A vlog of my sabbatical week sketches

November 7, 2016 | 25 Comments

I am back to work today after a week off – my first sabbatical week – and I feel really refreshed and ready to get stuck into my work again. The idea of the sabbatical week is to take off every seventh week to rest and recharge my batteries, both physically and creatively. I explained the concept in a recent article – will include the link below.

For my first sabbatical, rest was the major priority but I was also hoping that I would be able to reconnect with my sketchbook. So I want to share with you what I did last week in my book, and I thought that rather than write another blog, I would create my first vlog.

Click here to view video on Youtube (especially for people who receive my blog posts via email as the video doesn’t come through for you.)

Links to things mentioned  in the video:

The big takeaways from this week were:

  1. How much I enjoyed using a larger sketchbook as it gave me the freedom to build up a record of my day with little sketches and notes – I want to keep doing that.
  2. The realisation that most of the sketches were done away from home, on outings ( in my case in cafes). So the goal for this coming week is to sketch more at home and to carve out some time to do that. I know this has been a recurring theme in my last week blogposts over the past year, but it is a constant struggle.

What about you, do you have the same struggle?
Did you enjoy seeing my sketchbook in video form like this?
Please leave me a comment below.


  • Olivera Popov says:

    I loved your sketchbook in video, and enjoyed listening to your , as ever, animated explanations! To be given an insight into your process, not just the results, is really valuable. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  • Brenda K says:

    I loved this! The vlog is a great idea! I work from home and, like you, just get overwhelmed. The idea of a week-long sabbatical every seven weeks reeeeally appeals. I read the link about it and I think I will plan this into my 2017! Will you keep strictly to the once-every-seven-weeks or have to work around other trips and big commitments?
    I had to chuckle that your Hustle sticker got prominence during a week of rest. 😉
    Do you leave Sunday as a day of rest even from sketching?
    I saw your new book at a bookstore here in Toronto last week. 🙂 It’s on my wish list!

  • melinda mcnutt says:

    I really like your Vlog! It probably is easier to do than writing a series of blogs. It ties the week together and gives us a very personal view into your process. I hope you do that more! I tend to make a specific trip out with my sketchbook to find something great to sketch. I like that you have a sketchbook that you use like a journal. I could see having two books that each had a different focus (daily journal that is looser with a collage of events and journal text; and one with more crafted and deliberate sketches.) Good to have you back and hope you are re-charged.

  • Diane says:

    Yes, really enjoyed the vlog. Truly love your dialogue which would have been much different in a written form. You are a busy busy woman going out and about on a daily basis. I will be very interested to see what you do when you sketch more at home. I love your sketches too and the way you are able to incorporate such a variety on one spread. Can’t wait for more.

  • Carmela-Sunnyvale says:

    Liz–I applaud your resolution to take time off to recharge. I’ve been exhausted just following you during the past few years.I hope that it helps reduce the stress of your very demanding workload.
    Kudos on the journal style of sketching–I’ve learned a lot just seeing your pages and hearing your explanations of what you were trying to achieve in your sketches. The Blog was fun to watch–enjoyed hearing you. I hope it is less work for you, & if so, use it more.
    PS: I’m using the Stillman & Birn hardcover 8.5×11 Beta and like it for pen & ink and watercolors. It is also a step up in size for me and I find that I prefer the lager size. However, I still use a smaller Fabriano Eco-Qua for quick pencil sketches.

  • Denise Dineen says:

    Loved the vlog and getting to hear you explain what you are doing in your sketchbook. Your new sketchbook is exactly the kind I like…all the bits and pieces from a given day. So interesting to return to in the future. Thanks for sharing.

  • M. Reed says:

    Enjoyed the vlog but missed being able to zoom in & really study your work. Vlog was fun & great to ‘be’ with you. That was fun! Maybe post a couple pages in your email so there’s both?

    • Liz Steel says:

      I will definitely try and do that but the vlog takes a lot more time. So trying to work out what is doable and sustainable.

  • Gerda Wolzak-van Hummel says:

    Enjoyed the vlog and good to notice you enjoyed your week with sketching ‘normal’ life. Hope to see more of this.

  • Linda says:

    Great vlog.. I can’t believe you did all of this and you were supposed to be on a sabbatical! I really enjoyed looking at your sketchbook pages and your process of thought and critique of the sketches-interesting to hear. Thanks for sharing with us.

  • FIONA HAYES says:

    Absolutely loved the vlog format, Liz. As usual, you are such an inspiration and I love the fact that you invite us into your fascinating world of daily art. Wonderful idea to have the regular sabbatical too, to keep fresh and recharge….so important! So pleased to hear your positive thoughts on the new soft cover S&B journals. Will have to purchase one soon. I am finally gett8ng around to looking at your new book too. Had some very hectic weeks since receiving it in the mail, but life is settling down now….Yay! Happy days and happy sketching ????????

  • FIONA HAYES says:

    Sorry Liz. I put little smiley faces at the end of my comment, but I notice they have appeared as question marks. No idea how to fix that, so my apologies.

  • Ania Drozd says:

    Awesome idea with vlogs! I’m really looking forward to the next one. Thanks for sharing your sketchbook Liz 🙂

  • Diane Johnson says:

    Hi Liz
    Thank you so much for doing & sharing the Vlog – how cool.
    It’s much nicer to hear your commentary, hear the rustle of the paper even!, and so much more personal.
    Watching it this morning inspired me to wander down the road for a coffee, a cheese scone and a quick sketch – thoroughly enjoyable, the cafe staff even loved it, and a reminder that I should be flicking off a sketch every day no matter what the subject, so thanks yet again for your dollop of inspiration 🙂

  • Love the Vlog idea! It is fun to see the sketches and have you narrate too! Looks like you had a great week.

  • Flory says:

    I’m so glad your sabbatical week was restful and enjoyable, Liz! Thank you for sharing your pages. I too really enjoyed the vlog. The lively narrative enabled me to understand your intentions and approaches and to appreciate the results even more. A great idea to have a sabbatical schedule. Cheers! Flory

  • Jennifer says:

    Love the video format, Liz! I also struggle with wanting to go out to find something important, interesting, different, quirky etc. in my big city. But my practice at home leads me to work more on drawing skills that I need to improve upon. It is kind of a push and pull scenario.

  • Jennifer says:

    I wanted to add that I agree with Carmela above. If this weekly vlog of sketches, with relevant links or info in note format at the end is less work that scanning and blog posting, I say keep doing this! Love to see those pages turned, and to hear your thoughts about how the pages relate to each other.

  • Samanta says:

    Hi Liz! I loved the video, it’s always exciting to know what was behind your sketches, and I love it that you make your sketchbooks life journals as well.
    One thing that holds me back is that my skills are way behind the wonderful sketches I see online, so sometimes I give up drawing because I don’t have amazing views to try – or because I find it so hard trying to get the sketch accurate. I’ll try following your advice and just drawing whatever is around, no matter how boring it might be. Practice will eventually fill the skill gap, right?

  • Sharon Kasstan says:

    Lovely to see you again, Liz! You were missed, especially now that the Sketching Architecture course has finished.
    Great Vlog xxx

  • Nancy Bardos says:

    Great, Liz. Thumbs up!!!!

  • Liz Steel says:

    thanks everyone – I am so glad you enjoyed it!

  • Beth Glasser says:

    Fab, Liz! Been a fan for a while, and I loved actually seeing you ‘in person.’ Your vlog got me inspired ..thinking about taking your Edges class. (I’m also an architect, but having challenges loosening up in my sketching and painting [not buildings] and think that your focus on edges might help me achieve a looser approach.)

    Keep up the wonderful posts. So helpful and always interesting to see whats going on in the Antipodes. Cheers!

  • Wendy L Jantz says:

    Dear Liz,
    I loved your video of your new sketchbook. It’s Awesome to hear your thoughts and very encouraging and motivating for me to keep sketching. Thank you so much for sharing with us.

  • Desiree says:

    Thanks for this Vlog, I really love these, so much nicer to also hear you talk about your work instead of just reading the words. Your pages always inspire! Such a wonderful example of how daily life can be proper art when documented this way. One comment that I just have to make and that is really silly, but I thought it so funny: I saw your sketch of the toll tag and recognised it instantly. I live in Norway and we have exactly the same tags. How funny is that, on almost opposite sides of the globe (or is there just one company providing the whole world with these 🙂 ?

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