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8 Reasons to Keep a Sketchbook

Article By Kabita Das

How does art make you feel? Painting, drawing, sculpting and all other forms of art are typically regarded as a gateway to emotional expression. But what if this emotional expression was proven to be a healthy practice?

The field of research for art therapy has immensely grown in the past few years because scientists have uncovered the potential it has to treat patients in unprecedented ways. According to this article that combines the results from several studies, over the course of one year, adults with learning disabilities who engaged in individual art therapy sessions had significant improvements in their level of attention and mental acuity. Creative thinking allowed the many patients of these experiments to have significant mental improvements.

Art therapy is a valuable resource for anybody, however attending formal sessions is often difficult and out of reach. Thankfully, the therapeutic benefits of art are not limited to formal sessions, and there’s a way you can condense a similar practice into a spiral notebook. I’ve always kept my own sketchbook, and in the past two months, I’ve begun to take it more seriously. I consult it when emotionally troubled, when bored, and when inspired. While there is no perfect substitute for professional care, sketchbooks preserve the principle idea behind art therapy; art has the ability to heal.

Here are 8 reasons why I continue to sketch, and why you should too:

1. It’s an emotional release

My sketchbook knows everything about my worst days. If I’m too emotional to function like a normal human being, I consult my sketchbook and scribble my feelings away. It can be random and spontaneous; the act of drawing lines and writing words diverts my attention in ways other activities never can.

2. It’s cheap!!!

Sketchbooks are extremely affordable! If you take care of them right and use both sides of the page, they will last you a very long time. I spent five dollars on mine, and for college students with near empty piggy banks, that’s pretty good!


3. It improves your drawing

If there’s anything that’s going to help you improve your drawing skills, it’s going to be drawing every day. Practice makes perfect, and when sketchbooks are so easy to take places and fun to use, practice isn’t so hard to make time for!

4. It’s great for grocery lists!

A sketchbook is a great place to write down quick notes. Not all your sketchbook pages have to be purposefully artistic- in my sketchbook I write down things I need to remember, like books I want to read, or food I need to buy. You can think of your lists as art because ANYTHING can be art!

5. It gives you new ideas

When I regularly consult my sketchbook, there are lulls when I can’t envision a particular drawing. In those cases, I make random squiggles and lines and look for shapes and forms, and center my drawings off of that. This process is valuable as it allows your mind wander, and for you to record the places it goes. Think of it like a map to your day dreams!

6. It gives thoughts more confidence

When I draw, I take the smallest ideas and document them in my journal. By giving your thoughts physical space, you start to take them more seriously. Love your art, and call yourself an artist!

7. It develops style

Whether you choose to call yourself an artist or not, you can still develop your own style. Your sketchbook is a place where you can experiment with different techniques and materials; one day you might paint, another you might use a ballpoint pen. By trying every material and style under the sun, you can more consciously choose what suits you best.

8. Good Instagram Posts!

No matter what you draw your sketchbook is always insta-worthy! So with that, get yourself a sketchbook and fill those empty pages!




Writers of the Boston University chapter of Her Campus.
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