While (still) waiting for the larger sized Pentalic Aqua Journal to be released to the public, I decided to try out several sketchbooks that were gathering dust in my art supply bin.
I recently reviewed the first one I tried, the Holbein multimedia pad, and shared my unhappy results with it. Since we took the trip to D.C. and I spent days struggling with this sketchbook, I haven’t been able to get back into the swing of things with sketching. I feel out of kilter, as if I’ve somehow misplaced many of the skills that I’ve worked so hard to gain.
In other words, lately my sketches have been muck.
I’m trying to avoid giving into frustration, because I’ve been through this before, and I think I know what this discomfort means. During periods of growth and change, oftentimes the old skills no longer fit the new hand, and there is bound to be a period of disturbance.
Because lately I’ve been trying some new things. I’m also attempting to paint things and places that I didn’t have the guts to tackle before. Some of these new attempts are bound to be utter flops. Most of these new attempts are bound to be utter flops.
But I’m going to keep trying anyway.
I'm determined to not let a little self doubt taint something that gives me so much joy. Usually those times when we are hard pressed to give up are the moments we ABSOLUTELY SHOULD NOT QUIT. At the risk of sounding cliché, I'll risk saying it because it's true: It's often darkest right before the dawn.
So while I play the Aqua Journal waiting game, I’m now down to the last blank sketchbook that I have on hand, a Fabriano Venezia sketchbook (aka the "Venice book"). I first heard about this sketchbook while reading John Muir Laws’ recommended list of field sketching supplies. During a brief moment of bravery, I purchased the 9x12-inch size.
When I got it home, I chickened out and promptly filed it away. This large sketchbook was beautiful, but I felt too intimidated by so much white space. And there it has sat until now.
But beggars can’t be choosers, and I’ve been wanting to try a larger format for a while now, so I decided to give the Venezia sketchbook a whirl. Why not, right?
And my first attempt in it was such a flop, I can’t even bring myself to finish the page. That's it above. What a mess.
But I’m going to keep trying anyway.
I’m not quite ready to review this sketchbook. I need to use it more before I issue a verdict. My second sketch (the one of the chapel above) went a little better, even though I drew something (here I go again) completely out of my comfort zone. After I give this sketchbook a thorough test drive, I’ll be happy to share a full review.
In the meantime, I thought you might want to give one a whirl also. So to encourage you to try new things, I'm giving away a 6x9-inch version of this sketchbook. John Muir Laws also recommends Winsor & Newton's Cotman watercolor set for beginners, so if you are just starting out, I thought I’d throw in one of these little goodies also.
So be an audacious fool like me and get out there and paint. Go big. Attempt to draw something that intimidates you, that you’ve never had the guts to tackle before. And if you belly flop, keep trying anyway.
And by the way, let me know how you like the Venice book. I’ll be testing out mine alongside you and would highly value a second opinion.
P.S. Just in case you were wondering, I eventually reviewed the Venice sketchbook at this post.
Fabriano Sketchbook & Watercolor Giveaway [CLOSED]
Enter to win a 6x9-inch Fabriano Venezia sketchbook and a 12-color pocket set of Winsor & Newton Cotman watercolors with a mini brush. (Pictured above.)