When the little yellow envelope arrived in the letterbox yesterday, I felt super excited. Finally, it had arrived from Brooklyn, my little sketchbook for The Sketchbook Project! Yay! Have you heard of this art project? It started ten years ago and is run out of the Brooklyn Art Library. People from all around the world have filled sketchbooks with their creative work, be it sketches, printing, painting, collage or words, which are then housed at the library (or mobile library for touring purposes). The books can also be viewed through the online catalogue and are searchable by artist name, theme and tags.
I tore open the envelope, read through the instructions, jumped on the iPad and registered my little book. There’s a list of themes to choose from but you are free to come up with your own too. I decided upon ‘Long stories, short’. I turned the front cover and stroked the paper of the first page. I love the feel of fresh clean paper. Is that weird? I turned the next page and the next. Thirty two blank sheets of paper to fill! That’s right. Thirty…two…blank…sheets…of …paper…to …fill. The fear, the trepidation started to set in. Those pristine sheets of paper looked so pretty in their unadorned state. Oh yes, they would look beautiful filled with colour and lines and images, but mine? Who am I kidding? I’m not an artist! Shani is an artist, not you! Her book was GORGEOUS because she knows what she’s doing. You have NO IDEA! Gah! Imposter syndrome, here you are! So…I had to give myself a little bit of a telling off, ‘comparison is the thief of joy’, ‘there are no mistakes’, all that sort of stuff, you know.
Anyhoo, my excitement is starting to bubble back up a little now. Tomorrow, I’m going to head to the library and scour the children’s section for some picture books for illustration reference and inspiration. I’m trawling through my instagram and loving looking at the work of some of my favourite illustrators, such as Rebecca Green, Marianna Marx and Lauren Merrick. I have a few ideas for a couple of pages and have done some practice sketches. There is loads of time to complete the book (February 2017 is the final date for submission) so I don’t have to try and squeeze it into my daily routine. I will have time to think and explore, and, hopefully, the images that are in my head will be reflected on the page. But in the end, they will be what they will be, and they will be something, which is better than being nothing! I’ll share some of what I come up with with you. And if you haven’t seen me post anything, give me a kick up the bum to make sure I do!
Have you ever had to fight the ‘imposter syndrome’? Been creatively brave? Or do you think creativity and bravery go hand-in-hand?