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  • Writer's pictureVidya Shyamsundar

My Sketchbook Journey

I was never a sketchbook person. I never realized how valuable a sketchbook could be to uncover joy and frustration in one’s creative journey until I took the Find Your Joy & Find Your Voice courses taught by the artist Louise Fletcher.

As of now, I have three sketchbooks. I assure you there will be more in the future.

Sketchbook One is a documentation of my journey through the course, Find Your Joy. It’s an amalgamation of excerpts from course notes, insights from artists and writers, my explorative art exercises, and my desires and intentions.

Sketchbook Two has a collection of images of my favorite paintings from every subject and media I have explored over the past eight years, which includes a write-up about what worked and did not work for me. It is a sacred place holding my beliefs that I am worthy, valuable, and talented. They are there to live and not disappear.

Sketchbook Three has a collection of images of the artists’ works that I find inspirational and fascinating. I look at their works and write down my interpretations to understand what draws me to the piece. Is it the composition? Is it color harmony? Is it the mood? Is it the materials? Is it mark-making? Or something else? How does it resonate with me? Does it remind me of something? Answering these questions helps me link these pieces to my stories. I will share my learning and interpretations in my next blog, Steal Like an Artist.

I am finding my sketchbook exercises as a bridge for my self-exploration and growth.

I don't view my sketchbooks as a place to "wow" myself with beautiful and colorful drawings; instead, it is a safe place to record my thoughts and ideas in words and images so that I don't have to carry them in my head anymore.

The process of connecting the dots makes me feel authentic and vulnerable – peeling away my doubts, being non-judgmental, and original.

There is no pressure because I am not ruminating over my choices.

My sketchbook journals help me clear my creative and mental blocks and serve as a portal to make my dreams come true. It is a place for my curiosity and inspiration to make their way into fragments of ideas that eventually may develop into something I consider outstanding.

My Sketchbook is About Me. My Stories. My Actions. My Progress. My Constant Work. My Peaceful Place to be.

I am noticing and opening myself to experimenting with new things I used to shy away from trying. For example, I have always thought of color study as tedious. So, I never attempted to try. Disconnecting myself from this thought helped me find my approach to studying colors, and ironically, I enjoy documenting them even though it is laborious. Another one is my attempt to draw figures. There was no way that I could get myself to draw a human figure because I told myself repeatedly that I did not have experience and I would never get it right, so why bother? I got over that hurdle, and I am attempting to teach myself. It’s freeing when I am non-judgmental.

Thank you for your time!

Peace & Namaste,



Next Blog: Steal Like an Artist

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