Sketchbooks are essential. There is no way around it. Sketching is like exercise, like meditation, like meditative exercise. Sketching is like yoga.
This may be why I sketch the same way I exercise...In cycles. Ideally, both would be a daily habit but instead, I do it for a while, burn out, lay low for a while, pick it up again. Every time I start again, it feels great and I wonder why I haven't been doing it. So, right now, I'm in the feeling-great stage of sketching. My illustrations gigs slowed down and I'm not looking to add new ones. The move and remodeling is mostly done. I can breathe a little bit. And sketching...sketching makes me breathe way slow. Nice, relaxed, yoga breaths. Inhale-2-3-4, exhale-2-3-4-5-6. Good.
I want more of it.
I recently read (more or less) three books that push for a daily art practice: The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron, Daily Painting by Carol Marine, and Art Before Breakfast by Danny Gregory. All of them deserve a separate review but none offered me a concrete solution. Sure, I'd like to have 30 minutes of brain-dump writing first thing in the morning, and I love the idea of meditative sketching first thing in the morning...but mornings aren't working for me. I liked doing daily paintings for a month. I will probably try it again in September, after Elijah goes back to school and I figure out a way to coordinate everyone's schedules so that mine includes some reliable art-making hours. For now, I'm just surviving summer and take every sketching opportunity I can find.