When I can't focus on my sketching...

February 15, 2024 | 10 Comments

As most of you know I’m moving next month and I’ve had the luxury of being able to give myself a generous timeline so that I can enjoy the process of sorting and culling.

And indeed I am really loving it. I’m enjoying making decisions and letting go of stuff. In addition, at the moment at least, I’m not stressed!

But I am finding it harder to sketch!

I have less time to devote to my sketching and I’m finding it harder to focus (too many distracting thoughts and other things to do).

While both lack of time and lots of distractions are always part of my daily life, they seem to be affecting my sketching more at the moment.

I’m very thankful for my ingrained morning routine of a walk, a coffee, and a sketch in my local area. So that means that I start most days with an urban sketch even if sometimes it’s a bit rushed. In addition, I am trying to sketch objects from my day (to record the packing process) but when I’m organising and packing boxes it seems hard to sit down and do a sketch. There is always more to do!

I’m finding myself relying on watercolour pencils (WCPs). Sometimes I add water/watercolour over the top later in the day, but other times I leave them dry. They are the most versatile sketching tool!

I’ve removed all the extra mixed media tools that I’ve added to my kit over the last few years. And I’ve limited my selection of WCPs to 8 colours (which I will share in a separate article). It feels good to have a lighter kit!

But the most important strategy for busy seasons, when I can’t focus on my sketching, is to take away all pressure to create a good sketch and suspend all judgment on my work.

So I’m sharing these pages with you in the hope that it will help inspire you to ‘just go for it’ and let your sketchbook be a safe place where you can capture moments from your life without criticism.



So there you have it! Even though I’m not focusing on my sketching as much as I normally do, I’m still happy with how much sketching I’m managing to fit in each day.

Now back to packing boxes…


  • Lois Courtright says:


    Thank you for sharing your sketchbook pages!!!

    Such a gift in so many ways!!!

    You are a blessing!!!

  • Ginie Udy says:

    But actually looks like you’re getting lots of sketching in! Fun to document your packing and sorting and culling and settling in process! And thank you as always for sharing your sketches and your life with us.

  • Martine says:

    I think this is a nice record of a busy period and will be fun to look at later and remember this time. Good luck on all the work that goes with moving house, look forward to seeing sketches of your new neighbourhood.

  • Jamie C says:

    These are so inspiring to me! I struggle to take the time to sketch when things are crazy and I need to remember anything fast that captures the moment will be so rewarding the the moment, and every time I scan back! I love how you manage to keep it up and I’m always grateful for all you share! I have ideas and inspiration looking over these pages!

  • Steve Pullen says:

    Love your sketches but all the religious words? It really detracts from your pages and puts off some people from following your work.

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Steve, I start each day reading the Bible – the words of God – and record that in my sketchbook. It’s the most important part of the day. It’s who I am and affects my outlook on life and my approach to sketching. So it’s an integral part of my sketchbook and I’m happy to share all my pages with others who are interested here on my blog. It’s up to individuals whether they want to follow or not.:-)

  • Shelly says:

    Please keep the religious words. They are you and there is no reason to hide who you are.

    • Liz Steel says:

      Thanks Shelley!!! I have no intention of stopping. I Love recording the words of God in my sketchbook at the start of each day!

  • Marta says:

    Thank you Liz. This is so inspiring for a young working mom like me!

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