Sketchbook Conversations -- a New Blog Series and a Call for Artists

Even before my 2x2 Sketchbook project with Dana came to a close, I was thinking about what to do next. I wanted to continue with the momentum of a weekly series and I wanted to continue thinking about and talking about sketchbooks.

sketchbook, watercolor, watercolor sketchbook, botanical sketchbook, violas, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

At some point over the last year I had the idea for a series of mini-interviews focused on sketchbooks and the practice of keeping them. I was too busy then to spend much time with the idea, but it kept percolating in the back of my mind. After 2x2 ended the thought reemerged, demanding attention.

I think there's so much that we can learn from one another. Each of us has so many stories and experiences that shape who we are. Our stories, our struggles, our challenges, they can inspire others, sometimes in ways we would never imagine.

sketchbooks, watercolor, botanical sketchbook, botanical watercolor, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

When I first set out on my creative journey I had no confidence in my artistic abilities. I knew I couldn't paint and I didn't think I could draw (which I hoped wasn't entirely necessary to learning how to paint), but I was encouraged and inspired to try my hand at it by stories of other artists who had found their way to art later in life. At first I struggled, but I didn't give up. Strangely, though, I was intimidated by sketchbooks and didn't work much in them. I'm not entirely sure why. Perhaps it's the seeming permanence of a page bound in a book -- a failed watercolor done on a sheet of paper can be thrown in the garbage (and no one will know), but tearing a page from a book isn't as easy to get away with. Working regularly in sketchbooks early on could have helped by artistic development immensely, but I didn't do it.

A lot has changed since then and one of the things I have gained along the way is a desire to inspire and encourage others who might be struggling, unsure or even just curious about living a more creative (and joyful life). That's one of the reasons I do the Artist Interviews and that's one of the reasons I want to start this new series, too.

sketchbook, daily sketchbook, botanical sketchbook, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

So what exactly do I have in mind?

With this Sketchbook Conversations series I will share stories of artists from around the world. I'll give you glimpses into their sketchbooks and into their art practices. We'll learn why these artists keep sketchbooks and how they use them.

My greatest hope is that seeing these examples and hearing these stories will be both encouraging and inspiring. If you don't already keep a sketchbook perhaps you'll be encouraged to begin one, if you already do maybe you'll be inspired to experiment and try new things in it.

Even if you're not an artist and have no desire to start a sketchbook this series will introduce you to creative, interesting people from around the world.

This project is still in the planning phases. I've contacted a number of artists and am beginning to put posts together. I wont start sharing them until I have a handful ready to go. To that end I want to open this up to anyone who's interested. I know that some of you reading this blog are artists who already work regularly in sketchbooks and I'd love to include you in the conversation.

If you think you'd like to join in and share a glimpse into your sketchbook practice (or know someone else who would), please email me and I'll send you the details.

I hope to be able to begin the conversation sometime in the next few weeks.


  1. I saw your call for artists on Instagram and thought I'd answer your query. I love the sketchbook project you and Dana did, so inspiring. I don't keep a sketchbook as regularly as I'd like but its a great way to capture those tiny thoughts that would otherwise fly away. My goal this month is to start anew with sketching regularly. Like you, my family has had medical challenges for a few months now: my MIL is ailing and has fractured her pelvis, necessitating many trips to the east coast. I know that sewing and sketching keep me calm when things are uncertain. So let me know the parameters of your project and I'll try to produce something for you :)

    1. Thank you, Sharon. I'm so glad you're interested! Wishing a swift recovery for your MIL and plenty of days of calm for you and your husband.

  2. I would be interested to see how others use their sketchbooks but unfortunately I still haven't got into the habit of using one! Just looking at your drawing above of around the garden has made me want to record such observations. I now have to practice putting my thoughts into actions! I hope you and Matthias are doing well Anne. :)

    1. Hi, Simone! Glad you'd like to peek into other people's sketchbooks. I'm always so curious about what and how people create.

      If you make recording things in a sketchbook a priority, you'll get into the habit of it. And if it's not important to you it's good to let it go. Follow your heart and you won't go astray.

      Have a lovely weekend!

  3. OK I'm so glad to hear I'm not the only one intimidated by sketchbooks! Why is that? Anyways, I think this is a great idea and I am looking forward to this series!

    1. I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one, either. :)

      I think this should be fun. And I have another fun sketchbook project in the works, so stay tuned!


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