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You Vs. That Beautiful White Page


The very first page of my new sketchbook,
part of the Sketchbook Project.

Begin.

It's a word much, much easier said than done, especially when it comes to art. Behold the dreaded First Page above! It is white, beautiful, smooth, clean, and unmarked - but it is also ordinary, silent, with nothing to say, waiting for you to transform it into something only your mind can imagine and only your hands can create.

Are you intimidated by the White Page? You are not alone! Try this: take a deep breath and close your eyes. Reach around you, and use whatever art supply you first find to make a mark on the paper. It can be small and quickly done, though it will make a bigger impact if you push yourself to make a larger mark. Now open your eyes - and hopefully this mark will break the spell of the First Page and you will be free to explore, play, and experiment! If you find yourself still stuck for ideas, give one (or more!) of these a go:
  • Make a list - things you can see, things you can hear, things you can feel.
  • Splash on some color - use markers, crayons, watercolors, acrylics, pens, colored pencils, or highlighters.
  • Write one word in large letters across two pages.
  • Add some texture - glue in images, scrap paper, receipts, tickets, bits of newspaper, and tissue paper.
  • Drip watered down paint or india ink across the pages.
  • Cover a whole page with your writing, without stopping.
  • Do a blind contour drawing - while looking at an object, try to trace its outline without lifting your pen or looking at the page.
With practice, beginning a page becomes easier and easier, and the battle of starting a new journal becomes easier. Promise! Now go give it a try, and see how brave and proud you feel when the First Page is dripping in color.

10 comments:

  1. Helpful hints . . . I just have to get past the fear of not creating something good enough.

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  2. It looks like so much fun as well!

    i'm intimidated by the white page when I'm writing something these days. Making a beginning is harder than it sounds.

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  3. love, love, love. i have a notebook that is new and crisp and delicious smelling. i've been thinking of turning it into a free art. i'm so used to planning my sketches carefully - i love drawing portraits. but it doesn't leave much room for creativity. this will push me. and as uncomfortable as being pushed may be, good things will happen! i can feel it.

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  4. I have two pages I need to create some art on and I have no idea what to do. I'm so glad you wrote this post, Ingrid. I'm such a reluctant artist -- I try, but that white page does intimidate me sometimes.

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  5. let's go, ladies ~ say goodbye to fear and intimidation!

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  6. I will start in your lovely little notebook in August. I'm making a promise, you are allowed to remind me of it ;)
    Thanks for the tips!

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  7. speaking of fear; so many other sketchbook artists have mentioned that as a deterrent. I blogged about it at The Sketchbook Project Doodleheads. Would love if you would read it. BTW - love the fearlessness you showed with the paint!
    http://sbdoodleheads.blogspot.com/2010/08/on-fear-and-sketchbook-project.html

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  8. Nice to "meet" you, Ingrid. I just received my sketchbook today, and can't wait to get started working in it. Looking forward to getting to know you, and sharing journaling pages with you. Happy Creating! ~ Jeanne

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  9. Yay! I am so glad you are doing the sketchbook project too! I can only imagine how awesome they are going to be. Can't wait to see what you come up with.

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