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Why you should start a sketchbook for pastel drawings

Keeping a sketchbook is a time-honored activity most artists participate in. As a beginner, you can use your sketchbook in two ways:

Skill building: You practice drawing objects and people in quick sketches so that you don’t struggle with them when you make your pastel drawings. Spending as little as 15 minutes a day drawing objects in your sketchbook from observation (based only on what you see, not on what you think the object should look like) can make a huge difference in your skill level.
Idea generating: Sketchbooks are also receptacles for ideas, which is what seasoned artists use them for. You can sketch and write about your ideas, but you can also cut and paste articles and pictures into it. After you have used your sketchbook for a while, it becomes a rich journal, reflecting and recording your thoughts and attitudes about your life and view of the world.

Your sketchbook can be spiral bound or hardback, but choose one with good-quality paper that works well with your regular graphite pencil as well as with pastels. Everyone has his or her own preferences for size and shape. Some artists prefer small sketchbooks that fit in their back pocket or purse, and others carry around larger versions. After a bit of experimentation, you develop your own preferences based on your own life and work methods.

Your sketchbook is a volume of blank pages just waiting for you to fill them up. Throughout this book, you can find exercises to help you do just that. They provide directed practice that supports the longer projects and helps you build your skills.

Start your sketchbook with drawings of simple objects from around the house. These drawings are quick, no more than 20 to 30 minutes each. Use regular pencil (or pastel pencils if you have them already) and draw each of the following objects on a separate page: a ball, a book, and a cup. Be sure to work from the actual objects and not from what they look like in your mind.

A sketchbook is for notes as well as drawings. Make two columns on a page in your sketchbook. In one, write what you think your strengths are as you begin making pastel drawings. In the other, write what you think you may struggle with.

Finally, include a specific goal for your work in pastels. That may just be to find a pastime that you enjoy, or it may be something loftier like exhibiting your work in a local gallery. Making a note of this goal helps you plan your journey as you work.

This author writes about Home Plans and Designs and Easy Wooden Projects. Visit the Snowman Yard Decor website for unique Christmas decoration ideas.
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