Sketching Small

New York Sketches

I used to always use this size of sketchbook. And I still do, for sketching patterns and things like that. But I’ve made a big change (for me) in the sketchbook size I use for sketching when I’m out and about. I used to think that I needed the bigger sketchbook to add all the details etc that I wanted in my sketches.

But when I was doing the #100dayproject (see all my sketches here) I started dividing the pages into smaller squares and I realised that I quite liked the smaller size! I was still able to get quite a lot of detail into the sketches. But it was easier to make a quick sketch in the small format (duh!!) and generally I was happier with the small quick sketches than the large quick sketches.

Aarhus Vadestedet

So I ordered a couple of A6 watercolour sketchbooks to see what it would be like. The A6 sketchbooks are bigger than the small square sketches I did in the large sketchbook so it wouldn’t be quite as small.

Edinburgh St Cuthbert Church
St Cuthbert, Edinburgh

And you know what? I really like the small sketchbook! I’m really surprised. I think what kept me from trying a smaller format was…maybe that it didn’t seem like a ‘proper’ sketch if it was small. But, hello(!) sketches are not supposed to be big or ‘finished’ or whatever. Now that I’m thinking/writing about it, I remember the J.M.W. Turner sketchbooks I saw at Tate Britain a few years ago and they really spoke to me. And guess what? They were pretty small (sketchbooks being portable is a key feature!) and loose and I actually preferred those to his finished paintings.

So. If Turner could do small sketches, I think it’s ok if I step outside of my ‘must use a large sketchbook’ box. :-D

Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle

I am really enjoying the small size. And I love that it doesn’t take up a lot of space. It doesn’t quite fit in my back pocket but it certainly fits in my small handbag so I can take it pretty much anywhere.

And I made a tiny watercolour set using an old mint pastil box. See it in action here. Sketchbook, pen, water brush pen and that tiny watercolour set and I can sketch anywhere. I wish I hadn’t been so set in my ways and tried a small sketchbook sooner. I love that I can just whip it out and make a quick sketch while waiting for a bus or whatever. It really is helping me sketch more because now I have no excuses not to! :-D

Edinburgh Leven Street

This page I had pre-painted with shimmery white watercolour. You can’t really see the effect in a photo, but check it out here. I found I really love sketching on pages that are already coloured. It books take away the fear of the white page and can really add unexpected effects to the sketches. See the sketches at the top. I did those with a different background colour for each and I love how they turned out.

Here’s to more small sketching! :-) ♥

Edinburgh Royal Mile
Edinburgh Royal Mile
New York Sketches
New York
New York Sketches
New York
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