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The Art of Sketchbooks

I like sketchbooks best.  I mean, often they are more exciting that the finished article.  They have layers of work and re-work, layers of meaning, of frustration, anxiety, joy and pain.  The best sketchbooks are also brimming with ideas, and show the artist’s journey in a ‘warts and all’ way. This made me excited about attending the forthcoming conference dedicated to the subject.  AccessArt has been working to promote the creative use of sketchbooks, notebooks or journals for many years. They’ve been keen to highlight the idea of the “sketchbook mentality” – a frame of mind which enables use of sketchbooks to become habitual – embedded in life, so that natural urges to observe, collect, comment, create and share take place via the sketchbook which is carried around like a best friend.

The real trick that sketchbooks have up their sleeve, is that because they belong to the person, not the subject, they have the power to connect all aspects of a person’s life experience. Keeping a sketchbook should be a rich, uplifting and enabling experience – reminding us that the creative journey is perhaps more important than any outcome.
The Sketchbook Conference (in March this year) explores the powerful potential of sketchbooks to motivate, inspire and enable.  The morning will be spent understanding the vast potential of sketchbooks: Eileen Adams, the Campaign for Drawing, will explore how sketchbooks make time and space for drawing, and Paula Briggs and Sheila Ceccarelli from AccessArt will explore the power of sketchbooks to transform thought and action. Just before lunch the fun really starts with active sketchbook making workshops, and then after lunch a varied workshop programme will enable delegates to choose from workshops led by teachers, architects, textile artists and writers. Felicity Allen, artist, writer Your Sketchbook Your Self (Tate 2011) will also be presenting and leading the plenary. See the confirmed line up to date at http://www.accessart.org.uk/events/?p=185
Access Art are also planning a sketchbook handling exhibition – people will be invited to loan examples of their sketchbooks towards a handling exhibition, and a Sketchbook Wonder Wall: this will provide an opportunity for you to network and chat – via a virtual wall. Imagine social networking combined with good old fashioned pen and paper. Access Art will provide the wall, and you can scrawl your sketchbook problems/solutions/issues/opportunities/contacts.
The Conference is going to be a fantastic opportunity to meet like-minded people and to be re-fuelled, energised and inspired. The conference is suitable for all levels of experience, from complete novice to practised advocate and in particular is aimed at empowering teachers and facilitators, who can then pass on the “sketchbook mentality” to the audiences they represent as well of course as developing their own creative capacity.
The Sketchbook Conference
March 19th
01223 262134

Posted by author: Jane Parry
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4 thoughts on “The Art of Sketchbooks

  • Am inspired to take my sketchbooks further by reading this, Jane. And the conference sounds great, if you’re going to be there I hope you will post about it afterwards.
    Thanks for this.

  • This is just what I needed to get back into my sketchbook work with a vengeance.I love the idea of a virtual wall.I hope we get to see your work after the conference, to generate further enthusiasm.

  • There is an exhibition on in Lincoln at the Usher Gallery part of the Collection where you can see 200 sketchbooks and actually look at them. It is open Monday to Saturday from 10am-4pm and finishes on 6 March. Well worth seeing especially as it gives you ideas.

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