Instagram, Sketchbooks and Daily Art Practices

Instagram has long been my favorite social media outlet. It's fun. It's fast. It's inspiring. But ever since I started my daily sketchbook I've been thinking about what sharing it daily on Instagram means for me and my art.

Some days were easy. I knew what I wanted to sketch, or was able quickly to decide. On good days the sketch went well. On good days the lighting was right for photographing my page.

Some days it was far less easy.

daily sketchbook, Sketchbook, hummingbird sketches, micron pen, pen drawing, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I started thinking about how intending to share what I create in my sketchbook alters what and how I create before I even put pen to paper.

Sketchbooks are for practice and experimentation. They're for play. They're for working out ideas. Sketching every day is good practice. It helps us develop as artists. It makes creating easier.

daily sketchbook, sketchbook, micron, pen drawing, sketches, nature sketches, black eyed susan, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Sharing the sketches we do in our sketchbooks can be fun. It can be reassuring and encouraging to get positive feedback about our art. Looking at other people's sketchbooks is also fun. It's inspiring. It sparks ideas and it helps us to aspire to improve our own artwork.

But I was finding that for me, sharing my sketches was becoming limiting. It sometimes kept me from taking risks. I tended to choose subjects that I knew I could sketch. I tended to avoid subjects that I knew I could not sketch well.

sketchbook, daily sketchbook, sketches, micron pen, pen drawing, japanese anemone, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I also found myself worrying a bit too much about numbers of "likes" and followers.

There are so many ideas and opinions on how to build your following online. On what to do and what not to do on social media. There are so many ideas and opinions and even "rules". What to share. When to share it. Where to share it. How often to share. And on and on and on.

I was fed up.

And so in November I stopped sharing my daily sketches.

How can we fully develop our drawing (or other) skills if we don't practice those things with which we struggle?

The answer: We can't.

sketchbooks, daily sketchbook, micron pen, pen drawing, alder seeds, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

It's good to be real and to share our struggles and challenges. But we have to draw the line somewhere. Not everything is worth sharing. And some things should be private. No judgements. No criticism. Plenty of joy without having to give a single thought to what anyone else thinks.

We need to decide for ourselves. What we want to share. How we want to share it. In truth, despite what so many like to proclaim, there are no rules.* Do what feels right. Don't do what doesn't. Maybe that seems obvious, but for some reason I was stressing over it.

Do you know how freeing it has been to fully embrace that idea?

daily sketchbook, sketchbook, feathers, micron pen, pen drawing, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

If you're feeling a little lost or stressed (in social media or elsewhere), let it go. Follow your own path. It's always the right one.

*In my thinking, be kind and don't steal others' work are really the only rules everyone should follow.


  1. couldn't agree more Anne, glad you've found the 'right' way of sharing that works for you x

    1. Hi, Jenny! Thanks for weighing in. I think I'm still working on it, but so far so good. :)

  2. I like your 'rules' Anne. We're under no obligation to share anything and free to choose what we do share. I like the little tweaks you have made to your side bar! Have a lovely creative week. :-)

    1. It's funny how easy it is to forget that our way is the best way. Thanks for your thoughts! And thanks for what you've said about my blog tweaks! I'm glad you noticed!

  3. Beautiful ,beautiful sketches. Magic


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