Do you remember the first drawing you ever made? Probably not. We all come into contact with art as children. We create, color, paint, draw. We don’t learn how to do it, it comes natural. Art is a human instinct, and all we need to trigger it as children is a blank page and a box full of crayons.
But as we grow, society teaches us to control this instinct. We learn to color within the lines, to use colors that reflect reality as it is, to not press too hard on one side and too little on the other, in order to keep the color uniform. If you draw a pink and orange zebra, you will be taught it’s actually black and white, if you draw a black sun, you will be told to “correct” it to yellow. Gradually we learn to confine our creativity, often losing it completely.
It’s ironic how something that is so natural, fades away over time, while other things, less natural, become part of our daily routine, like reading and writing. This is why keeping a sketchbook could help you discover and explore your true self. What you choose to draw when you can draw anything says a lot about who you are.
“A sketchbook is the initial words that you say as an artist about how you feel about life. It’s that first draft,” according to Karla Ortiz. “A sketchbook kind of brings it back to that. I’m drawing because I’m still 5 years old on the inside and drawing is what I love to do. And here I can do it without worry, and here I can do it without judgment. This is where I fall in love again with what it is that I do.”
Karla is right. In your sketchbook you can draw, paint or color without following any rules, but just your own sense of aesthetics or whatever you are feeling. In fact looking at the page of someone’s sketchbook is like visualizing their subconscious, like really getting to know them.
“Sketchbooks are sacred,” says Iain McCaig as he shares his with us. “I would never sell them. They are like a little snapshot of your soul, and you don’t wanna lose your soul.”
THU and Lenovo release a new episode of the Sketchbook series on THU’s YouTube channel for free, every Friday. Seven episodes are already available online. This series takes you on a journey through the minds of different artists, who reflect upon art and life while flipping through the pages of their sketchbooks.
You don’t need to be an artist in order to enjoy this show. The way the creative human mind works is fascinating, and seeing exceptional artists like Nadezda, Bobby Chiu, and Gregory Manchess showing you what is not considered their best work, or sharing something personal that no one was meant to see, creates a strong bond between artist and viewer. The show might even inspire you to pull out your forgotten box of crayons and fill up that blank white page you’ve left empty for so long.