Keeping it simple

December 1, 2016 | 10 Comments

I was just going through a sketchbook from August a few days ago and I came across this simple continuous line sketch from Cafe Reborn.

It’s lovely when you rediscover a sketch you have forgotten about, isn’t it? Makes me feel like spending an hour looking through old sketchbooks – I don’t do that often enough!

How often do you go back through old sketchbooks?

BTW, thanks to everyone that left a comment on yesterday’s article. I’m going to get back to working through my teacup collection, but not put a timeline on it.



  • Whenever, I fill up a sketchbook, I keep it on my desk for a couple of weeks, just to look at my sketches – analyze what did or did not work and identify any progress I made. Plus, every couple of months or so, especially when I feel stumped, I look through a few completed sketch books – inspires me everytime.

  • Anney Rehm says:

    I often go through my past sketchbooks. I love going back some years in my sketchbooks and my sketches bring me back to the moment of when I did them. On each sketch, I can remember the setting, the people who were with me, the weather etc without it even being written in my sketchbook. When I didn’t do sketchbooks, years would pass and Id have to think hard of what I did. The major things stood out but not the small things. However when I go back and look at past sketches from years ago it shows me my whole year and all the little things, the beautiful things that I saw or did. It has slowed my life down for me to enjoy it much more. I think it is very valuable to look at our past sketchbooks and not just the most recent.

  • Anney Rehm says:

    I think too it is important to see where we have improved over the years. Looking at my sketchbooks actually gives me encouragement to see how my skills have improved. My sketchbooks are also a place to experiment and In going back Ill see a technique Ive forgotten to use recently. As Cherly said, it is inspiring to look back at our sketchbooks.

  • Ann Fortenberry says:

    I luv to look at mine, Liz. And I also loved your tea cup collection, yesterday. Saved it to study the designs on each cup. Lovely variety.

    Also want to tell you how much I am enjoying your sketching book. Wonderful flexible cover and it is so full of stuff I need to learn that I almost feel that you wrote it for me. I am sure that each of your followers feels that way, too. Useful and fun. Thank you so much for doing it.

  • Dee Ludwig says:

    Had just been thinking I ought to do that…..looking back is not a bad idea….And yes, I approve a long term goal of doing the teacups….ease up on yourself…..

  • Carmel Campbell says:

    I should look back at them more. I have them all set up in a special bookcase. So they are easy to get to. Sometimes when I finish a sketchbook I will hold onto it for a few weeks because I love it so much. I start to love a sketchbook half through it. So glad you are going to continue with your teacups!

  • Glenn Tait says:

    I do so regularly. I think it is an important practice to see where I’ve been, what’s worked, what hasn’t and why. Another thing I like doing is a recurring sketch of the same item (toy, vase, tea cup????) every year or so to see how my process has changed, what has stayed the same and what has, hopefully, improved.

  • I agree with all the comments about it being important. I almost never do it, though. On the odd occasion that someone asks me about one of my early sketches I’ll hunt it down and that’s when I find myself in an old sketchbook. Otherwise they just gather dust. In fact, if not for the scanning for my blog, my sketches would be ‘gone’ when I turned the page.

    • Liz Steel says:

      thanks Larry – always good to hear your thoughts. So you dont flip through the pages of your current sketchbook???

  • andy forrest says:

    This past summer i showed my 22 yr old my european sketch book from 1978. He was amazed that i had the sketchbook and even more surprised when he realized he was taking the same trip his dad took.
    seismicwatercolors – instagram

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