I sketch daily, and it’s this everyday aspect that’s most important to me. The sketches might be small or large, hurried or methodical, incomplete or highly finished, the key thing is that I have looked at some part of life that day and described it on the page. Over time this regular habit of observing and translating the world into pictures has given me a past-time that is richly rewarding.
I like the way that sketching is mostly analogue rather than digital (apart from this blog…). It is very rooted in touch and sight; ink drying on the paper, colours mixing in the palette, the movement of the brush across the page.
I like the way that it is largely non-verbal (apart, again, from this blog); even a fairly familiar group of people sketching together are mostly silent, absorbed in the practise of their art. Paradoxically it’s also very sociable, from fellow sketchers sharing ideas and pictures, to strangers intrigued by what you are drawing.
I love the way that it serves no practical purpose other than to gratify; it is an excellent provider of ‘flow’, the wonderful feeling of unself-conscious engagement that comes when you are totally absorbed in task that is challenging, but well matched to your abilities (I highly recommend reading ‘The Happiness Hypothesis’, especially Chapter 5, for more on ‘flow’ ). You get direct feedback on how well you are doing, and improvement is visible, given time… whenever you can find the time, as long as it’s regular, hopefully daily.
And it’s cheap; after the initial outlay on a couple of brushes, some tubes of paint, a favourite pen or two, and the sketchbooks, it just costs time (and the patience of those around you…).