Note to readers: the following essay is shared with students in my online art journaling workshop: The Creative Sketchbook.
The images in this post are screen shots of how my memoir, Sketchbooks, looks on my iPad.
I’m showing these because to show you it is an outcome (a product!) that happened as a result of the creative journey principles shared in the workshop. Those in The Creative Sketchbook workshop will recognize some of the images, as they are some of the pages from my sketchbooks used in the tutorials.
As I read through this essay in preparation for the upcoming session of The Creative Sketchbook, I thought that it was something I’d share with you here on my blog, because the questions below come up a lot.
We work the the principles of listening, observing, flow and alignment as part of the creative journey, so those are concepts you’ll find bolded.
How practical is it to keep an art journal or sketchbook? What are they for? Why bother?
These questions, and variations of, have come from people who are curious about this process. But they’ve also come from within, when I struggle with whatever obstacles arise to interfere with what matters most.
How can something that is so fun, and so…seemingly frivolous—playing with paint on paper, stream-of-conscious play, inside a sketchbook—really make a dent in the big deal problems and struggles that I am facing right now?
Those obstacles come part and parcel with pursuing any creative dream.
Along with inspiration and desire, comes fear and resistance, bundled together like some weird, cosmic package deal.
To pursue the dreams of our heart, we must confront that which would stop us.
The stuff of creative callings, and combining creativity with business as a creative entrepreneur is a hero’s journey. Not for the faint of heart.
For anyone who creates on demand for a living, for anyone trying to create something out of nothing, for anyone who wants to know themselves and get below the surface of things: keeping a creative sketchbook is a sorcerer’s tool.
The creative sketchbook is where we learn to listen.
What does my body need? What does my heart long for? Who are my people? Where is my tribe? What do I want to do next? What would nourish me most?
For me, the art journaling process I’m introducing you to here, is an essential tool.
It’s where all of my healing unfolds, where all of my ideas emerge, where all of my dreams take root, where all of my creative products reveal themselves.
The creative sketchbook is where we learn to observe.
The creative sketchbook shows us how to observe the world within and around us. What makes us happy? Delights? Drains our energy? Inspires? What would we rather avoid?
In short, the creative sketchbook is where all of my work flows from, and my work is able to flow forth because I also have this private, creative space to do my personal growth work and healing.
Keeping a creative sketchbook is where we find our flow.
What feels easy? Where is the profit? What resources do I have? What are my gifts? Where is my zone of genius? Who can I work well with? What do my clients need most? How can I leverage my energy, rather than push upstream?
Keeping a creative sketchbook is where we find alignment.
Where we connect, and keep re-connecting with our higher purpose.
Keeping a creative sketchbook is how we keep the channel open.
Listening, observing, flow, and alignment happens when we put process before product.
I’ve said in many different ways that all of my work products come out of keeping creative sketchbooks, but sometimes it’s better to show, to point to the outcomes.
This process gives me the courage to give voice to my deepest creative dreams. Over and over again.
That you, too, have the courage to create what only you can make, and feel on fire with purpose about your life, this is what I wish, most of all, for you.
Learn more about The Creative Sketchbook
Check out my memoir, Sketchbooks: My Personal Creative Practice (get it via instant download)
Do you art journal or keep a creative sketchbook?
What does having a creative process do for you and your work?