Sketchbooks have always been source of joy for me. They are places to observe the passing world, and to capture interesting people who catch my eye. A baby playing, a child walking home after a party, or at the end of a school day. I now even arrive early for medical appointments, just so I can sit awhile and sketch my fellow patients. Sketchbooks are also where my imagination starts to filter what I see, and to distill the narratives. They are places where the observed meets the imagined.

I have used sketchbooks in many different ways over the years, and a whole range of different sizes. As an art student I used to take a huge A3 sketchbook out, and balance it out on location, and at other times I took a much smaller sketchbook, but with a bagful of art materials – pens, watercolour and more. In 2018 I wrote an article for the Leicester Society of Artists to go alongside a wonderful display of my sketchbooks at Cank Street Gallery who represented me.

Nowadays my sketching kit is much smaller, and often consists of small sketchbook (A5/A6), a couple of pencils and a rubbe so I am ready to sketch wherever or whenever I want.. At a push I will include a water soluble pencil, a water pen and perhaps some Daniel Smith watercolour ‘dots’ but that’s all. It doesn’t sound as glamorous as having a huge sketchbook or a sackful of materials, but this pared down kit does mean I can always have it with me, and many of my favourite sketches/ideas have first appeared in the pages of my small A6 sketchbook. You never know when inspiration will strike…..

All texts and images ©Jane Sunbeam 2013-2023