Empower Yourself and Your Craftings: Redefine The Use For and Approach to Your Sketchbook, Danielle’s Top 8 Tips

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New sketchbooks are awful little buggars. They are so pristine and clean and blank… and intimidating.

Ahh all that blankness!!

Oh the anxiety!

There is nothing quite like a brand spankin’ new sketchbook…  to give you full blown creative paralysis!  All those white pages just waiting to be drawn on… so stressful.
You have to redefine to purpose or and your approach to your sketchbook. These are my top 8 tips for doing so. {Also, how to knock it off with all that partially used/ buying new ones that you’ll never use thing…} You can trust me… I spent four years at art school.
Number One – Redefine the use of your sketchbook. 
Stop telling yourself that your sketchbook needs to end up full of masterpieces and fully thought out works.  Stop looking at everything you do in it like it’s a finished piece. Don’t use it only for “art”.
By altering the way you think about and approach your sketchbook, you can change how you use it. If you approach your sketchbook as a place to store lists, ideas, doodles, drawings, cut outs and collections… well, that sounds a lot more user friendly than “this is a place only for finished masterpieces.”

You’re thinking: But Danielle – I’m so mortified to even start!
I’m sayin’: Okay, chill out keep reading –
Number two – reduce to preciousness of your book/ take the pressure off yourself.
The biggest problem about sketchbooks is that they come to us all perfect and full of crisp white pages. Sometimes the papers are super thick and “expensive” feeling. Sometimes the book is rigid and brand new and we are just too worried about messing it up. The next few steps will help you reduce the pressure by reducing the preciousness.
Number three – crack the spine.
This is crucial. Once you’ve broken the spine, the sketchbook becomes instantly less new, and therefore, less precious.
Number four – pick a smaller size.
Kind of obvious, but the smaller the sketchbook, the less space you need to fill per page. To me, that means less pressure.
Number five – pick a gridded paper.
Working on a paper that is gridded, textured or otherwise already marked somehow does a couple of things – makes the paper feel less like a blank canvas, and gives you a starting point. Geometric shapes are a great place to start when you just want to get something going. This also works with brown kraft paper or notebook paper. Bonus – if you don’t fill the paper with your own work, the grid will reduce the appearance of negative space and break up the white a little bit, which will make you feel more accomplished! 

See the pattern? Once you aren’t regarding your materials as precious resources, they are a lot easier to begin using.  

Number six – start not at the beginning.
I’ve gotten into the habit of starting a few pages in from the beginning, starting on the very first page – you won’t get the spread of two pages, which you might want if you get carried away with yourself… but mostly, it gives you a little more breathing room… but you don’t have to use it, and your brain already knows that so you can expand westward it you want, but there’s no pressure to. In your head, the leftmost page is “the back” of the other page and it’s human nature to utilize the front first…


Number seven – draw a border.
Draw a quick, freehand border a little bit in from the edges of the paper. Now you have a more defined area in which to work. Did that seem silly to you? It’s not – you just took the first step and drew something! So, yeah, that was kind of a trick, but you have already mentally taken the preciousness off the paper, you can now freely fill the space.

Number eight – Don’t get caught up with expensive sketchbooks.
Pick something simple and don’t feel guilty about using it… additionally don’t feel guilty about using it up too quickly!

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hello + welcome

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Oh, hi! Welcome to The Merriweather Council. I’m Danielle and I am a maker in business and mentor to other makers in business. I teach you how to turn your crafty tendencies into profits!

Oh, I’m also really into crafts, boy bands + iced coffee. Email me anytime to say hello or send cute Backstreet Boy videos or dog pictures .. or whatever! danielle (at) merriweathercouncil.com Thanks for stopping by.

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