One of my favourite ways of capturing the world around me as I go about my adventures is to take out with me a humble reed some ink and a small sketchbook. With minimal kit I am able quickly capture the essence of a scene. I don’t want imitation of what I see, simply the pleasure of absorbing the atmosphere of the area. I will leave bits out, rearrange the composition even add bits in! What is important to me is not replicating the scene but getting a sense of the place.
This is the kit I take out! Notice it is fairly minimal and it all fits into a small rucksack easily without weighing me down. I know from experience that the more you take out with the less likely you are get it out and draw.
Like any skill drawing takes practice and sometimes you will produce a beautiful drawing and the next is an ugly duckling. I really advocate allowing yourself to accept all that you create and not judge what you produce. With each drawing you are exercising that hand-to-eye co-ordination and sketchbooks are the perfect record of how you are improving. Of where you have been and more importantly seen will be recorded. There is something nice about going through old sketchbooks and reminiscing those moments. It will almost transport you back as if you were there! When you draw plein air you will have spent time looking at a subject and you will have a connection to that place in a way a photograph cannot.
Producing a beautiful sketchbook is not the point of a sketchbook. A sketchbook is where you experiment and play and discover your own auto-graphic voice. There is a joy that comes from finding that voice and letting go of the inner critic … it just take time and few materials.
Materials list (any question please email contact@jomcallister)