Saturday, March 15, 2014

Welcome to a Happy Sketching Place

What is The Sketchbook Hypothesis ?

Welcome and thank you so very much for joining me at the Sketchbook Hypothesis.  The sketchbook part is obvious, and the hypothesis part is really very simple, I believe that making art makes you happy, and I keep filling sketchbooks to prove that!  The looking, the seeing, the doing, the making conjure up a wonderful happy state of mind that was much more natural to us when we were children, but it's one we desperately need to cultivate to keep our busy, stressful adult lives in balance.

Why Sketching?

Sketching is to the visual arts as an impromptu jazz jam session is to music. It's spontaneous, free flowing, experimental, exciting,  lively, and often unconventional. It can also be calming, meditative and focusing.

Maria Montessori taught us that Play is the work of the child.  I think that sketching is the play of the adult and just as a child's play teaches them many things in a natural, fun way that makes them happy, sketching does the same for adults.

Sketching is accessible. The materials needed are minimal, and relatively inexpensive. It's portable and can be done anywhere. Sketching has never ending possibilities. It can also be incredible meaningful helping us see the beauty in the ordinary, and capture moments of life that would otherwise be lost forever.

By looking closely, which is necessary for sketching, we see, and learn to cherish so much of life that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Who can Sketch? 

Everyone. Period. Yup, even you. The oldest known cave art comes from the Cave of El Castillo in northern Spain, and may be more than 40,000 years old. None of the artists ever went to art school. The work is breathtaking and powerful.

This particular image known as Horses from the Hillaire Chamber, Chauvet cave, is 30,000 years old. 

Drawing is a skill, and in the 19th century was taught as a regular part of a bourgeois education and most educated people could draw, and paint with watercolors  reasonably well. Certainly well enough to keep a travel sketchbook or nature journal two popular pastimes of the era.

Just begin. The magic and happiness is in the doing, not necessarily in the finished product. Making art will make you happy.


  1. Beautiful blog, and wonderful philosophy. Your sketches are very joyful to look at. Hugs xx

  2. Your blog is very inspiring and your sketches very beautiful! I can't wait for more .... just the kind of inspiration I need ... I only started sketching a few years ago and need a little push...

  3. Dion and Sisa Welcome! your comments made me happy! I can't wait for a little community of sketchers to grow here where we can share , inspire and be happy!

  4. Lovely blog, and I agree entirely with your hypothesis!

  5. Love your comments about "Why sketch." So true.

  6. Wow, Jan! I LOVE your new blog. Thank you so much for taking the time to put this together. Your comments go straight to the heart of what so many of us love about sketching. You've put all my feelings into words. I can't wait to share the blog with my students. Your philosophy will inspire them, and the lists of books and materials will give them lots more options for building their skills. You're a wise and generous teacher. (And I love your style of sketching!)

  7. Jan, your blog is really lovely. I agree with everything you say about sketching. I have sketched a lot around the house but as yet need to get braver and do it in a public just love sketched street scenes...
    I'm going to do an online course called Sketchbook Skool with Danny Gregory. I love his work and his books.
    I also have a new art blog, written very much from a beginners perspective...its I don't have many visitors as yet but I would love to link to your blog if that is ok?

  8. Yay!! Loving it so far!! Can't wait for more!

  9. Thank you for this blog Jan. I am sure I am going to enjoy your future posts. Three is but one line in this current post with which I could not agree. It is the assumption that everyone lives a busy, stressful life. Stress and being busy are conditions of which, thus far, my life has been devoid. Maybe they have yet to come. Meanwhile I shall continue filling my days sketching in as relaxed a condition as I am able.

  10. Hi Everyone! For those who would like to share my blog with students and others that would be wonderful, share with abandon!

  11. I'm signed up for Danny Gregory's Sketchbook Skool...I hope to "see" many of you in klass!


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