Sketching Under Challenging Circumstances

11:14 AM

Sketching New Additions To The Studio…
While Tired From Moving
If you read the prior post about 13 Things I Wish I'd Known When I Started Journaling and you kindly refer to number 12, you'll note that I mention every page will not be a winner.

When we're tired, stressed, sad, mad, distracted, worried or otherwise challenged, it's a bit much to think we're going to turn out pages we like (again, please note, I did NOT say pages that are perfect).

Does that mean you shouldn't sketch?

It means you absolutely should sketch. Quite often, when we sketch under these conditions, it becomes more about the process rather than the end result.

It also means you should manage your expectations.

When you know you're sketching under adverse conditions, set your expectations to match and then sketch away.

Do not mistake this approach for an excuse to sketch halfheartedly. Do your best even under these circumstances.

If it turns out not-so-good, you won't be surprised and you might just find yourself with a real, raw page that helped you process the emotion of the moment.

The sketch above was done after some intense moving and shuffling of furniture and all the shi...stuff piled around it.

I recently found myself to be the proud owner of two new-to-me oak printer cabinets. They used to store type and logo blocks in these cabinets. They're heavy, cumbersome beasts.

I'm thrilled to have all those fabulous drawers to stash supplies in. With any luck, I may just get organized! Oh, what a thrill that thought brings. (Seriously.)

However, I can't say I'm thrilled with the sketches above when I evaluated just the quality of the sketches and page. It's okay and it certainly hold a likeness of each cabinet. I'd like to think if I had not been so exhausted I wouldn't have smeared the ink and the page would have held more appeal.

Still…am I disappointed in the page? No. It wasn't about the end product so much as a record of the cabinets and the day.

Why not? Because it's a record of what as well as of the exhaustion. It's got grit.

Is it pretty? No, but then a lot of life isn't pretty. Instead, it's real.

It is more than a record of the cabinets, when we bought them and their sizes.

(It also gave me the opportunity to test drive an Eversharp nib seated in a Noodler's Flex fountain pen—more on this after I do a bit more testing.)

I haven't yet decided if I'll add color or not. It would go a long way towards making the page more appealing, but as is, it speaks to my exhaustion which is part of what I want to remember.

What's Your Approach?
Journaling can take many forms for each of us during our journeys. Sometimes, it's about the pretty page as near perfect as we can make it. Other times, it's about sketching because we're learning or bored or trying something different.

And then there are those sketches that come about under adverse conditions. As an example, I sketched in my MIL's hospital room because that was how I dealt with my fear and worry. We knew she wouldn't recover. Talk about stressed? Oh yeah.

I'd not trade those sketches for anything. They're not pretty. They do, however, convey to me what words cannot. It helped me to process the emotions of that time just as the sketch above allowed me to process my exhaustion…and my excitement to have these two cabinets.

Do you sketch under adverse conditions? How does the process change for you?

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