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The best way to get better at drawing is by…. drawing! This is why I have a sketchbook in my handbag.
As an artist who struggles to capture all sorts of different things I sometimes wish that I could just snap my fingers and somehow magically know how to capture an object or figure. I often look at other artists and envy the apparent ease with which they put pen or pencil down on paper. What is often behind this skill is years of practice and bookshelves filled with sketchbooks.
I normally have several sketchbooks on the go at once. I have two studio sketchbooks that I use for planning out new artworks, a travel sketchbook that goes in my backpack when we head out on walks or for holidays, and finally I have my handbag sketchbook.
My handbag sketchbook measures only 12.5cm wide by 9cm high. It can fit in a large pocket if necessary and fits in my handbag perfectly (I like to keep my handbag small otherwise it becomes a large black cavern for collecting stuff). I keep the sketchbook inside a ziplock bag (this keeps it dry and clean) with a Staedtler pigment liner pen.
I also have a small travel set of coloured pencils in case I want to record the colour of anything. These come in a handy little tube that also has a pencil sharpener built in.
My handbag sketchbook gets used a lot when I am waiting for things…
Waiting for the Art Deco Parade to start in Napier…
Waiting for the planes to take off at the airfield…
And this is what happens if I’m waiting and I don’t have my handbag sketchbook.
Occasionally I will use these sketches to develop a print, but mostly its just a way to practise drawing lots of different things. It’s not an essential in most people’s handbag, but it has become an essential part of mine.