Here's a revisit of the sketchbook I created in Menorca.

And here are my sketchbooks from Gozo.

So, now that you are back from your travels or explorations, it is time to take stock and see what you've done. At this stage, your sketchbook may look a bit 'gappy' and also, if like me you have been drawing in black pen/charcoal, it can look a bit dull.

The studio based tutorials that follow in Session 8 and 9 should change that. Your book should start to come together as an expression of your unique travelling experience.

What is a sketchbook for? I see it as a place to experiment and capture ideas,to collect images and to start the process of designing for whatever it is you will create after. I have spoken of the accidental happenings along the way and the interesting, unplanned developments that you start to see occurring.

It is easy to give up on a drawing or a piece of art without really understanding our frustrations. Work out why you don't like it, and try to find a solution to make it better. When I teach workshops I find we are too quick to stop rather than finding a different way forward. This problem solving aspect of mixed media sketchbooks is one of the reasons I find them rewarding, there are different ways I can develop a drawing, with another drawing over the top, with collage, with pattern elements, with contrast of scale.


If you are not feeling confident, or a drawing doesn't go as expected, it is easy to give up on it when sometimes I think we need to work through the challenge. Instead of stopping, I work on top, I might collage over part of a piece, or add other elements. I stop and think what the piece was about, why did I stop and draw a specific place, what attracted me to it? Have I communicated that with my drawing? I might collage over some areas to give focus to the central element, the reason why I started a picture. If it still goes horribly wrong, you've tried, you have understood how you might approach it next time, and you can stick a piece of paper over it!

Art is about problem solving. Each piece works in some ways but not in others (and this can be down to perception). You find your creative flow by noticing what hasn't worked and by finding a new way to do it next time. 

Sit with your sketchbook and go through it page by page. Don't be judgemental. Notice what worked and what didn't. Notice what you would do differently if you were to do it again.

Now you need to make your 'voice' stronger and communicate what it is that you are trying to 'say' in your book. So, be clear, perhaps writing down your strongest memories of what you experienced before the memories fade. In Menorca, my book was about the patchwork of buildings and the decorative ironwork. In Gozo, doors feature a lot as well as pattern from the tiles.

Begin to 'embellish' your sketchbook. Add in some bold colour, collage some doorways, paint in the sky, ink in the shapes behind a plant that you have drawn. 


If there are pages that you hate with a passion, they can 'disappear' beneath a layer of paper, or two pages can be stuck together, but don't be too quick to judge, wait until you have completed Session 8 and 9 before you get busy with the glue! :)

How is your book looking? Have you resolved some pages by adding in to them? Show us what you have added. 

How did it feel to not work in sequence in your book? Did you keep drawing throughout your holiday? Did you have any breakthrough moments? Are you following your instincts and working more intuitively? 

Have your ideas changed about what a sketchbook is? Are you seeing it as a process rather than a series of completed images? Is this helping your creative flow? Tell us more....

Click grid images to see full size images.

Pages from my sketchbook where I have started to develop the layers to include paint and ink washes over drawings as well as sections of collage to create a contrast of scale. Larger shapes bring focus to the finer drawn marks, help create perspective and focus.


Helen Hallows


Nurturing Creativity since....

© 2009-2020 Helen Hallows

Copyright of all art works remains with the artist Helen Hallows 

Online course content, blog posts and all design and written content remains the intellectual property of Helen Hallows. Please do not reproduce without permission. All rights reserved.


Nottingham, UK

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