The perfect project for 'The Perfect Sketchbook': A sketching diet!

January 28, 2015 | 2 Comments

I am very pleased to have been a backer for Erwin Lian Cherngzhi’s Kickstarter project for “The Perfect Sketchbook“. Like many other people I received my book a few weeks ago, got it out of its wrapper and was VERY impressed by what I saw! I knew straight away that I wanted to fill this sketchbook cover to cover with serious work, but its pocket size was a challenge.

Trying to use it for my daily sketchbook would perhaps not be a good fit (fitting my work in the small size would be very hard!) and if I started a special project of small sketches I was worried that I would never finish it. And then I had a brainwave…. A sketching diet sketchbook! The Perfect Sketchbook is a little larger than the pocket moleskine which worked so perfectly for my Food Diary in 2008 (you can see this in the background in the top photo). My first step was to test the paper with some teacup sketches of course.
Note: I will do a more careful review of the paper in the next few days.

And then yesterday I started the sketching diet in earnest. Here is the first page in progress.

I am currently living on LitenEasy (very convenient for my non-stop work lifestyle at the moment) so my food is going to be very colourful and interesting unlike a more serious diet where there would be page after page of steamed veg! LitenEasy doesn’t really work for me as it is not strict enough – I mean, what kind of diet includes double chocolate cake?

If I am trying to lose weight (which I need to at the moment) I want to change the way I think about food, be stricter with my decisions and not just have small low-calorie versions of yummy food. LitenEasy is just too enjoyable! And as a result I end up eating more each day – slotting in extra food due to the very long hours I am working at the moment. Why do another cup of tea and a small snack help with my workload more than water and celery????

So what is this sketching diet…and why did I do it originally?

It all started in 2008! As part of my maintenance program for my big weight loss diet (lost 23kg in 5 months) I had to start to keep a food diary and count (mainly carbs) – this seemed like too hard until I thought of drawing my food! (this is not a logical statement I know!)

Anyway, I had a wonderful time – even though it got rather repetitive after a while – and continued to lose weight. The full set is found here

And then I had another go in 2011:

I was on the extreme regime again and lost 2kgs in 2 weeks! There is no doubt that sketching my food was a big part of the success of this diet!

Sigh – it would be nice if I could achieve that again now but maybe I will find the discipline to put a little more effort into a stricter diet. Once I clear the decks with a few demanding projects maybe I will be able to get a bit more serious. Right at the moment this current sketching diet is probably a little more about the sketching part than the diet!

So this is a good chance to remind myself of the great benefits of a sketching diet!

For the diet :
– much more inspiring way to record my food and making me accountable
– easy to see the colour of my food. Am I  eating enough greens?
– drawing what I eat is a great way to eat less as all my time is taken up with drawing. It slows my eating down, Even if I sketch fast I normally reach that magic 20 minute and so feel fuller

For the sketching:
– it keeps me sketching throughout the day
– the 2008 food diary helped me have more confidence with my lines and really get to know my paints better
– lots of fun bright colours to use and different combinations than I normally use  (more about this in a further post as I have had to make adjustments to my palette!)
– compositional challenges

By the way the only rule of the sketching diet is that I MUST sketch at least the outline before I have the first bite! Sketching food after the event from memory is not acceptable!

Anyway… more review and proper scans of The Perfect Sketchbook coming up in the next week and more important tips for a sketching diet!


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