Last Week: Transitioning Sketchbooks

May 16, 2016 | 5 Comments

Last week I finished Daily Sketchbook No. 93 which I started on 10 March*. This is a longer than normal time period for me to be working from the one sketchbook (over 2 months rather than 5-6 weeks) but I must say that I like the slightly longer narrative of my life contained within it. So it is a little sad for this book to come to an end. BTW I discussed the idea of a longer narrative here.

Although I love the feeling of a new sketchbook, I am impatient for the first few spreads to be filled so that it has a little bit of my life in it. It takes a few pages before I feel like I have taken ownership of it.

So this week I found myself reluctant to quickly finish the book off and instead wanted to see if I could hold on until the weekend, but at the same time I wanted to sketch more after last week’s extreme leanness. I also wanted to start my new book on Saturday so I could get a few pages under my belt. As a result I was filling in them gaps in my back pages (something I discussed more here) in a non-chronlogical way. This book had a few interesting back pages including a marker sketch for my book which I am keeping up my sleeve, some people scribbles, and notes from a meeting that I have obscured with some GTWB documentation. It was fun to break my own rules for sketching in date order!

The good news is that I made it till Saturday in the old book, and did more pages than I expected, so the new is well and truly broken in now.

* I only number my daily sketchbooks, so have about approximately 60 additional sketchbooks in my collection which are from my travels or special projects. The last photo I took of my collection can be seen here (click on the ‘continue reading for full descriptions’) which amazingly is one year out of date… so imagine 20 more sketchbooks to these shelves.

So here are the pages, in the order in which they are in my sketchbook. You will notice how mixed up they are!



New book

I used a different camera today and obviously didn’t use the right setting, so sorry about the blurry edges.

Some of these pages I will come back to in the next week (or so) and explain more, but I can tell you now that I have a big trip planned (2nd biggest trip ever) and it is not very far away. More soon!

I would love to hear your thoughts on ending an old sketchbook and starting a new one.


  • Emily D. says:

    I agree! Starting a new sketchbook is always sort of tentative for me–I need to be a few pages in, get some watercolor on the edges of the pages, and do some “testing” before I really feel like it’s broken in. I took a page out of your book and I’ve started painting my palette on the first page of a new sketchbook (I only do this in my big one, though, with the nice watercolor pages). I also find it’s a great reference page!

  • Anne Percival says:

    Pleased to see you are planning your wardrobe for Lucca…..and assuming it will be hot!! Am sketching in Abruzzi at the moment, where it is cold and very very wet! So disappointing! Only here for four days….sodden feet….sodden sketchbook….everything!!!!!

  • Diana Ryman says:

    Love reading your posts and seeing your beautiful sketches Liz! I noticed you said you’d just finished book 93, but I also see you’ve numbered your new book 95. Is this to see if we’re paying attention? I am! ha-ha!

    • Liz Steel says:

      Ha! very good. Volume 94 is the new A4 moleskine that I use. So my bigger – sketching outing books – are included in this numbering system. Not sure if this is the right decision as it is a little confusing for me at times!

  • Deb Mostert says:

    as I’m coming to the close of my current sketchbook this is a topic on my mind. I am always sad to see the end of a sketch book coming…. but weirdly i often don’t finish them seeming to mostly leave a couple of blank pages? (what is that!?) It always takes several pages before i feel like I might enjoy the empty new sketchbook, it has to work hard for a few pages to actually get me in! I’ve been sad not to have some of the sketches I’ve loved from my old book as reference for future thoughts… but to copy and paste seems silly as does re drawing them… so I end up with piles of past sketchbooks around me in the studio! And invariably need something from an older book to demonstrate an idea to someone…. when I’m out and don’t have it with me.
    What I need is the everlasting gobstopper of sketchbooks… but without the weight!

    Anyways, I’m always encouraged by your sketchbooks Liz and the generous spirit in which you share them. Thanks for being you!

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