Starting a creative project is similar to jumping into a cold mountain lake. You know you want to do it, but as your toes curl around the edge of the pontoon you can’t quite get yourself to jump. I get that feeling right after clamping a 48” x 48” canvas to my easel.
Confession: I take the ladder in.
The way I ease myself into any new project is via my sketchbook. It is a compendium of false starts, brilliant insights, and random juxtapositions. It is a private, undisciplined space, my first port of call after pre-visualization. It is fertile ground for budding ideas and cold storage for red herrings.
A notebook is a fertile ground for budding ideas and cold storage for red herrings.
I highly recommend anyone who needs to keep a myriad of ideas, thoughts, and projects in their head to keep a notebook. It should be small enough that it is portable, so it can accompany you during your commute to work, during a stroll in your neighbourhood, or while you’re having a latte at your favourite coffee shop – it goes where you go.
Finding the notebook that’s perfect for you can be a bit of a challenge. You may prefer a certain size and thickness, or a specific kind of paper. Kim likes her notebook pages to alternate between ruled paper and blank paper, so she can take notes and also make sketches. I like my sketchbooks to include watercolour paper, tracing paper, and some coloured paper. That’s pretty much impossible to find, so I came up with an idea: I make my own sketchbooks.
I make my own sketchbooks.
It’s a lot easier than it sounds. I am a bit of a hoarder – I collect interesting scraps of paper in a large storage box. Once in a while I pull all the paper out and cut it to size with a guillotine. I prefer square sketchbooks (where every side is up) and a wild mix of different papers. Once the paper is cut I bring it to my local copy shop where they spiral bind my paper stack for a few dollars. And – violà – my perfect notebook!
Try this for yourself. You’ll be surprised at how much interesting paper you can rustle up once you start rummaging through your office and home.
You’ll find that once you collect your thoughts and ideas in one place your creative process will be richer and more complex.
Do you have a perfect notebook? Share it with us!