Just like exercise is good for the body, I think it's important to do creative exercises as an artist. Many artists do daily journaling and sketchbook exercises. A sketchbook is such a great tool to use but it's never really worked for me. I love doing these exercises but often forget to bring these materials with me everywhere. I've been VERY hard on myself about this, honestly it stresses me out! I've had lots of bad feelings associated with my inability to be "that kind of artist" that uses a sketchbook consistently.
Art is seen by many as being free and having few rules, but that's not what I have found. Just like most people the art community has its own biases and rules. I've been told and taught by countless in the art profession that using a sketchbook makes you a more serious artist. Afterall, sketchbooks usually receive a grade is most art classes. Rules and guidelines aren't bad, in fact sometimes self imposed guidelines can help you be more creative in your work. But rules imposed by others on you instead of yourself often don't help but hinder your creative process.
Like most things in life, finding you own way is more important than following what works for someone else. It took me a while to figure out why the sketchbook is such a hard rule for artists. Its really quite simple, I get it, sketchbooks allow for reflection, record, and consistency. If these are the important factors, and not the physical object itself, then I just needed to consider how to get those, minus the sketchbook.
Have you ever started something without even realizing you are doing it?
About a month into my travels fulltime as an artist on the road, I realized I'd been doing a daily exercise all along! I was collecting images of textures, I just needed some retrospect and a few guidelines to truly hone in this creative exercise.
I'm calling this exercise: Travel Textures Triangulation
The exercise is to share 3 images per day on my social media. The images will consist of 1) a visual travel texture 2) a section of a map where the travel texture was taken 3) me on location of the travel texture. These 3 images will create a visual triangulation, a method used to increase the credibility and validity of research findings, helping to give a sense of place. Sidenote, I'm really enjoying visually how this plays out in a grid.
Each Travel Texture comes with a small explanation and title, like a label at a museum.
Here is a sample of the Triangulation Travel Texture Exploration:
Mount Mazama eruption at Crater Lake, Oregon, about 6600 years ago was the source of most ash, which makes the trails super dusty and captures lasting impressions of those hiking in the area.
Travel texture #1, Sole Impressions The Watchman Lookout Trail, Crater Lake NP
So if you struggle like I have with sketchbook exercises, don't give up! Give yourself a break and figure out what works for you. #findyourownroute
If you'd like to follow this exercise and see more travel textures, follow the exploration here: