a printed card, or a mini sculpture.
Creating can be like a healing balm for the soul!'