Sketchbooks: Collections of Daydreams, Plans, and Memories

Many times you may find an artist, whether it is a famous film director such as Guillermo del Toro, who is the mastermind behind numerous fantastical works such as The Shape of Water (2017), or an amateur in a college classroom, possessing a sketchbook. Sketchbooks are vital for both professionals and budding artists alike, as they are essentially the “wardrobes” or “archives” that store their ideas and creativity. While it is common to assume sketchbooks are only for people who have an interest in art, they do not necessarily have to be tools for art making. Especially during times such as winter, when going outside becomes a difficulty and indoors your main domain, sketchbooks are ideal subjects to direct your pent-up feelings and boredom to. Creating art, without being concerned of the quality or content, helps "bolster mental and emotional health...reduce pain, counter fatigue and promote general physical wellness

Practice art:

Of course, although it is not a rule inscribed in stone, sketchbooks are used for practicing drawing, painting, and other artistic activities. Whether it is for life drawing or anatomy practice, sketchbooks are essential for artists; honing and polishing their skills or mapping out "blueprints" of projects. This applies to not only skilled artists but also to beginners as they offer chances and space for development. Being an artist myself, the better quality of my art owes to the long hours (and subsequent amount of pages) used for practice. Although it may seem an overused statement, "practice makes perfect" stands very true for many including myself. So for those who have never or are interested in practicing art, it is never too late to start. 

Record vital moments:

Sketchbooks do not always act as mere places for drawings; they can also be diaries for recording vital events, times, and scenes. I personally have long used sketchbooks as mediums for storing my memories, particularly during vacations where there is much to see and blissful moments are spent. In tandem with putting these intangible subjects onto paper, inspirational material may also be stored as well as these moments can lead to future drawings or similar projects. As so, sketchbooks can become lifetime assets as they allow going back to past memories that you found were pleasing or vital during your lifetime. In other words they are "albums" that capture your favorable scenes and possibly influence your later works. For example, I often sketch colorful, ephemeral scenes since they last for a short time or shift quickly - a brilliant sunset behind a palm grove with the smell of salt wafting in the air - such moments pass by so quickly and may never happen in the same way again. 

Divert attention away from electronics:

In an age where electronics have formed a significant part in leisurely activities, especially gadgets such as phones, games, and computers that are often appealing in times of boredom. Many times we are unknowingly devoting our free time to electronics that we forget other activities that do not involve a screen nor the Internet. This is where the sketchbook proves to be an ideal getaway. Phones and such are not necessarily items that are to be banished; it is important to understand that we use them reasonably for the sake of our health and mental well-being. Even for those who feel drawing and painting are remote interests, simply doodling on a sketchbook is a therapeutic and interesting way to spend time away from screens

Make a list of your favorite things:

Because it is your own and limitless, your sketchbook can be a place where you can jot down your interests. My friends and I, who all practice and study art on a regular basis, frequently record or make lists of films and songs that are particularly appealing and potentially inspirational for our own works. Music is perhaps a key inspirational factor to artists and a popular subject often written down in sketchbooks. If you have just picked up an interesting song but in a hurry, you can scribble in the name and the emotions you felt during the song in your sketchbook. If you can't remember a song that perfectly fits the aesthetic of a painting you are working on, you can go back to the page where you recorded the song title. Anything can be listed in your sketchbook for your own pleasure; perhaps it may come in handy when you need to introduce your interests to others.

Creating your world:

This is a place and opportunity where you get to bring the intangible, fleeting ideas in your mind to life. Regardless of the level of skill, drawing freely in a sketchbook helps you physically and visually manifest your creativity. This is not far from what children often do when they doodle, whether it is with chalk on a sidewalk or scribbling away in a notepad - we construct our dreams and thoughts onto a medium. This is why sketchbooks are exceptionally crucial for world building activities as they allow fleshing out characters and refining fanciful landscapes. So if you are considering making a story and troubled with how your concepts are turning out, a sketchbook is ideal for you to sort those ideas into a clearer picture.

Keep a healthy body and mind:

Last but not least, sketchbooks help maintain your health in multiple ways. As mentioned earlier regarding the use of time off from electronics, sketchbooks lessen the amount of time spent of screens; thus decreasing exposure to blue light and preventing dry eye. But the benefits also go beyond to vital organs. It has been proven that "just seeing, never mind creating art can lower levels of cytokine interleukin 6 - — a marker of inflammation that can lead to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and even Alzheimer’s."  In addition, therapeutic effects can also be reaped from sketching, such as venting your stress on your sketchbook in a stressful classroom. In a way, sketchbooks allow the drawer to delve into a world of their own; to eject oneself from reality to a different realm.