First Pages


Well. This week I have made a complete about turn with my choice of sketchbook for this year’s circle. I started off with a recycled cardboard cover, with loose leaves, thinking it would give me the freedom to choose my paper type, size etc. I duly made a start, and even got so far as to complete some work and put it into the book. However, I wasn’t satisfied with the feel of the book, and thought that it would get too bulky too quickly. To be truthful, I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the work I’d put into it either.

I therefore started to work in new, purchased book to see if I could get my artistic mojo flowing better. To begin with I found that I was carrying some of the ideas I had started in the first book through into my new one, which I didn’t want; I wanted to get the flow going in a new direction and then review both books to see which I liked best. I have had to make a conscious effort to change tack, and also to enjoy and experiment. I have had to stop myself having a fixed outcome in mind, as I find that this impedes my progress. I am now making headway, and the flow is once again flowing!

I have also had the pleasure of receiving back the book which I started this time last year, and looking back through the pages at the successes and frustrations of the past year. I think that’s what makes a sketchbook such an invaluable tool in the artist’s arsenal; it is a tangible visual record of processes and materials, of what worked and what didn’t, and because you are directly, physically and emotionally involved in the process of making it, it’s much easier to remember why this page worked or that one didn’t. And the pages that didn’t work so well become part of the larger learning curve that you plot throughout the book.

It was interesting to reflect on how the work I did in one book had an influence on what I did in the other. One inspired piece made of layered ovals of paper that I did in Jane’s A6 book, which was actually born of a mistake, had nowhere near the same impact in my own A4 book which I shared with Christian. I felt that it didn’t work on the larger scale; or perhaps it simply didn’t fit into the conversation we were having in that particular book. However, I successfully made use of my favourite squares doodle in various guises in both books. You can find examples of this doodle on my Instagram feed (@tilly.mack) or on my Facebook page (Tilly Mack Draws).

So this week I have had my letter telling me who I am collaborating with this year. I am excited and enthusiastic to start the conversation anew, trying new things, going in new directions, and am looking forward to another year of growth and inspiration, and participating in the making of two new sketchbooks.