Sketchbooks and Ideas

Taking a moment to write about sketching ideas out just for pure enjoyment as well as planning a composition. Usually I don’t plan out compositions and they just come as I am painting. Sometimes I try to draw out a concept of what I want the painting to look like or a direction I want to go, but for the most part, I just go for it on painting days. Sketching for me is more for enjoyment and making sure I remember ideas. My mind is constantly drawing, painting, and creating as I walk, run, hike, even dream. I like to draw as much as possible so I can remember all the interesting images my mind creates.

I recently have found amazing sketchbooks from an artist on ETSY that I love. She creates the covers from dying paper with natural products from her garden. They are beautiful, you can find them on The range of paper she uses is what I am finding the most exciting. I bought one hot press paper book because I had never used this before, and I love how the paint bleeds easily and the color stays vibrant. I have not painted in the other small book I chose, but I am looking forward to it. The larger one is going to be the home of my tree sketches and intricate images of what I see in the bark.

Another field sketchbook I truly like is this tiny 4” x 4” book. I can take it anywhere in my backpack and it does not get damaged by the rough terrain or weather. The paper inside is different throughout the book and the comments on the item stated this as a problem. I see the fact that the paper is not similar and the texture causes the paint to dry in strange ways, more of a challenge, however, I love this book! It is fun and small and I really like painting tiny with fine details. I often use this book as a guide for future compositions on my tiny paintings or larger works.

I have recently found paper quality to be a great challenge with paint and what I want to do with my color spectrum. I had been working on a large piece for my October Newsletter and the paper quality was brilliant. The paint needed many layers and kept drying very light. This painting was one of the most demanding of my time and attention from the large works of art collection. Hence, I needed a few days to decompress and sketch painting is my favorite outlet from any frustration or setback. This is the main way that I relax and reset. What do you find enjoyable when you need a moment to yourself? Feel free to send me an answer at

-Karen Hilliard