Jane Davies here. I am so excited to introduce you to my cyber-friend Lynne Hoppe. I have been following her blog for quite a while, and just recently began a correspondence with her. Lynne has been generous and encouraging, and totally forthcoming about her materials and processes. I know you will be intrigued by her gorgeous faces!
Lynne Hoppe starting drawing 5 years ago after an intense spell of making and selling lampwork beads. The quiet of painting, as well as being able to take it with her wherever she went, caused her to fall madly in love with it. You can see her work on her blog.
Why do you keep a sketchbook and how often do you work in it?
I keep a sketchbook because I love drawing and painting in books. Over the years what I’ve done has changed, but basically I paint at least a page a day – whatever comes to me on that day. I call it my ‘daily book’ because it’s a record of each day, mostly in pictures, but sometimes words too. For the last year I’ve been adding Pogo prints to the pages – these are small (2” x 3”) prints of photos that I take, and they’re a great way to record what’s happening.
Do you work in just one at a time or do you have several going at once?
At times I’ve had more than one going, but usually just one. I’m always experimenting outside of the book, though. For instance now I’m painting on tea bags – which led to gluing them into the book I’m working in. And I love to draw with colored pencils on sticks and small rocks – I always have my colored pencils with me when I’m out walking so I can draw on found stuff.
Do you differentiate between a sketchbook and an art journal?
Yeah, it seems to me like there is a difference between a sketchbook and an art journal. I’m inclined to call what I do art journaling instead of sketching, because in my mind sketching involves either: a.) drawing realistically what you see in the world around you, or b.) drawing loose ‘sketches’ of ideas for future projects/paintings. I rarely do either of those things in my books.
What's your preferred format (sketchbook size, type of paper, single sheet, spiral bound etc?) and preferred medium for using in your sketchbook? watercolor, pen, pencil, crayon, collage etc?
My favorite size is 4” x 6”. Not only do I like working on that size, I like that it’s easy to pop into your bag and take with you. Right now I’m working in old books, but I also love working in muslin journals or watercolor paper (140# cold press) journals that I make. These days I use oil pastels, colored pencils, shiva casein paint, gouache, and watercolors.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to keep a sketchbook but doesn't know how to begin?
I think the first (and most important) thing is to ask yourself if it’s something you really want to do. Art makes us look at ourselves, and that’s not always easy… If sketching/drawing isn’t a real, burning desire it’s not likely that it’s something you’ll stick with. There’s a Matisse quote that says something about art requiring bravery, and I think that’s true.
The second thing I’d say is to hang out in an art supply or craft store and see what materials call to you. It might not be paint – it might be something like fabric or wood. There are all kinds of ways to journal, and painting is just one. I think it’s good to be open to all possibilities when you start. Once you feel ready, buy what you resonate with, what you love. I don’t think the importance of this can be overstated.
The last thing is to just keep going no matter what. Creating every day (or regularly at least) is how we learn and grow as artists. Just do it…
Anything else you'd like to add?
I draw with my left (nondominant) hand because I like both the way it looks and the fact that it takes me out of a self-critical, perfectionistic mode. If you’re interested in learning more about drawing with your nondominant hand, there’s a great book by Lucia Capacchione called: The Power of Your Other Hand: A Course in Channeling the Inner Wisdom of the Right Brain. I highly recommend it.